PL3232 (Sem 1, AY2017/18)

By: Tan Shao An Daniel
Module taken in Sem 1, AY2017/18
PL3232

Lecturer: Dr Camilo Libedinsky

Lecturer Review: One of the best uses of Flipped Classroom system I’ve seen; having interactive quizzes in class and e-lectures OTOT is a great format and is something that he does very well.

Module Review
Content is not particularly heavy and the examination isn’t very tough either, although it doesn’t really count for that much. Focus more on your class quizzes (actually study, because the questions aren’t easy) and also try to revise your study info on a weekly basis. There’s a lot of terms and you can get lost in the plethora.

PL3232 (Sem 2, AY2015/16)

By: A
Module taken in Sem 2, AY2015/16
Biological Psychology

Lecturer: Dr Travellia Tjokro

Lecturer Review: Dr T is such a nice and super sweet prof! Our class was an 8am class so as you would imagine half the LT would trudge in at 8am with glazed over eyes and zombie faces but Dr T was super understanding about it. I like how she structured our lecture slides into bite-size pieces of new information which I found captured the essence of the textbook passage and easy to remember. She also explains the points clearly and concisely as well so following the lectures should not be a problem.

Module Review: I felt that this module was really content heavy and technical, but such is the nature of a biology-based module, so you can’t really help it. I think you are going to need a really good memory for this module because there is a lot of new vocabulary that needs to be learned and some functions of the brain parts can overlap so its easy to get confused. Both the textbook (especially case studies!! Read the textbook!! ), lecture slides and video links in the lecture slides may be examined. There will also be Thought Questions x2 (15% each) and TED-Talk assignments x2 (5% each) that will be done over the tutorial sessions so do not miss tutorials too, but these discussions I found were pretty interesting though. Midterms (20%) and Finals (40%) and the examination format is a mix of short answers and essay questions. Overall, I did enjoy this module because of my underlying interest in neuroscience, although studying for it was painful but i felt the lectures were worth looking forward to.

PL3232 (Sem 2, AY2010/11)

By: Alan
Module taken in Sem 2 AY2010/11
Biological Psychology

Lecturer(/s): Travellia Tjokro

What is it about?: The main part of it is all about the brain – how different functions such as memory and emotions link to the brain. If you like learning biological stuff like how suprachiasmatic nuclei controls the circadian rhythms of the body, this is for you.

How’s the workload?: One Biological Psych textbook, which to me is the same as two normal textbooks. Haha ok maybe i’m biased, I don’t like bio much. But it’s basically pure memory work.
1 mid terms, 1 finals, 2 presentations to do on 2 different journal articles (pair work).
One 2h lecture weekly, one 2hr tutorial fortnightly.
Tutorials are basically useless besides for you to do your presentations. You do nothing in weeks that you don’t present besides sit there and listen to the other groups.
Lectures are.. more or less useless too. She just teaches stuff from the textbook so, and if i’m not wrong there’s nothing from the notes that isn’t in the textbook, apart from the occasional term here and there. You may want to have a look at her notes just to be safe. Totally ponnable imo.

How difficult is it?: I don’t know, how good is your  memory?
I didn’t feel like it tested my application much, just memorize and memorize. I mean, it’s bio!

Miscellaneous Tips: Do read your textbook thoroughly – the finals’ essay questions were EACH more or less asking you regurgitate 3 studies outlined in the textbook. So if you memorized the textbook you’ll ace it.

Should you take it?: It’s a core mod for Psych majors/minors so you have no choice. If you like Biology, why not. There’s not alot on genes though, so if you want that, go try Genes and Society (Some GEK).

How did I do for it?: Did only average for mid terms, I didn’t memorize enough. I do selective memorizing so … you need to memorize everything. :S And don’t think my presentations were good. 😦 Finals was so-so. I could remember the 3 ’empirical evidence’ for the essay portion though so I guess it’s good.

Predicted grade: B

Actual grade: B- 😦
Aww damn. Got lower than I had hoped for. My mid terms didn’t do very well, and it was not a matter of not studying enough – I normally finish everything that I PLANNED to study. So it’s a problem of not planning to study enough lol.
Like imagine there are 100 bits of information in the textbook, and I selectively study 80. Then turns out they test on the remaining 20 bits of information instead.
My group’s presentations weren’t very good in my opinion, comparatively speaking (with the other groups’)
I don’t think my finals did THAT badly, probably about Bish standard again, so I guess my results are logical. 😦
Well, at least I didn’t fall to a C. Worse grade of my NUS life so far! 😦
Ok if you are keen you will realize I didn’t follow what I said of reporting them from the best to the worst… because I have alot to say for the last 2 haha.

