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This was a really good and interesting course, but unfortunately Dr. Robinson said it's probably going to be turned into a cluster course next year.
Don't listen to the people who say not to go to lecture. A lot of times it will seem like everything he says in lecture is on the webnotes, but when you take the exams, you will notice that there are a number of questions that you would not have known the answers to were it not for you going to lecture. So it is important, and he does add interesting information to what's in the webnotes. And he is very entertaining and funny.
He is a cool guy, if you talk to him after class he is very helpful and likes to talk to students.
I do agree that his grading system can seema little harsh, but I guess it all depends. He used a straight scale for microbio 7, which was 80% = A, 65% = B, 50% = C, 40% = D. All students getting 80% or above are assigned plus or minus based on a curve -- they are split into thirds, with bottom 1/3 getting minus, and top 1/3 getting plus. So it is frustrating if you are only a couple of points away from A-.
BUT 80% = A should alert you right away that the tests are not easy. Sure, there are easy questions and hard questions, and it might be relatively easy to get a B in the class, but you will have to work and keep up to get an A.
My advice for exams (at least for microbio7, dunno about 6 or 12):
* Even though it's just a GE class, so it's not so harsh, you need to memorize terminology used in the webnotes, so making flashcards throughout the term is definitely recommended.
* Go to all the lectures.
* If there is lab, go to lab. Make flashcards for technical terms and concepts introduced in lab. (Also make flashcards from labnotes). In microbio 7, lab didn't count for points, but a lot of the stuff in lab was on the exams.
* For the less technical stuff, Dr. Robinson is a really engaging and interesting speaker, so it will not be hard to remember the things he talks about in lecture. It might be worthwhile to make flashcards of the NAMES OF SCIENTISTS, however, and what they did. Because sometimes on the exams, there will be questions asking "what did these two people do? why did they win the nobel prize?" and Dr. Robinson may have discussed 10 people in lecture already and it can be easy to get the names mixed up and write the wrong accomplishment as the answer.
* Definitely read all materials for the course, but then you already knew that, right?
In sum: Flashcards = Very Good Idea.
Ralph Robinson is by far the best professor I have had. He has a great sense of humor and will most always get a few laughs from the class, and not the "that joke was stupid and I feel embarassed laughs" either. He has a very effective style of teaching which definitley made it worth while to attend lecture. I highly recommend micro 6 or 7, although I heard they are making it into a cluster class.
i'm currently taking his microbio 7 class and the material itself is ok. but he's a great lecturer! funny guy! a much better lecturer than the profs i had for LS 1 and 2. the lab is pretty cool and his test doesn't seem to difficult. i highly recommend this guy.