Ignore the class it says I took up there - I actually took LS4 with Merriam (LS4 wasn't a choice). Anyway, Merriam is a complicated professor to evaluate. He's simultaneously the most available, concerned, and wackiest professor I have ever had. HOWEVER - he is not an effective teacher for LS4. He dressed up as Mendel on the first day of class. It was funny, but contrary to what I expected, we never really moved on past randomness like that in the whole 10 weeks. Case and point: we spent the first 10 minutes of class every Monday singing pun-filled songs about genetics. He wore his pajamas and green track jacket to midterms, which at first was weird, but then it just seemed like Merriam after a while. Unfortunately, he tended to spend way more time on teaching concepts and experiments when the tests were almost completely numerical and probability based. He's a genuinely nice guy, though. So much so that the class started to feel like a self-help and empowerment therapy class. Here are some of the "mantras" he wrote on the board every single day before class started: "Everybody passes." (That's his main one) "Everyone matters." "Everyone counts." "Everyone matters. And, you don't have to be perfect." "Everyone can be trained." "Everyone's time is valuable." I got an A in this class, but throughout the whole quarter I worried about my grade due to his four midterms (weeks 3,5,7,9). They were all multiple choice, 100 points and 20 questions each. That's 5 points each, no partial credit. His final includes mostly past questions from midterms, but "tweaked," which really means it's a whole new problem since the math changes if he asks for a different probability. You would think this would increase the average, but all of the tests except midterm 1 (easier) had around 56-59% as the average. So yes, everybody probably passes. But with what grade? I would hold off on taking LS4 if you want to be on a level playing field and not constantly worry about your grade.
LIFE SCIENCE 4 ( not MCDB C174) I AM CURRENTLY STUDYING FOR HIS FINAL. HIS TESTS ARE VERY DIFFICULT BECAUSE HE ADDS A LOT OF TWISTS AND ASSUMES YOU KNOW KNOW ASSUMPTIONS THAT ARE "ASSUMED" TO BE KNOWN. you know what i mean. take another teacher if you can. NO SLEEP TONIGHT! shout out to william and diana for being great TAS!
I took Dr. Merriam for LS4 (there wasn't a choice for LS4 in the tab). Although many students, including me, noticed many instances where he tried to help us and acted "nice" towards us, overall his lecturing style, organization, and communication skills were disappointing for someone that our parents/we are paying money to. First of all, his lectures, although entertaining in the 1st few weeks, will fool you in their simplicity because after the 1st midterm many people who thought he was a harmless "old santa/grandpa" figure, felt like the exams were unfair. The wording was very confusing. There are typos, but most of all, there was one exam question where NONE of the TA's could answer because it involved knowledge of a very minute detail in the textbook. For genetics, most people DO read the textbook, but I never was expected to know such trivial details for any class I've EVER taken before. Second of all, his "clinics"/office hours do help you, but you have to sit through him lecturing you about useless stuff (arrows, education, ethics) for a good hour until he finally gets around to answering your question. I spent quite a lot of my precious Monday, Tuesday, and Friday afternoons/mornings in these clinics, along with 20+ other students clawing for the professor's and TA's attention. I would say you need to spend ~ 2X the amount of lecture time in office hours to even have a chance at competing for a decent grade. Also, although the curve is nice for LS 4, beware of uber-competitive pre-meds that will take your eye out. I encountered this guy who told another person "you should know that hemophilia and colorblindness are X-linked by now." Third of all, his final has a lot of multiple choice because it's easier for his TA's and him to grade. Professor M said in class "MC's are hard for me to write because I have to think really hard about all the wrong answers and how to make it harder...." Fourth, I am not a sadistic pre-med who got a bad grade. I did well in the class, but it ruined my quarter. Gluck with Dr. Merriam.