This sucks... Failing out

This is a discussion on This sucks... Failing out within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; I need some advice from some programmers who have taken some college level classes in some pretty basic prograaming. I ...

  1. #1
    Registered User MacNilly's Avatar
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    Unhappy This sucks... Failing out

    I need some advice from some programmers who have taken some college level classes in some pretty basic prograaming.

    I took two classes last semeseter at the local college and I got a C in one class and and F in another. Needless to say, this was a shock to me. The classes were "Discrete Structures in Computer Science" (got a C) and "Data structures" (got an F !!)

    The "discrete structures" class was mostly math theory and automaton theory and whatnot, I am glad I passed that damn class lol.

    However, I am feeling bad about the Data Structure class which was a class using only straight ANSI compliant C code (no C++ allowed) and involved MANY MANY hours and all-nighters of my time coding these assignments to 100% accuracy.

    I made ADTS of stacks, queues, mergesorts, quicksorts, hashtables, binary trees, AVT trees (which I never got right ), and finally, a heap sort program.

    Even if I failed the 3 exams that were offered, shouldn't my completely debugged programs that I spend many hours on count for something? gah...

    I should also mention that the book offered absolutely NO help and also I wrote on my teacher evalution that he requires C code AND THE BOOK I BOUGHT FOR 100 DOLLARS IS ALL IN C++ GAHHHH

    anyways, what should I do? Take the class again and reuse my code that's already done and just focus on passing the written part? Go to the CS department head with my complaint that I should at least recieve a C, showing him my fully debugged code?
    Last edited by MacNilly; 01-21-2007 at 04:08 AM.

  2. #2
    MFC killed my cat! manutd's Avatar
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    They'll not retract the grade.
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  3. #3
    Fear the Reaper...
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    They won't change your grade. All the code you did could just as easily been copied, ripped from a library, or taken in some other way.

    The point is that if you don't pass your written exams, you won't have much luck convincing the faculty that you know about Data Structures, regardless of whether you can write code for them.
    Teacher: "You connect with Internet Explorer, but what is your browser? You know, Yahoo, Webcrawler...?" It's great to see the educational system moving in the right direction

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    l'Anziano DavidP's Avatar
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    Eh....I wouldn't be so quick to say that. Some people view universities as stern punks who don't give a crap, but you would be surprised what might happen if you simply go talk to your professor.

    I doubt the CS department itself would care to give you anything, but if you talked to your professor you might get something.

    [edit]

    Have a reasonable and calm conversation. Don't be angry...just be concerned.

    [/edit]
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  5. #5
    {Jaxom,Imriel,Liam}'s Dad Kennedy's Avatar
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    I'm several years removed from under grad work, however, I do recall something about (in the US) syllabi being required to be given to students from professors -- which clearly defines the grading scale so there are no surprises. I also recall that most of my scales (for the CS work) were like 500 points for tests (3 tests at 100 points and the final at 200 points) then there was 100-200 points for projects. So, needless to say, recalling for the test is more important to professors than practical use (probably for what Happy_Reaper said -- today, work can easily be stolen from the web). ::breaks out cane:: ::talks with lack of air supply -- not the band:: back in my day, we didn't have the WWW, just ftp and gopher. . . Ahh the *good* ole days?

  6. #6
    Ethernal Noob
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    Check if your school has a policy for forgiveness, where if you take the class first and fail it, you can take it again, and if you get a higher grade (passing grade) then you can have that grade replace it. I have it at my college but you are limited to only three courses. And you can't replace a passing grade like a C or better.

    I plan on using mine for the D I got in Statistics

  7. #7
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Back when I went to school we used this old antiquated grading system. If you failed the class....then you failed the class. No amount of bargaining, whining, or psychological mumbo jumbo would ever change that.

    I cannot believe what I'm hearing. Retake the class b/c you obviously do not understand the material regardless of how many incorrect programs you wrote. It used to be that ....all grades are considered final.

    I don't think your boss is going to have a "forgiveness" policy do you?

    Quite obviously: school != real_life

    I'm not being hard I'm being real. Schools need to toughen up and get away from this sissy stuff b/c it has not changed in the real world. If you fail at your job...guess what...you are going to get into trouble no matter how much effort you put into it and regardless if you ever have missed a day of work.

    Quite honestly if you don't understand and cannot code those data structures then you got what you deserved and I do not want you out there attempting to code anything using those items.

    Competition is extremely tough out there right now and so I recommend finding a way to do better because it is not going to get any easier.

