©2019 by SAMS - Student Association for the Medical Sciences. Proudly created with Wix.com

Past events on old website here



Course Breakdown


Mid-Semester Test: 36%
Laboratories: 20%
Mastering Assignments: 4%
Exam: 40%

Course Information


Prescribed Textbook:
Principles of Anatomy and Physiology (14th ed) - Tortora & Derrickson
UoA Course Website: link

Basic Information

BIOSCI 107 has a lot of information to learn. Most of the lecturers teach using lecture slides which makes revision relatively straightforward as these slides are uploaded online and generally contain most of the information needed. The 'Mastering' Assignments require you to log onto a website once a week or so and complete mini-assignments. Your total score on all the assignments (which are just simple MCQs, SAQs or mix-'n-match questions) is converted into a final grade out of 4 which finally contributes 4% to your grade. These assignments essentially just complemented lecture content. Also, in 2015, the mid-semester test (36% of final grade) only tested the first 6 weeks worth of lectures and the Final Exam (40% of final grade) only tested the final 6 weeks worth of lectures. This meant that you didn't have to study test content for the final exams.

Laboratory Component

Most of the 6 labs were quite straightforward - requiring you to complete a pre-lab and an in-lab assessment. There are two labs which were quite memorable: the embryo lab and the muscle lab (usually Lab #3 and Lab #6). The embryo lab required you to make an embryo model. Some people find it extremely hard, but some find it a very chill, fun and interactive lab. More info here. The muscle lab is technically difficult as you're trying to pry out a single muscle fibre out of a bunch of muscle fibres, however they do account for this when marking the lab. In general, for 107 labs, just do the pre-lab, pre-read the lab instructions and you should find these labs not too difficult to do well in.

Lecture Content

Cells and Tissues

This section was 4 lectures long and was taught by Dr Anthony Philips in 2015. Many people considered him to be very clear in his lecturing style. This part of the course was relatively 'easy' in the sense that the concepts were not overly complicated and all the information was found on the lecture slides. He consistently uploaded the slides after each lecture. During class, he would simply go through his lecture slides; of which most of the stuff would already be written in your course guides; but some extra things would be written in the lecture slides - so most people probably spent their time in lecture copying those details in. Otherwise, some people typed out most of the information into their laptop and went back to the slides to fill in anything missing. Just some things that caught people out was fine details e.g. in a sarcomere, it is the 'H zone' not the 'H band'. Another useful thing people did was to pay attention to certain diagrams that the lecturer placed emphasis on during lectures. The fine details in those diagrams proved important (i.e. came up in the test), which, well, is naturally expected. This section was not too hard; and simply involved being able to recall a lot of facts.


Cell Structure and Function

This section was 6 lectures long and taught by Dr Mel Collings in 2015. This section was considered much harder - considering the test scores in this section were not particularly high. There was a lot of content to learn and the content tied into each other. For this section, it is very important that you grasp the concepts and processes and don't just rote learn everything. Again, most of the information was in the lecture slides thus a similar approach could be used as for cells and tissues.


Embryology and Development

This section was 5 lectures long and taught by Dr Fabiana Kubke in 2015. This section was considered hard due to the difficulty of the questions, however, not impossible. With regards to in-lecture note-taking, most people followed the advice of the course guide of bringing colouring pencils or, more popularly, bringing many different coloured highlighters (perhaps 6 colours). This is probably something you should do. Consider investing in yellow, orange, green, blue, purple and pink highlighters to use during lectures. The lecturer would draw on diagrams with many different colours and most people simply copied that into their course guides (i.e. those diagrams were found in the course guide as well and just required to be coloured in). This section required a lot of spatial understanding as it tried to explain how an embryo grows 3 dimensionally. The lecturer used a wiki page in which she used to answer students' questions. This wiki also had questions and answers from previous years so it was a useful tool to use when studying.  With regards to assessment, the lecturer asked complicated questions; questions that required people to connect concepts; especially those questions which would target the practical side e.g. 'if this process does not occur, what would be the down-stream effect' or 'if this goes wrong, what will happen' sort of question.  ​


Blood and Immune

This section was 5 lectures long and was taught by Assoc. Professor Peter Metcalf in 2015. This part of the course was relatively 'easy'. Most of the information was in the lecture slides. One thing that people noticed was that this lecturer especially liked to test numbers, names and facts - as evident in the past papers which you would be able to find on the University website. Again, everything was on the slides with most of it already printed in the course guide. ​


Cell Processes

This section was 5 lectures long and was taught by Professor Paul Donaldson in 2015. This section required a bit more conceptual understanding. Most things were on the slides, with some diagrams which you could fill in during lectures. Be sure to know the diagrams inside out; how to draw them and how they work as this is a key concept the lecturer places much emphasis on.


Excitable Tissue (Nervous)

This section was 5 lectures long and was taught by Professor Janusz Lipski in 2015. This section had a lot of information of which some was in the course guide but most would be found on the lecture slides - so it was probably easier to study off the slides. This section had a lot of facts to recall. Additionally, it would be useful to learn the Nernst Equation as it was often tested.


Excitable Tissue (Muscle)

This section was 4 lectures long and was taught by Dr Carolyn Barrett in 2015. For this section in 2015, most students found the lecture slides to be the most useful for learning content, and used the course guide just to clarify certain points or give alternative diagrams and descriptions. Most people found this lecturer to be clear and concise on her delivery. She also gave hints as to what she would examine, and what was just "extra information".