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Reasons for poor marks in assignments

 
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I'm not sure if anyone can answer this, but I've been discouraged lately and I just need to "vent" (I guess you could say).

How often does a student end up having to re-take their java class?  I ask because I am a non-traditional student and I literally, just got caught up on all my Java assignments last night (so most of them are worth 0 points). I wanted to get through them though cos going on to the next assignment with out understanding/completing the previous assignment felt wrong.  I haven't tried to calculate it, but I'm not sure if I can even get a C at this point.

Am I not "cut out for programming" if I have to re-take the class?  I really enjoy it and when I finally get something to work correctly, it is probably the best natural high I've ever had.  I guess I'm just discouraged.
 
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As Carey's solution (a good solution) shows, there are always different ways to solve each problem.

I can't tell why you have got poor marks. Are you keeping up with lectures? Are you being taught correctly? Are you getting disorganised and not starting the assignments on time? Most people who enjoy programming probably are good at it, but we haven't seen enough of your work to know that about you.
 
Jeremy Wages
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:As Carey's solution (a good solution) shows, there are always different ways to solve each problem.

I can't tell why you have got poor marks. Are you keeping up with lectures? Are you being taught correctly? Are you getting disorganised and not starting the assignments on time? Most people who enjoy programming probably are good at it, but we haven't seen enough of your work to know that about you.




Poor marks right now are because of late assignments.  Normally, say, if it were math or something, I'd turn it in on-time incomplete, cos generally I'd lose more points for it being late than incorrect, but with programming, if the program doesn't run correctly, you get a nice 0, so turning in late is the only option.  If it takes too long to figure it out though, you get a 0 anyway because its too many days late.
 
Jeremy Wages
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"Most people who enjoy programming probably are good at it.."

but were they "good" while they were learning?
 
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There's a lot to learn when first starting out:

  • Syntax
  • Coding conventions and style
  • Compilation & running
  • Loops, arrays, conditional
  • Basic classes available with Java run-time environment
  • Researching classes and methods via the API Javadocs
  • Learning to read code
  • Object oriented design
  • Understanding requirements
  • Subdividing requirements till you have manageable tasks
  • How to "play computer"
  • Testing and debugging

  • And, you have to learn them all at once because they're interdependent. Meaning to say, don't beat yourself up too much. It is difficult starting out, especially if you have no prior experience with other programming languages.

    Some of these things are easier if your memory is good. Others, like analysis and design, are harder and some people just have a natural talent for it and others have to work at developing the skill. Learning to "play computer" is important here.

    Everybody learns differently. For myself, I prefer books because I find them to be the most comprehensive resource. Do you have a text that you're using in class?
     
    Jeremy Wages
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    I do have the book.  Its "Introduction to java prrogramming, comprehensive version" 10th edition.  I have trouble taking what I've read and putting it into actual code.  Maybe I should study the chapters more and not pay as much attention to the lectures (basically they are a slideshow of what was said in the book).  It's also an online class, so I think that makes things a little more difficult, but when you have a wife and kids, online is the best option, I think.  Maybe I'm being too hard on myself, but getting behind has really put a damper on my spirits.  
     
    Carey Brown
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    When you read up on a new feature, I  find it helps to write yourself a very small program that demonstrates its behavior. Usually these are between 15 and 50 lines long. I have hundreds of these little programs I call TryXXX. It's difficult to put pieces together that you're only vaguely familiar with. If I'm writing a program and something isn't behaving like I expected I'll cut and paste just that small snippet of code into a TryXXX program and get to understand it and then go back to the original program with a new understanding.
     
    Jeremy Wages
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    That's an awesome tip!  Thank you!
     
    Marshal
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    Carey Brown wrote:When you read up on a new feature, I  find it helps to write yourself a very small program that demonstrates its behavior. Usually these are between 15 and 50 lines long. I have hundreds of these little programs I call TryXXX. It's difficult to put pieces together that you're only vaguely familiar with. If I'm writing a program and something isn't behaving like I expected I'll cut and paste just that small snippet of code into a TryXXX program and get to understand it and then go back to the original program with a new understanding.


