Doing well in CS 173

To do well in this course you should watch lectures, attend discussion sections, read the textbook, and do the homeworks.

General well-being

As the term closes in and you have a lot of work, it's tempting to skip meals or sleep less. Don't do this. It's impossible to do math or write bug-free computer programs if you are too tired. If you can't finish everything and you are getting behind despite studying frantically, you may need to reduce your load: speak to your instructors and/or advisor.

Help from course staff

The difficulty of this course depends a lot on your mathematical background. Even if you have never needed help in the past, you may need it this term. Do not be shy about coming to office hours or asking questions on Piazza. The course staff don't bite. We remember when we took hard classes and needed help ourselves.

Don't worry that your question might be stupid. We don't admit stupid people. Probably a whole bunch of other people also have the same question and will appreciate the fact that you asked it.

Study groups

Some parts of the assigned work must be done on your own. However, study groups can be extremely helpful for everything else. Your classmates can help you find mathematical bugs and, just as important, give you social support. Get to know the other students, especially during discussion sections.

Study problems

Study problems aren't graded but they are still important. It's almost impossible to get a good understanding of the material without getting your hands dirty trying to work problems yourself. If you understand the study problems, you'll probably do well on the exams.

Our collection of examlet problems contains some of the study problems, either as is or lightly modified.

Do not leave study problems until the last minute. Math problems are much easier to solve if you have time to think about them. Also, starting too late may limit your chances to get help from the course staff.


On the Schedule page, you'll find a skills list for each examlet. Use the skills list to help study for the examlet. You may also wish to look at the examlets posted (typically with solutions) on the web pages for previous terms. Look for terms whose overall format seems to match ours (e.g., weekly examlets).

When examlet grades are released, you'll be able to see comments from the graders. Also look at the model solutions posted on the Schedule page. Make sure you understand any mistakes you've made. If you don't understand how you lost points, seek help from the course staff.