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How to Get a Good Grade in a Computer Science Class

By Edited Dec 24, 2013 1 2

How to Get a Good Grade in a Computer Science Class

Computer science classes are the bane of many university and college students. New terminologies, convoluted processes and a lot of programming don’t make a good combination. For some students computer science classes are unavoidable as they are required to take it as a requirement for their major. Fortunately, there are ways to get good grades in computer science classes. Here are a few tips that will help you make good grades in computer science classes.


Study ahead of the class. Try to reviewthenext topic before the instructor teaches it in class. This will give you prior knowledge about the material and make it easier for you to understand the concepts better. Remember, unlike English and other languages, mathematics and other science subject from elementary school most students don’t have any foundation in programming.


Pay attention in Class. Professors will do or say things that aren't in the reading materials or that will take you sometime to figure out. Usually, these provide the professor's personal insights on the matter. These enrich your learning and help you apply the theories to everyday life. Some professors even give you shortcuts to solving certain problems, or share mnemonic devices that will help you memorize certain terms.


Understand with pictures. As far as introductory computer science classes are concerned many of the contents are abstract, you may not be able to connect pointers, arrays and others to everyday life. However, trying to understand with pictures addresses this issue.


Don’t Try to memorize code, understand the algorithm. This is one mistake students make. There is only so much code you can memorize if you decide to. A better way to go about it is to understand the algorithm, so that when you are given another problem you can compare the similarities with previous solutions and creatively develop a solution. A programme that calculates employee’s tax will share similar algorithm with another problem that calculates the interest on an investment.


Practice. Computer Science, like maths is a matter of practice. You need to start implementing the concepts you have been taught in class as soon as possible. You can use the practice problems at the back of your textbook or online to practice writing working programmes.


Do your Assignments yourself. It’s common for students to get someone to do their assignments for them. Even though this may help you get good marks in the assignment which usually isn’t worth more than 30 percent of the course mark, it doesn’t help you during exams. There is a reason professors give assignments. It’s for you to practice.


Don’t feel bad if you get stuck. Rather than complain when your code isn’t working, try using the help of a more knowledgeable programmer -usually a student that has taken the class previously or the help of the professor, teaching assistant or lab instructor.


Prepare for the Exams. Start preparation not later than one week before the exams. Cram definitions and other theoretical aspect of the course, review your lab and class assignments. I have seen students who are excellent at coding, but struggle to score a 70 percent on the computer science exams. 


Aug 31, 2012 2:02am
I think these tips are good for any class at all, especially any problem solving type class.
Sep 6, 2012 4:12pm
aguy, thanks for commenting. I agree with you!
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