Retrieved from Alan’s blog

PL3232 (Sem 2, AY2013/14)

By: Julene Ong
Module taken in Sem 2 AY2013/14
Biological Psychology

It’s a core mod for psych and i wanted to take it earlier because we learnt some bio information in PL1101E and I wanted to clear bio while the bio information was still in my mind.
Not sure whether that turned out to be a good decision or not because I realised that all the psych mods overlap a little and it might have been better to take bio after the rest of the core mods so that I have more bio knowledge without having to blindly memorise super lot of new information.
Idk luh but anyway.
I really hated this mod initially because the lecturer was not the typical kind of singaporean uni lecturer who just teaches the content.
He likes to make us think deeper and go beyond the textbook to explore the more philosophical side of biological psychology which I guess is closer to the point of a university education because pure memorising and regurgitation is just stupid and waste of time and money.

Assessment format:
Midterm exam (30%)
Random Assignment (10%) (no psychological pun intended, it’s literally a piece of assignment that was quite random)
Final exam (60%)

I flunked my midterms because I was so revulsed by bio psych that looking at the textbook can make me cry.
Apparently, a lot of people did badly for the midterms too so much so that the lecturer had to add 20 marks to everyone’s actual marks so that the overall results don’t look so bad.
As this was the lecturer’s first year teaching in Singapore, it was kinda chaotic (and he did warn us in the first lecture of that) and his style of teaching is kinda atypical for normal lecturers so it takes a bit of getting used to.

But I would say that he is a good lecturer and probably the kind of lecturer that all lecturers should emulate to a certain extent.
And can see that he was putting in a lot of effort to fix things by asking us to email him feedback on how he can make things easier for us.
I actually went to email him and he replied really efficiently with a super long and sincere reply that made me actually feel like studying for bio psych to not let him down.
Anyway, about the module itself, the content is quite dry for me especially the synapses and chemicals stuff because I cannot visualise anything.
But the later part when it links more to the functions of the brain and behavior, it gets slightly more interesting.

I studied relatively hard for bio psych, sacrificing stats and geog because finals was 60% and it would really make or break me.
The midterms and finals were both 8 choose 4 short answer questions (like ~250 words) and 6 choose 2 long essay questions (~1000words).
I think the lecturer really got quite scared after our terrible midterm grades that he actually gave obvious hints for the finals long essay questions by discussing super similar questions in the final tutorial.
And he repeated like a few questions from the midterms in the finals too.
But I highly doubt he will do the same thing again next sem if he is teaching because he will be slightly more used to teaching in NUS and might decide to use the older format of 3 choose 2 long essay questions or something which suits his teaching style more because it encourages more critical evaluation and arguments, just saying.

Really glad my efforts for finals paid off.

Predicted grade: B
Actual grade: B

Retrieved from Julene’s blog

PL3232 (Sem 2, AY2014/15)

By: Anonymous
Module taken in Sem 2 AY2014/15

What it is about: Biological Psychology. One of the five core mods. Basically, it’s all about biology (duh) and its role in people’s psyche (I’m just stating the obvious, aren’t I). You learn things such as how neurons transmit, which brain part is involved for what function, debates over dualism (at least for Prof Derbyshire), and so on. My favourite topic for this module was the topic on the left-right hemisphere.

Lecturer(/s): Prof Derbyshire
He’s really entertaining, and his quips here and there and British sayings during the lecture really amused me. I didn’t really enjoy his teaching style though, as it seemed way too philosophical for a module that is inherently scientific (/biological) in nature. I wouldn’t have minded if he had been teaching a Philosophy module, but it was quite confusing as I ended up not being sure if he wanted a philosophical-kind of essay, or if he wanted one that was all factual like your usual Biology essays. Even now, I’m still not sure.

Tutorials: My tutorial tutor was Egor, and he was quite… interesting. It was a tad intimidating to reply during tutorials because he just gives off this really intelligent air and it felt like he really knew A LOT about his area of study. For the first (or second, I’m not sure) tutorial, we had to make a 3D version of one of the brain parts, and explain what it does, so be prepared for that. For most tutorials, we had in-class brainstorming exercises on certain topics, followed by telling the class about what we learnt and our findings.

Workload/Examinations: For mid-terms, the workload was quite manageable, as Prof Derbyshire actually hinted and narrowed down what questions he would be testing. The format for mid-terms were, from what I remember, 3 essays. The first essay was just a copy-paste of a model essay that he explicitly hinted we could memorise and replicate it word-for-word. The rest of the essays depend on you.
For finals, the workload was much heavier, due to the sheer number of topics that could have possibly been tested. Due to the lack of time, we really had to guess and try to predict which topics he would test, and then just focus on those.

Other comments: Honestly, this module single-handedly killed my desire to major in Psych. It’s probably just me though, since I really like the social aspect of Psych, and this module just showed me how focused NUS Psychology seems to be on the brain and neural aspects instead (but don’t take my word on that, go consult people who have taken more Psych modules than me). Yes, if anyone can enlighten me further whether this view of mine is really accurate or not, do leave a comment, because I’m still trying to decide if I should major in Psych or not after all. 😀

My grade: B