    A JUnit test is also a great place to experiment. You can put your class under test in the same .java file as the test or you could just have the methods you want to test as part of the JUnit test class.  I don't have a bunch of TryXXX classes, I have a number of ScratchTest classes under various packages.

    The nice thing with using JUnit Tests is that they already have a lot of piping underneath the covers so I can easily make assertions and write actual unit tests instead of just doing System.out.println() all the time. And it fits into my style of doing test-driven development more, of course.
     
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    Jeremy Wages wrote:How often does a student end up having to re-take their java class?

    Now that you asked, I can comment on those from my recent observations.

    That is proportional on how often students think "that's an easy task, won't take more than 2 hours, will start next Monday, latest by Wednesday..". Problems are ON here.

    Solution 1: when you get an assignment - read instructions twice and right away. Get some feeling what is that about you need deal with and do an estimation how long it can roughly take to you based on your knowledge you have at that particular time you read them.

    Interim: Will you need to research syntax things but have a solution in your head? Do you know syntax but don't have solution in your head? If you answered "yes" to first question - Solution 2 might not needed. If you answered "yes" to second question - need Solution 2.

    Solution 2: start right away without any estimations, do something, some part of it, you'll have best understanding what the task is exactly about. Usually, once you start, it goes easier than you expected, so you finish earlier as get interested into the task along the way you go.

    Profits of Solution 2: you get a confidence about yourself and your abilities after the first accomplished task, hence the other assignments go the way easier.
    Disadvantage of not doing Solution 2: you might be wrong in your estimation during Solution 1, you're at risk to submit things late, more over, before you submit, you get more assignments, then you start thinking you will run out of time (and instead of doing, you say, well, I have... wife and kids). This is where excuses have no profit, as you didn't get any knowledge you were intended to get.

    If you don't do any of those solutions - things are bad enough to change the way you think about studies, sooner - better.

    Some better news: good that you came here, it seems you're looking for solutions already or change the way from what you did before, so things might not that bad as I wrote one sentence above. Just do those assignments one by one, if you need - repeat class, that is not that bad, just do assignments right away you get them and that is it, sooner or later you need to do them anyway, so why not to start sooner?
     
    Liutauras Vilda
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    @OP

    It seems I forgot to remind you, you solved this exercise, didn't you? If you have started that earlier, that wouldn't be handed in as a late assignment. So problem not in your abilities to solve problems, but not starting on them as early as you should

    So, heads up We expect you to see here more often, it just a matter of practice.
     
    Jeremy Wages
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    Liutauras Vilda wrote:
    Some better news: good that you came here, it seems you're looking for solutions already or change the way from what you did before, so things might not that bad as I wrote one sentence above. Just do those assignments one by one, if you need - repeat class, that is not that bad, just do assignments right away you get them and that is it, sooner or later you need to do them anyway, so why not to start sooner?



    Some solid advice, at first I was only giving myself a couple days to do the assignments, but I quickly realized I needed to change that, but I was already falling behind.  I'm caught up now (caught up as in- everything that is supposed to be turned in, is in).  Next week is spring break, but not for this guy.  I'm going to start on the lab that is due after spring break today.
     
    Jeremy Wages
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    Liutauras Vilda wrote:@OP

    It seems I forgot to remind you, you solved this exercise, didn't you? If you have started that earlier, that wouldn't be handed in as a late assignment. So problem not in your abilities to solve problems, but not starting on them as early as you should

    So, heads up We expect you to see here more often, it just a matter of practice.



    You're very correct.  Apart from a brain fart (thinking that he meant to not worry about capitals, punctuation, etc) it would've been on time, but I didn't realize he meant that if a user enters "!" in their string, it should be ignored until after I posted here.  So I didn't complete it correctly.


    Either way, it's all solved by starting earlier.
     
    Campbell Ritchie
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    Have moved this discussion to a more appropriate forum. Only part of the original th‍read because the subject matter changed.
    And have a cow for your honesty and for taking a difficult subject so well
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