If you’ve been a software engineering or computer science major for any period of time, you will know that your CS homework assignments can make or break your grade. Combine that with other classes, previous obligations, and the possibility of not understanding the material and you’ve got yourself a whirlwind of stress. I’ve been there and it’s not fun. However, I have managed to come up with some tips, I’ve gained from my many homework struggles. So, today we will be looking at eight strategies for finishing your cs homework on time.
Go to Office Hours
Raise your hand if you’ve gone to your professor’s office hours any other time besides finals week. I’m not gonna lie, I used to do that too. I didn’t really think going to office hours was a big deal until I started reading the book Work Smarter, Not Just Harder. And if you have the chance, you should totally read it. It’s a really good book for college students, especially underclassmen. In it, he really stresses the importance of office hours and going early. In short, by going to office hours early on, (like when your project is first assigned), you’ll not only get some guidance on where to start, but you’ll also start to build a reputation for yourself in that teacher’s mind. Instead of being viewed as someone who waits until the last moment to ask for help, you’ll be known as the person who cares about their work and starts planning way in advance. And that can go a long way when finals time come along.
Set an Early Deadline
I actually discovered this tip while watching back to school videos a couple of years ago and I’ve been trying to implement it more recently. As soon as you get your CS homework for the week, set the due date for it a day before it’s actually due. So, for example, if your assignment is due on a Sunday, put the due date in your calendar on a Saturday. This will trick you into doing your assignment a little early, instead of rushing an hour before the deadline. Plus even if you don’t get it done that day, you’ll still have more time to work before the deadline.
If you’ve never used the tutoring lab on your campus before, you should probably consider doing so. One, because you probably already paid for it in your tuition and don’t even realize it and two, because you can get help from students who have gone through the exact same class as you. While the tutors there won’t do your homework for you, they can go over problems with you and figure out what weak spots you have in your understanding. And if your school doesn’t happen to have a CS tutor, trying finding one online. I can’t tell you how many times online tutors have saved me from circling the drain hours into a project. Some of my favorite services to use are Chegg Tutors and Wyzant. And while both of these are paid services, the hourly rates vary from person to person. Spend a little time searching for a tutor that fits into your budget. Trust me when I say that a little invest, can go a long way.
Be a Social Butterfly
I know this might be a shocking tip to get from an introvert, but trust me, it’s important. During my first computer science class, I would hesitate to ask any of my classmates for help because I felt kind of embarrassed. I always wondered why everyone else got it so easily and I was struggling. Luckily I realized the next semester that that wasn’t the case. It wasn’t that other students weren’t struggling, plenty of them were. They actually were struggling, but they worked together to get the project done. So make a couple of friends in your CS classes and if you find yourself struggling with a project, text one of them and ask for help.
Disclaimer: DO NOT be one of those people who goes to the smartest person in the class and begs them for their CS homework. That will get you a bad reputation pretty quickly in the department. Plus, you probably won’t do the best on the tests or the finals.
Even Bigger Disclaimer: DO NOT copy someone else’s code in your class. It doesn’t matter if you change the variable names. If you didn’t write a majority of the code in your project, you’re going to have a problem on your hands.
Actual Refer to the Course Textbook
You know that book you bought at the beginning of the school year that you spent hundreds of dollars on for class and never touched? Well now is the perfect time to break that thing out. Am I telling you to read all six to seven hundred pages of it to look for an answer? No. Instead, try looking for the section that is most related to the project you’re working on. With these kinds of textbooks, there are example programs in there that are probably very similar to your assignment. Use those projects as a reference to see if you are on the right track with your thinking.
Use the Rubber Duck Method
Have you ever been struggling to figure out a certain bug, but you’re having the hardest time fixing it? While these moments can make you want to throw your(probably expensive) computer out a window, there are is another option. Here’s where the ducks come in at. And no, I’m not being hypothetical, I’m actually talking about a real rubber duck. If you happen to find yourself struggling with a particularly nasty bug, try explaining it to your new rubber friend. Don’t just talk about how stuck you are, go through the entire code and explain to them line by line. Talk about the point of the project, why you made certain programming decisions, and what you’ve done so far to fix the bug. I know, it sounds weird, but this is actually something that is used quite frequently in the web development industry. Why? Because nine times out of ten, by explaining the code in your own words, you’ll suddenly realize what mistake you’ve been overlooking. And if you don’t happen to have a rubber duck nearby, any inanimate object can work. I personally use a Batman figurine I got at a volunteer event during my internship, but that’s just me.
Take a Youtube Break
This may be an obvious one, but I have to remind myself of it constantly. It’s okay to take a break. Sometimes I can get into the habit of working so much that I refuse to take a break. Habits like these aren’t the most healthy for you and can cause you even more unnecessary stress. When you find yourself in moments like these, take a step back and watch a couple of Youtube videos. This will give you and your mind time to recover and think about something that isn’t zeroes and ones.
Keep Your Professor in the Loop
Life is unpredictable. Whether it be a sudden illness or a broken computer, sometimes life can throw you a curveball and the last thing you wanna think about is school. It’s in these moments when you have to communicate with your professors. If you have a huge presentation coming up the same week your CS homework/lab is due, talk to your professor and let him/her know about the situation. More than likely, if you discuss what’s going on(not at the last minute, if you can help it) they will more than likely work with you. I can’t guarantee this will happen every time, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
I know from experience that some CS homework assignments can get super stressful. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spent hours struggling through problems, only to figure them out after going to an event on campus. It’s a process, but at the end of the day, it’s pretty rewarding. Let me know if you try out any of these tips and let me know any that I might’ve missed. And if you enjoyed this article, make sure to share it with your friends and pin it on Pinterest. Until next time, I’ll see you later.