31-exam-strategies - Mehran Sahami CS 106A Handout #31...

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Mehran Sahami Handout #31 CS 106A October 31, 2011 Exam Strategies Based on a handout originally written by Julie Zelinski and Chris Piech The exams in the CS106 courses can be challenging and even a bit intimidating. Hopefully you have been keeping up in lecture and doing well on the assignments, but may be unsure of how to make sure your skills will translate well to the exam setting. The practice midterm gives an idea of what to expect and this handout gives some sage advice gathered from our current and past staff members. We hope you will find our tips useful . The Rationale Behind Pencil and Paper Exams Students often suggest that exams should be done more like assignments: using a compiler (i.e., Eclipse), having code completion and searchable documentation, being able to run, test, and debug, etc. The logistics of an online exam add serious challenges in terms of fairness and security, but we did try this experimentally and it didn’t work they way we’d hoped. In a time- restricted situation, immediate feedback from the compiler can be more of an impediment than an advantage. Imagine this, you read the first problem, have a good idea how to solve it, write your solution, and trace its operation and feel good. In a paper exam, you then move on to the next problem. In an online exam, you compile and test it. Suppose it exhibits a bug even though it may only be a minor issue, you can see your answer is wrong so you hunker down and re work and retest until perfect… even if it takes the whole exam. Bad deal since you never got to the other problems on the exam! Given the limited time available, we want you to write your best answer and move on. Paper seems to be the means to encourage exactly that. We know that writing on paper is not the same as working with a compiler, and we account for that in how we design and grade the exam. We are assessing your ability to think logically and use appropriate problem-solving techniques. We expect you to express yourself in reasonably correct Java, but we will be quite lenient with errors that are syntactic rather than conceptual. How to Prepare For the Exam
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This note was uploaded on 02/09/2012 for the course CS 106A taught by Professor Sahami,m during the Fall '08 term at Stanford.

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31-exam-strategies - Mehran Sahami CS 106A Handout #31...

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