    Sorry, that's just life. You ought to read Bill Gates's comparison of school and the real world. I guess I could sit here and coddle you and blow sunshine up your arse....but then that isn't going to get you any closer to an 'A'.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 01-21-2007 at 05:57 PM.

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    S Sang-drax's Avatar
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    Hehehe... in Sweden you can take any exam as many times as possible, the best grade always counts. You can fail an exam 10 consecutive times and if you get an A on your 11th attempt, that's your grade. You don't even have to retake the course.

    American exchange students coming here are preplexed by our system...
    Last edited by Sang-drax : Tomorrow at 02:21 AM. Reason: Time travelling

  9. #9
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Ok that's crazy. So if I'm designing a new product and I get it right once out of ten times, do you think the customer is still going to buy it? My job is quality control and I can tell you now that if 1 out of 10 units were safe that would not be considered a very good ratio.

  10. #10
    S Sang-drax's Avatar
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    Here, the opinion is that grades are a measurement on how much you know. If you improve your knowledge the grades should reflect that. It is a pure measurement of knowledge, it really has nothing to do with work or how ambitious you are.
    Last edited by Sang-drax : Tomorrow at 02:21 AM. Reason: Time travelling

  11. #11
    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    ...but it doesn't assess the importance of preperation and promotes lazyness. Consider a kid who wants to go out with his/her friends and doesn't want to study for the exam s/he has tomorrow. In the US, if the kid went out and didn't study s/he would fail reflecting the fact that s/he didn't have enough interest in the subject in order to put out the work time required to learn it. In most situations, the kid would recognize this and study rather than slacking off with his/her friends.

    In Sweden, the kid would rather go out with his/her friends knowing that even if they failed the following day, they would have equal chance to study and take it again another time for a better grade. The real world unfortunately doesn't work around our schedule... things need to be done and learned when it is requested.
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  12. #12
    CS Author and Instructor
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    They won't change your grade. All the code you did could just as easily been copied, ripped from a library, or taken in some other way.

    The point is that if you don't pass your written exams, you won't have much luck convincing the faculty that you know about Data Structures, regardless of whether you can write code for them.
    I'm several years removed from under grad work, however, I do recall something about (in the US) syllabi being required to be given to students from professors -- which clearly defines the grading scale so there are no surprises. I also recall that most of my scales (for the CS work) were like 500 points for tests (3 tests at 100 points and the final at 200 points) then there was 100-200 points for projects. So, needless to say, recalling for the test is more important to professors than practical use (probably for what Happy_Reaper said -- today, work can easily be stolen from the web).
    That's why alot of instructors who teach programming (myself included) only have about 25-40% grade based on programs...good reasons why stated above...

    Check if your school has a policy for forgiveness, where if you take the class first and fail it, you can take it again, and if you get a higher grade (passing grade) then you can have that grade replace it. I have it at my college but you are limited to only three courses. And you can't replace a passing grade like a C or better.
    Most colleges/university usually have some sort of policy like this...

    Data Structures is usually the "weed out" course in CS. You usually have this type of course in all majors...
    Mr. C: Author and Instructor

  13. #13

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    I wish you the best of luck. The worst case is that you retake the course? That is not the end of the world, I think that happens to many of us. Even theoretically being put on academic probation because of bad grades is not the end of the world. I do not think the school is out to destroy you. I think if you do sit down and talk to someone, explaining your case, you will at least get advice and help. They might raise the grade, but I would not get your hopes up too high.

    I don't understand how you spent so much time coding but failed the 3 exams. The type of ambition that you showed is what usually succeeds in the real world (pulling all nighters to finish difficult projects), but unfortunately getting the damn grade also counts for a lot.
    I'm not immature, I'm refined in the opposite direction.

  14. #14
    carry on JaWiB's Avatar
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    Bubba, some people have trouble taking tests even if they do understand the concepts. I suppose you could argue that you'll have the same pressure on a job as on a test, but I don't know if that's necessarily true...

    >Hehehe... in Sweden you can take any exam as many times as possible, the best grade always counts.

    Do you get to take the exact same test every time?
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  15. #15
    l'Anziano DavidP's Avatar
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    I wouldn't call Data Structures the weed-out course...at least not at my school. Data Structures is usually the course taught right after the basic programming course. That's how I saw it both in high school Computer Science and in university Computer Science.

    Up here at my school the weed-out course is CS 240: Advanced C++ Programming, which assumes you already know all you need to know about data structures (which you learn in CS 235). In CS 240 you have to write a Chess game and a reimplementation of "make". That's the weed out.
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