BIOL10004: Biology of Cells and Organisms review

*This image is not mine – I can’t remember where I got it from!

The title says it all, this will be my review of BIOL10004: Biology of Cells and Organisms!

Where oh where to begin…

The Basics:

Well, for starters – this is a level 1 science subject that is offered in semester one! You can do this subject as a breadth if you’re studying Arts, Commerce, Environments and Music. You cannot do this subject if you’re in Biomed!

Handbook link:

Why do it?

This subject is a prerequisite for A LOT of science things down the track. Do it!

What will be covered in the lectures?

Topics you cover include: Cells, Plants, Animals, Ecology and Evolution

My favourite topics were the animals, ecology and evolution! Plants weren’t my forte, and I was sick to death hearing about cell organelles

Contact hours involved:

  • 3 x one hour lectures every week
  • You have theory and prac workshops (3 hours in total) every fortnight
  • Pre and post lab tests (online activities)

What are pre and post lab tests?

Pre-lab tests: You have to do these online tutorials and do a short test online before attending your theory and prac workshops

Post-lab tests: An online test you have to do after you’ve completed the prac! The questions in the post-prac test are based on the prac (so pay attention!)


  • Independent Learning Tasks x5 (5%)
  • Pre and post prac test, Performance in pracs, Written Assignments (35%)
  • Mid semester test, also known as MST (10%)
  • Final exam (50%)

IMPORTANT: you need to pass the practical work, to pass the subject. This is a hurdle requirement! No matter how well you do in an exam, you will not pass the subject if you don’t have 80% attendance in prac workshops and at least 50% of assessed prac work!


  • Biology: An Australian Focus
  • Lab workbook
  • Lab coat, microscope slides, coverslips & marker pen.

I bought that textbook when I did the subject and I didn’t regret it! Best $55 spent, because I used it all year (I did BIOL10005 and BIOL10001 in semester two). It’s definitely a good point of reference, and helpful with assignments and all.

Definitely get the Lab workbook – you’ll need that. Sneaky tip: you can buy one, split the cost with a friend and photocopy. And if I were you, I would store the workbook in a ring binder because it will get messy trying to flip through that workbook during pracs. But you know what’s even better? I would go to officeworks and get it bound together.

Lab coat – get one, but if you forget to bring your’s, you can always borrow one in class. And as for microscope slide, coverslips and marker pen…the Uni Co-op bookshop sell these in a pack. Do I recommend buying them? Hmm…you will need them during pracs, but not THAT often. I would probably buy this pack and share with a friend.

And you can find all of these at the Uni Co-op bookshop (next to Baillieu Library).

My thoughts about BIOL10004?

I enjoyed the subject! If you have done biology before in VCE, half of the semester would be a breeze. If you are doing biology for the first time on the other hand…this subject may be a bit of challenge. But no need to fear – the lecturers themselves say that those who are doing BIOL10004 without any biology background perform the same (or in some cases, performed BETTER) than those with biology background because these students tend to work harder.


  • Go to the topic tutorials! They’re super handy and helps you to consolidate all the info. 
  • Pre/post prac tests are easy marks – do try!
  • ILT (Independent learning tasks) and Pre/post prac tests are different! Do not get them confused like I did!
  • It’s very very easy to forget when all the tests and such are due – make sure you keep a note of it in your diary.
  • There’s actually a little common room in Redmond Barry for BIOL10004. I can’t quite remember exactly where it is (I want to say 4th level?), but you can find copies of the textbook there to use without having to worry about the 2 hour loan at the library. And it’s a good place to hold a study group!
  • Go to ALL of Professor Geoff Shaw’s lectures – trust me! He is by far, one of my favourite lecturers of all time. I hope he still lectures this year for BIOL1004 because he is so entertaining and funny. He is one of my biology heroes! And he reminds me so much of Nigel Thornberry!

I think that’s about all that I have to say about BIOL10004! If I think of anything else, I’ll add it to this post and let you know. I hope you find this review useful in preparation for BIOL10004! Please bear in mind that this is a review for 2012, so your biology experience/content may vary. If you have previously done BIOL10004 and have something to add/a different take on the subject – I’d love to hear from you. And of course, feel free to comment if you have any questions :)

5 thoughts on “BIOL10004: Biology of Cells and Organisms review

    1. Hey there!

      If memory serves me right, I thought it was a pretty okay exam! I can’t really remember what was on it…I think there was some labelling involved. But it was a fair paper, no tricks, no dodgy questions, no surprises. Quite happy with it!

      Good luck with the exam!

  1. Just hoping someone has the lecture recordings still available? I need to revise this subject for the GAMSAT and only have the lecture slides!! Thanks in advance!

  2. Oh wow, only now did I find this. I just realised I missed one of my post prac lab test and its upsetting me greatly… I just really hope I don’t get into so much trouble for it

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