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Thread: New here and frustrated with school

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Default New here and frustrated with school

    I知 currently taking a beginning Java class at my college and I知 having a difficult time with it. I知 hoping I can get some pointers from some people with more advanced knowledge.

    I知 in a small class and with 30 other students and while on the homework assignments I do very well (I have the highest grade in the class with a 98%) I知 having a very difficult time with my exams. My last two exams I scored a 55% and the class average was 70%.

    For me, memorizing things is difficult. It痴 easier for me to remember where to find information than memorize it. When I知 programming on the computer, if I have a syntax error it shows me and I can go, 登ops, I forgot the semi-colon, but when it comes to the test I can稚 look anything up and I don稚 have an IDE telling me I have a syntax error. On the test I知 given a sheet of paper and a pencil. What do you do to practice for these types of exams?

    For example, one of my test questions was this: 鄭ssume that your Triangle class is a subclass of another (unseen) class named Shape. It also uses the interface named Comparable. Finish the first line of the class definition here:

    At the time I didn稚 have the foggiest clue what to write, I knew I needed an Extends and Comparable, but I was missing another keyword, I wrote down:

    Public class Triangle Extends Comparable

    I lost two out of four points for that because it痴 actually:

    Public class Triangle Extends Shape implements Comparable

    On another question, worth 6 points, I知 asked to write a comparteTo() method and I do a pretty good job at that, the professor even wrote 砺ery nice. I still lost two points because when I declared two of my variables I didn稚 put 電ouble in front of them (I completely forgot to do that).

    On a different question I was asked, 展hich method do we override if we want to have specialized graphics in a GUI component? Give the entire signature

    I wrote down,
    protected void Graphics(Graphics e)

    The correct answer is

    protected void paintComponent(Graphics g)

    I had another question like, 展rite a static generic method that empties the Stack passed into it, and returns the bottom value in the Stack. While the logic is important, the problem is just as much about working with generics and Stacks.

    On this question I couldn稚 remember the syntax at all, so I wrote as close to declaring a generic method as I could remember and wrote in a little pseudo code and I was able to get half the points.

    What do the rest of you do when it comes to exams like these? Do you write all of your programs with pencil and paper in hopes to better retain information? I know I知 not the sharpest tool in the shed, but there has to be better study methods that I can utilize for these types of exams.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator pbrockway2's Avatar
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    Default Re: New here and frustrated with school

    Hi marly, welcome to the forums!

    I don't know if there is any "magic bullet" for becoming fluent with Java's syntax and API. Just write lots of code, I suppose.

    But - perhaps more important - read lots of code: your own and other students, code from books and the internet (including here). Figure out what the code does and think about the code (would you have done it that way? some better way? is it clear? how could it be made clearer?) There's nothing wrong with using all the resources you can (compiler checking, online docs etc) but don't allow them to substitute for thinking and reasoning.

    Don't rush to the keyboard when you have a homework problem: you know you can do these things well, so pose yourself the challenge of answering them away from keyboard (on paper, or in your head). And not sorta-kinda solutions, but detailed.

    Just random ideas... Again, welcome.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator jps's Avatar
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    Default Re: New here and frustrated with school

    Welcome marly

    The best advice I have is "Try not to worry" and "write more programs"
    Open your ide and write a "Hello world" program. Compile and run.
    Close the ide and open a plain text editor. (Pencil and paper in digital form) Rewrite the same program without the ide.
    Eventually the semicolon on the end will seem as natural as a period at the end of a sentence.
    You just know it needs one because you have ended the statement.

    When you declare a variable, it just makes sense that the type has to be included. How else will the computer know what type it will be?
    Give it some time and practice.

  4. #4
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    I think jps had a very good idea, I would do it the other way around though. First try to write the program in notepad, then check up on it in your favourite ide and think about any mistakes you might have made. It's all down to practice


  5. #5
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    Default Re: New here and frustrated with school

    I ended up switching over to UltraEdit Studio to do my programming. I would have only stayed with UltraEdit, but I liked how the compiler was a little more intergraded with UltraEdit Studio. I can live without autocomplete, but living without syntax highlighting is a little rough.

    They require us to use NetBeans, so I guess I値l just copy/paste my code into the assignments that I hand in.
    I値l see how this goes.

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