• Katherine Pan

Review of BN2201: Quantitative Physiology for Bioengineers

Year took: AY20/21 Semester 1

BN2201 introduces basic concepts in neural, cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and renal physiology. This module was content-heavy but loaded with fascinating information about the human body. I gained a better understand and appreciation of the body I often take for granted. As I took this module during an online semester, my experience may be different from yours. The assessment criteria are as follows:

  1. 1. LumiNUS Online Quizzes – 5%

  2. 2. CA Test 1 – 20%

  3. 3. CA Test 2 – 20%

  4. 4. Final Exam – 55%


Every week, either Prof Alberto or Prof Leo will teach a two-hour lecture. As the professors have distinct teaching styles, lecture preparation will depend on who is teaching.

Prof Alberto utilizes the lectures to discuss medical devices related to the weekly topic. With reference to the chapter for the week, Prof Alberto taught about the clinical application and functionality of the devices. Hence, lecture preparation included watching a pre-recorded video lecture explaining the physiology content and completing a LumiNUS quiz. The quizzes make up 5% of our final grade, with each quiz comprising of 5 questions. We have three attempts for each quiz, with the best score taken for computation of our final grade.

This is how I feel when I rush to complete the Luminus quizzes the night before the lecture and Luminus tells me that I scored 3/5 (Source)

During lectures, Prof Alberto engages his audience by inviting us to answer questions using poll everywhere. Additionally, he hosts a lucky draw at the start of class to reward students that have answered correctly in previous lectures. Surprisingly, I won one of his lucky draws and the prize was a $5 FairPrice voucher! The questions that Prof Alberto set for his lectures are relatively easy if you have done the pre-lecture preparation. I enjoyed Prof Alberto's manner of teaching because his lectures were interactive and informative.

On the other hand, Prof Leo adopts the conventional way of teaching. He goes through the physiology content during lectures so there was no need to do pre-lecture preparation. However, his lectures lack interactive components such as poll everywhere and the dry content often made lectures boring. Nevertheless, Prof Leo’s good humor always shows during his lectures which made classes less dull.


BN2201 had no tutorials. The Luminus quizzes are the practice questions for the topics taught by Prof Alberto. Meanwhile, Prof Leo uploads practice papers on Luminus after his lectures. However, the professors did not go through the practice questions, so we will have to email them if we have questions. Do reach out to them if you require clarification as both professors are friendly and approachable.

Laboratory Sessions

Due to the online semester, I did not have any physical lab sessions and it was replaced with an online lab. There was only one lab session and it was on respiratory physiology. It was about analyzing respiratory volumes using a spirometer. I think it could have been a fun physical lab session as we have to inhale and exhale at different speeds into the spirometer. However, it would be impossible to do the experiment now because of its nature. There was no need to submit a lab report and I just watched the lab e-video of the lab assistants performing the experiment.

Quizzes and Finals

Quiz 1 took place on week 7 and quiz 2 took place on week 12. Quizzes and finals were open book, proctored, and held on Examplify. Quiz 1 tested on neural and cardiovascular physiology while quiz 2 tested on respiratory and gastrointestinal. I found quiz 1 to be more difficult than quiz 2. The bell curve proved likewise, with quiz 2 having a much steeper bell curve. I found finals to be manageable, but I did not have sufficient time to finish the paper. All in all, I think the questions set for the quizzes and finals were manageable. As this is a physiology module, it was very content-heavy and required one to pay close attention to details.

This is me the night before trying my hardest to cram one semester's worth of content into my brain. (Source)


All in all, I found the physiology content to be easy to pick up and I did not struggle to understand it. My only complaint is that there is so much content to learn, so having a biology background will help to increase one’s speed of comprehension.

I found BN2201 to be enjoyable thanks to Prof Alberto’s and Prof Leo’s passion for teaching. It is clearly illustrated during lectures and I admire the effort that Prof Alberto puts into lecture preparation.

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