Tips for computer science exams?

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opus
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Well I just took my midterm for Intro Computer Science and got a 59%. This is very frustrating because Ive received 100% on all assignments and I feel like I am starting to get an understanding of the subject.
However, this isn’t like mathematics or science where you can grind problems. It seems more like a history exam where you need to memorize a lot of stuff which I have no problem with, but I dont know what to memorize.
Most of the questions were of the type- “what statement would you write in this blank space to have your program do XYZ.”
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to prepare for these exams? I havent asked my professor yet but Im just putting my feelers out to get some different ideas.
 

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berkeman
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Can you post your memory of the problems? The one you paraphrase sounds like a programming question (in C?). "Computer Science" is a very broad subject, and IMO, doesn't involve lots of rote memorization...
 
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verty
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@opus, what programming language are you using? Were they all programming language questions?
 
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opus
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@opus, what programming language are you using? Were they all programming language questions?
Python.
No not all. But around half and I got every one wrong. Got a couple multiple choice wrong but the rest were not bad.
 
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verty
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I don't know Python but here is my advice:

1. Start with the official tutorial. Start at the start and try to practice everything it says.
2. Study the textbook for your language. I assume you have one of those O'Reilly books. Once you know what is in the tutorial, you should learn anything extra that is in your book.
3. Practice on a site like hackerrank.com where you can solve problems using Python. This is just for fun, to learn the language.
4. I see there's a book called "Programming Python 4th edition" that looks good to read afterwards. Or you may feel that you know enough about Python not to need another book. That is up to you.
 
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StoneTemplePython
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Python.
No not all. But around half and I got every one wrong. Got a couple multiple choice wrong but the rest were not bad.
However, this isn’t like mathematics or science where you can grind problems. It seems more like a history exam where you need to memorize a lot of stuff which I have no problem with, but I dont know what to memorize.
Most of the questions were of the type- “what statement would you write in this blank space to have your program do XYZ.”
I don't agree with the underlined part at all. Learning programming, in Python no less, is really just about putting in the hours (and lots of them) on many, many problems and projects of interest until things become almost muscle memory.
 
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opus
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I don't agree with the underlined part at all. Learning programming, in Python no less, is really just about putting in the hours (and lots of them) on many, many problems and projects of interest until things become almost muscle memory.
I guess what I meant to say was that its not like math in that there are hundreds of exercises in the back of the book to drill what youve learned in a math book. But Im not sure on where to get this practice for programming. I think its real fun and I play around with the assignments, but once the assignment is done, there’s not much more to get out of it from what I can tell.
Im still looking for something like Schaum’s book of exercises but nothing promising yet. Im going to try that hackerrank website and see if that will let me grind stuff out.
 
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StoneTemplePython
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I guess what I meant to say was that its not like math in that there are hundreds of exercises in the back of the book to drill what youve learned in a math book. But Im not sure on where to get this practice for programming. I think its real fun and I play around with the assignments, but once the assignment is done, there’s not much more to get out of it from what I can tell.
Im still looking for something like Schaum’s book of exercises but nothing promising yet. Im going to try that hackerrank website and see if that will let me grind stuff out.
past suggestions I've made to people include

MIT's 2 courses on edX: 6.00.1x and 6.00.2x. Here's the first one:
https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-to-computer-science-and-programming-using-python
(currently going though you could catch up. I think there's one in archive mode as well.)

https://projecteuler.net/
@Arman777 has become a fan of this one

- - -
when I first got into programming my primary interests were coding a poker simulator and various option pricing models. Find some personal projects and just jam on them at any chance you get... and you'll learn a ton.
 
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opus
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Nice! Thanks!
 

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