One thing that's really advisable is to have /home as a separate partition because doing so enables you to reinstall the os without having to worry about your personal data.
As pixellany mentioned, as a new user you won't have any need for other directories to be separate partitions. Not having them will not decrease efficiency in any way as you won't be doing tasks in which that would be helpful.
I for example have a separate boot partition because I have two just slightly different versions of the same distro on my machine which I boot with the same kernel
Btw I wouldn't oversize swap. If you plan on adding RAM you will need even less swap then you'd need with 512 MB. 1GB of swap should be more than enough.
Yeah and have a look at pixellanys site. Many other members have links in their sigs as well containing valuable information for newbies.