NUS Module Review AY17/18 Sem 1: PL4223, PL4228, PL4226, PL4235

Okay, since I’ve googled for reviews regarding NUS modules for the past 3 years (and actually a lot are from this guy’s blog called “this is alanz blog” LOL! so thank u alan. i rmb bonding over random psych majors by talking abt u), I’ve decided to try and give back and write a little about my own experiences regarding the modules I have taken- hopefully this will help anyone who chances upon this blog!

Since my memory of the most recent sem is still fresh as compared to previous years, shall start with that.

PL4223: Introduction to Clinical Neuropsychology

Professor: Simon Collinson

Professor Review: He’s quite a chill and sometimes funny guy, and I think he is rather experienced in his field. I actually took PL3236 (Abnormal Psychology) under him before, and what I can say is that he is much more engaging in this module than in PL3236.

What is it about?

I actually took this module because I did not get any modules that i MPE-ed, and only had 1 module after round 3B. [When I needed like, 4? (!@#$%^&*) *rants about NUS CORS and undersupply of Psych profs/mods. I wasn’t even being choosy. There were literally ZERO psych mods for me to take*] So I appealed in, cause the IVLE description looks quite interesting which I shall quote here, but you can just google it also la:

“They are also provided with site visit opportunities to increase their appreciation for the work of the helping professions among people with neurological impairment and psychosocial dysfunction.”

Wah, like interesting right?!! Site visit sia! But unless I have been dreaming that I was sitting at my favourite spot at UTown SRC-GLR for all 13 weeks, this is untrue.

But anyway, the module is still quite interesting (sometimes) despite that. Each seminar usually consists of the prof talking about a topic in neuropsychology (e.g. Parkinson’s disease), showing us videos about patients with neurodegenerative diseases sometimes, then from Week 5 onwards, after prof talks finish, the group presentations will take the rest of the seminar time.
Prof also showed us a movie for the last seminar (Week 12), and I kind of liked it! It’s called Awakenings (1990) in case you are interested.

 

How’s the workload?

The workload is actually quite manageable and lighter than my other modules in the sem. We had a closed-book MCQ quiz (30%) that tested on week 1 – 4 readings – it’s kind of like a mid-term but in week 5; there were 30 MCQs. Class participation was at 10-15% (Can’t rmb), I think I spoke like once. The room wasn’t very conducive for class part though, so not much people spoke up. I think Prof did take attendance, especially in the last few weeks when he noticed people started to go missing lol. After the MCQ quiz in week5, one group will present each week, after his ~1hour lecture. The groups are allocated, and each group had about 6-7 people. Group presentation (25%) is about 30-40min (with Q&A): topics can range from METS syndrome, CADASIL to Foetal Alcohol Syndrome and CJD, where you present about it (e.g. the cause/diagnosis/treatments/research/controversies).

Finals(30%) was in week 13 – it was five short questions (max. 500 words for each). You are given an article to read and digest in week 12, which will kind of relate to the five questions. It was like open machine/laptop. Can use internet to check for answers. But I ended up not really using the internet that much, surprisingly. Technically, you can just google the answers if you have no time to study for it.

Share some tips leh?

I think in general, there is minimal readings for this mod. Its only the week1-4 readings for the MCQ quiz, then after that, besides the article for the finals, there’s no readings liao. But it will be good to remember some of the group presentations’ topics so you can use them as examples when writing for your short answer questions in the finals.  Also, for the group presentations, I think roleplay is a good way to present stuff. However, I also realised that after a few weeks of presentation, roleplay becomes quite repetitive/predictable as well.

Aiya, so should I take it anot?!

If you are interested in neuropsychology, I think this module will suit you. I chose this module partly because I have never done neuropsychology stuff before and wanted to see if I like it, and even though some of the stuff can get quite boring(e.g. some of the readings), I still think it’s an ok module to take. The readings are little too, so can consider this if you pairing with other heavier mods. Its like clinical psychology but applied to the neuro parts. I like it when the prof talks about Alzheimer’s too, and his stories about his experiences with his patients.

Predicted Grade: B/B+ cause all my grades were like around the mean/median range
Actual Grade:
A-

 

PL4228: Criminal Forensic Psychology

Professor: Gwee Kenji

Professor Review: I LOVE HIM!!! FAVOURITE PROF SO FAR IN NUS! I took PL3257 (Introduction to Clinical Psychology) under him and Sharon Lu (who’s another great prof) before and I loved their stories about the industry. In this module, he’s pretty awesome too because he tells us stories and insights which you can never read from a textbook. And even the way he presents the contents is very interesting. I guess he’s a very skeptical and crazy (in a fun and good way) prof, which makes me like him even more. Also, he tells us many stuff and you can ask him stuff such as career prospects as well, he’s very helpful.

