As I am nearing the end of my term at the University of Western Australia (UWA), I wanted to compare my experiences studying at both UWA and U of T!
I’ve found that at UWA, besides language courses, courses are typically split into very few components such as participation, assignment or midterm and final exam – which is worth around half of the course. The language courses do have a few more components, such as weekly quizzes, but generally there is an exam which is worth 50% of the course grade. This may vary based on the subject area but I’ve noticed there is a common theme of having 2-3 components make up an entire course. This is different from U of T, as mostly all of the courses that I’ve taken so far have a decent number of components, to provide more opportunities to do well in the course. I usually have quizzes, assignments, midterms and then finals, usually worth less than 50% of the course.
Next, I noticed that it is typical to have tutorials for every course at UWA. Besides regular lectures by the professor, there are mandatory tutorials to attend, which are very participative and go beyond the lecture material. At U of T however, only some of my courses have tutorials, and often, they are not mandatory and much less participative. The teaching assistants (TA), called tutors at UWA, are also given more discretion in handling student inquiries and issues, whereas I’ve found that at U of T, TAs tend to forward most issues to the professors.
There is also a great emphasis on group work at UWA. Although U of T also places importance on group work and this is even integrated in many of my courses, I found this to be more prominent in all of my courses at UWA. There were several group assignments given throughout tutorials, and I really enjoyed these as I got a chance to meet others in my courses.
Adding on to this, I’ve found that participation is a requirement throughout all UWA courses and students are expected to participate in every lecture/tutorial. Lectures and tutorials are very interactive, and they did a great job in maintaining this even after the shift to online classes.
Another noticeable difference is the grading system. At UWA, the grading scale is based on letter codes (such as HD, D, etc.) and the GPA value is out of a maximum of 7. This differs to the letter grades at U of T and the GPA value being out of a 4.0 scale. In terms of the difficulty, I would say that both offer challenging courses which allow students to think beyond the course material; however, I’ve found that U of T is generally more challenging. For example, I was provided detailed final exam breakdowns for my courses at UWA, whereas my professors at U of T usually do not disclose much detail on what will be on the final.
I want to end by saying that besides these differences between UWA and U of T, my experience with both of these universities have been remarkable. Both have outstanding professors with plenty of experience in their fields, and they provide great course material for students to gain a fantastic learning experience and prosper in their studies!