Midterm Information

Spring 2019

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1) Overview

The midterm comprises 15% of your final grade in 6.08 and will take place over two hours. The exam will be paper-based and you are allowed a calculator and three sheets of notes (front and back) used however you want so long as you can use them unaided (no microfilm, no paper-based computers, etc. Origami is acceptable, I suppose). All necessary documentation will be provided on the exam including pinouts, and necessary code or API documentation.

Note: Cellphones are not allowed on your desk or table during the exam. A cellphone will not be a permissible calculator. We make no guarantees that we will have spare calculators for you, so please prepare ahead. Math will be at or below the order of complexity you've seen in some of the power exercsises, so you really don't really need a calculator, but it may allow you to move faster through certain problems.

The midterm will take place from 7:30pm to 9:30pm Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday April 9th, 2019. Depending on first letter of you surname, you will be in one of two rooms. The distribution will be decided soon, but will be either in 10-250 or 32-123. All rooms will start at the same time \pm 10 \text{s}.

2) Content

Any and all material from the first eight weeks of class may be on the exam. This includes exercises, labs, and lectures. Particular/Specific Design Exercises, while an important part in learning, will not be on the exam, though it is possible that experience from them will help on the exam.

2.1) What the Exam Is

Our goal is to test you on what we've gone over so far in class and to provide motivation to prepare and fill in any gaps in your knowledge for the lead-up to the final project so you can be as effective as possible in that portion of the course. With that in mind, most of what you've done in this class has occurred in the exercises and labs so focus on those. Lectures should be viewed through the lens of how they supplemented these lectures and labs.

2.2) What the Exam Is Not

We do not expect you to have memorized detailed syntax elements of SQL (we barely remember these ourselves), or the particular structure of the request dictionary handed to you on the server, and while you should be able to synthesize some code, the exam will not be solely writing code from scratch. You do not need to have the wiring of your system memorized, but you should be able to debug a breadboard and synthesize and debug across both the hardware and software domains.

2.3) What to Study

We've covered a lot of material in our time so far. A lot of the exercises are really notes/question hybrids so it would be beneficial to go back through and read/study them. When you did a question the first time, make sure you actually got why the answer was what it was. Why did you multiply by negative one in that one power question? Why did adding '\0' to the end of my array fix my code? What is a voltage divider? Why 2^{11}? These are all things I've heard people say then shrug off. Figure these things out!

2.4) Practice Midterms

HERE is the 2017 6.08 midterm exam and HERE are the solutions for it. We are posting this here so you have an idea of the general structure of the exam since we intend for the midterm for this year to be approximately similar in length and style (it will be different of course, though). Note that the hardware the server infrastructure have changed significantly since that year, and as a result some aspects of the system detailed in the exam, and what we would have expected students to be familiar with have changed as well. (less-compressed/possibly less Athena-printer-friendly-versions of these files are here and here)

The 2018 Midterm is here. (less-compressed version here). Solutions for 2018 midterm are here. There was a lot of reading in this exam. 2019's will have less reading. Again, 6.08 used some different infrastructure that year, though many concepts, will carry over. We used the String class that year, but you're better than that, so make sure you convert/do questions with char arrays.

This file contains about three-ish problems (merged into two large ones) that were dropped from the 2018 midterm creation (less-compressed version of file here . I'm including them here just since they are new things to look through and might prove helpful. I don't have a solution file. Ask questions on Piazza (or even better, post your solution on Piazza and we can go over it in the spirit of learning). Note that these questions are a bit more start-from-scratch-code-heavy than we expect the midterm to be (part of the reason they were cut). Also note that these aren't polished questions. I didn't invest the time adding in chaperoned function documentation for the coding parts...you can just use the internet for now. If something is left out, just ask about it. Otherwise take them as they are....more like thinking prompts.

Please, speaking as an educator, and friend, do not just browse the exam when you study. Try to actually do the problems out without looking at the solutions immediately. Time yourself! In not doing this you'll fall prey to P vs. NP issues, where a given solution is easy to verify but difficult to generate. If you study by verifying answers handed to you rather than generating them yourself, you may not develop the same problem solving skills that you'd do otherwise. I'm convinced this is 90% of the problem with people when they study (speaking from experience...in undergrad I'd be like, "of course the answer is 5.43 hours! Studying done. Now let's play some Far Cry 1 and browse Limewire for stuff.", but deep down I didn't develop the skill/practice to solve that problem, which is really what it is all about).

3) Review Notes

Slides from Review Session on April 7, 2019: NOTES. Here are some more notes from the same session as well. Here are answers to the slides. Thanks, Mark.

4) Partial Credit?

Yes we will do partial credit on the midterm.

5) Questions?

As always feel free to email the staff and/or post on Piazza!!!

This page was last updated on Monday April 08, 2019 at 07:08:49 PM (revision a1d2f6d).
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