What is it about?

From what I recall, we went through theories of criminal behaviour/crime, risk assessments, violent offenders, sexual offenders, rehabilitation and management of said offenders mental disorders, psychopathy, malingering and deception, expert evidence, legal system in Singapore/other countries dealing with crimes and mental illnesses.

How’s the workload?

Heavy. Readings are quite heavy compared to other mods. At least two readings per week. I think there was a group presentation (15%), with an individual essay (35%) of about 3k words,  finals (40%) which are plain MCQs – I love it, but it IS tricky; e.g. Option A would consist of “Statement 1 and 2 are correct” while Option B would be “Statement 1, 2 and 3 are correct”. Last but not least, class attendance (10%) – I think he has a good memory so he knows who has spoken or not.

Should I take it?

If Kenji is teaching it…. YES!!!!!!!! GO FOR IT!!!!! Even if it burns your entire CORS bidding points (which it did for me). Because the insights and stories I gained in this module are hard to come by – and just based on that, I feel that it is worth to take it.

Grade: B+

PL4226: Correctional Psychology

Professor: Adaline Ng

Professor Review: She’s quite a helpful prof and helped to answer many of my group’s enquiries. I think she has lots of experience in the correctional field as well. Also, she tells us real life stories which I think was one of the highlights of this module.

What is it about?

From what I recall, theories of crime, offender assessment, management, rehabilitation, psychopathology, substance use and offending, sex offenders, violent offenders. Wait this sounds familiar… I guess in terms of content there is quite a bit of overlap between this and PL4228 (above). But this focuses more on the correctional side — rehabilitation and management, and less on like the legal stuff. Two models are important in this module – Risk-Needs-Responsivity (RNR) model and the Good Lives Model (GLM).

How’s the workload?

Heavy!!! There was one week where I think there was like 7 compulsory readings or something. Siao ah where got time. It was quite heavily-based on group-work: 35% Group Report and a 15% Group presentation. Class participation (10%) and Finals (40%) was essay + case-study, can try to find PYPs to get a feel of it.

Should I take it?

If you are interested in the correctional field, then yes. However, I felt that it was quite boring, maybe because it was in the morning and very little discussion was made lol. And there was a lot of theories in the content, so it felt a little overkill. I liked the part where the prof shared about her stories and videos in correctional settings though (e.g. prison).

PL4235: Psychology in Moral Judgments

Professor: Nina Powell

Professor Review: I was skeptical about her at first, because I’ve seen some bad reviews about her online before, but I feel that she’s really quite good in this module! She makes the content very accessible and structured, and I feel I learnt quite a lot in this module while having fun. She also does a recap at the start of the lesson about the previous lesson, kind of like a “Previously in ___” episode thing.

What is it about?

From what I recall, its to learn how one makes moral judgments – intuitively (emotions) or logically (reasoning), whether morality is subjective or universal; whether it is naturally (born evil?!) or learned (environment e.g. family/peers); whether morality is collective or not. Things such as the trolley problem, deontological (action) vs utilitarian (outcome), moral development, moral foundations, are covered.

How’s the workload?

Personally I feel that it’s not that heavy, just that there were many components so you have to consistently put in effort which makes it kind of heavy I guess. The readings are quite heavy though, but they are definitely more interesting and easier to read (as compared to PL4226 and PL4228). There were 2 Mini-response papers (15%*2=30%); 3 Quizzes (5%*3=15%), Group presentation (15%) – my group discussed about the morality of some of Black Mirror episodes which I kind of enjoyed doing, and Finals (40%). The prof is nice to allow us more tries in the response papers and quizzes (e.g. best 3 out of 5). Finals was quite crazy though because I remember I didn’t really have time to check through. We had 7C6 short answer questions (so much for choosing lol) which IS CRAAAZY + 1 Essay qn.

Should I take it?

Personally, I feel that yes – if you like philosophical stuff and learning about moral judgments in general. I really enjoyed this module a lot, because I loooove thinking about moral judgments – and you will question your stance about morality several times throughout this module. I think it helped that the class was quite enthu about debating moral issues so it’s even more interesting. I knew that there was a grey area in morality, but I never thought so hard about it before. Oh yah, the prof also recommended us to watch The Good Place – a TV show that currently has 2 seasons – which I DID and wew some of the concepts she taught in class were illustrated really well in that show. If you don’t take this mod, at least give that show a try.

Grade: B

I felt like I was exposed to various subfields of psychology this semester – neuropsychology, criminal and forensic psychology, correctional psychology, and moral psychology – tbh, the content of each of these fields is interesting on its own – but I think PL4228 and PL4235 are one of the better modules to take.

Wew that took quite a while to write. Hope it has been helpful!

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