Home / Exam 1 Information

Exam 1 Information and Review Materials

You are not logged in.

Please Log In for full access to the web site.
Note that this link will take you to an external site (https://shimmer.mit.edu) to authenticate, and then you will be redirected back to this page.

1) Logistics§

  • Exam 1 will be held on Wednesday, March 22nd from 7:35pm until 9:25pm (1 hour and 50 minutes in duration).

  • The exam covers material from readings/recitations/labs in weeks 0-5 of 6.101 (including labs 0-5).

  • The exam will be held at the following locations, based on your section. Please log in to see your section assignment. A full list of sections is also available on this page.

    Section NumberInstructorQuiz Location
    None 34-101

    Conflict and extended time exams will be held in different locations, which we will arrange over e-mail.

  • The exam will be given on paper, so please make sure to bring one or more pencils with you.

  • The exam is closed-book, but you may use one 8.5\times11" sheet of paper (front and back) as a reference during the exam.

  • You may not use electronics of any kind during the exam (including computers, calculators, phones, tablets, music players, etc.).

  • Proctors will be available to answer administrative questions and clarify specifications of problems, but they should not be relied on for help with solving the problems.

2) Conflicts and Accommodations§

  • If you have a direct conflict with an MIT class or MIT extracurricular such that you are unable to attend the scheduled time, please e-mail 6.101-personal@mit.edu with the subject line "6.101 Quiz 1 Conflict," and please explain the nature of your conflict in the e-mail.

  • Per institute policy, you are not allowed to miss regularly scheduled class periods in your other classes for the 6.101 exam; if you have a conflict, you must work with us to schedule a conflict exam consistent with (not conflicting with) those regular class periods.

  • If you require accommodations for the exam (with a note from DAS), please e-mail 6.101-personal@mit.edu with the subject line "6.101 Quiz 1 Accommodations."

  • Please contact us by Monday, March 13 if you have a conflict or require accommodations.

3) Practice Materials§

Practice materials for the exam are now available in the form of exams from previous semesters. These exams (referred to as quizzes in previous semesters) are intended to be approximately representative of the length and coverage of a regular exam. Note in Fall 2022's quiz 1, the quiz was a week earlier and did not cover recursion. However, this semester's exam 1 will cover recursion. Solutions to these exams will be posted closer to the exam.

In order to best make use of these practice exams, we strongly suggest working through them in as authentic an environment as possible (i.e., on paper, with a time limit of 1 hour and 50 minutes and without access to external resources). We also encourage the use of exam wrappers (explained in further detail below) to help identify topics you can further review after you have taken the practice exam.

3.1) Answers to Practice Quizzes§

Answers to the practice exams are now available, but you are strongly encouraged not to look at them until after you have tried the exams yourself (ideally under normal exam conditions). Note that many of the questions have multiple correct answers and that the answers documents only show one such answer.

These documents also intentionally only include answers, without detailed explanations, so that you can try to work through the problems again if you arrived at a wrong answer. They also generally only contain one possible answer, even where multiple correct answers exist. If you are unsure about why an answer is right (or if you think an answer might be wrong, or if you have an alternative answer that you are unsure of), feel free to ask about it in open lab hours, instructors office hours, or via the e-mail lists!

If you have any questions as you're working through these, please let us know!

4) Exam Study Tips§

What do you plan to do (specifically) between now and exam time?

If you don't have a concrete study plan (and even if you do) this section has some effective study habit suggestions that you may find useful as you prepare for the exam.1

4.1) Metacognition §

Metacognition is the ability think about your own thinking. It involves being consciously aware of yourself as a problem solver and being able to monitor, plan, and control your mental processing. People with a high level of metacognitive awareness can accurately judge their level of learning and know what they know (and more importantly what they don't know). 2

Using metacognitive strategies can help you study more effectively by allowing you to take stock of what you already know, what you need to work on, and how best to approach learning new material.3 Remember: study smart (and study hard!)

4.2) Exam Wrapper Template §

We encourage you to take practice exams in exam-like settings because that will allow you to more accurately assess your understanding of the material. We wait to release the solutions because working through the problems independently first will help you learn more than reading how someone else solved the problem (think of it like getting stronger by lifting weights versus watching someone else lift weights.)

The exam wrapper template below is an additional tool that can help you increase your metacognitive awareness and identify the topics that you can benefit the most from studying.4

Before you take a (practice) exam

Make a list of topics we have covered so far in 6.101 and answer the following questions:

  • What topics or concepts am I most comfortable with / confident I can apply on the exam?

  • What content am I still confused or unable to apply?

  • For each topic, rate your understanding on a scale according to MIT's letter grade definitions (shown below.) Note: as mentioned on our grading policy page, the instructors set exam cutoffs based on these definitions, not based on a curve or the class average / standard deviation.

    • A = Exceptionally good performance demonstrating a superior understanding of the subject matter, a foundation of extensive knowledge, and a skillful use of concepts and/or materials.

    • B = Good performance demonstrating capacity to use the appropriate concepts, a good understanding of the subject matter, and an ability to handle the problems and materials encountered in the subject.

    • C = Adequate performance demonstrating an adequate understanding of the subject matter, an ability to handle relatively simple problems, and adequate preparation for moving on to more advanced work in the field.

    • D = Minimally acceptable performance demonstrating at least partial familiarity with the subject matter and some capacity to deal with relatively simple problems, but also demonstrating deficiencies serious enough to make it inadvisable to proceed further in the field without additional work.

    • F = Cannot define terms or apply subject matter.

While you take the (practice) exam

Try applying the following test-taking strategies:

  • Take a deep breath and do your best (it's all you can do)
  • Glance through the exam before doing any work
  • Read the instructions carefully
  • Complete the easiest questions first
  • Underline key words in the question
  • Budget your time (don't get stuck on any problem for too long - skip it and come back to it later after completing other parts of the exam.)

After you take the (practice) exam

Take a break, then come back and complete the following tasks:

  • review the solution for each question and grade your response. If you got the question right, do you understand why? If you got the question wrong, do you understand the solution? If you have any questions about the solutions and can't find the answer on your own, come to open lab hours and ask a TA for clarification or email 6.101-help.

  • review the questions you did not receive full points on and identify the reason why:

    • Misremembered (I confused the facts)

    • Unprepared (I didn’t study/review/practice that concept or skill enough)

    • Misunderstood (it never “clicked,” so I need to talk to my teacher)

    • Misread (I didn’t follow directions or I didn’t give specific support)

  • Did your pre-exam assessment of your understanding of the topics match your performance on those topics in the practice exam? If not, why?

  • Based on the insights you have gained from the exam-wrapper, what specific things can you do to get ready for the exam? Some examples of strategies are listed in the section below.

4.3) Study Consistently §

Research has shown that cramming (studying a lot right before the exam, also known as massed practice) is less effective than studying consistently for shorter periods over time (known as distributed practice).5

We encourage you to think about and develop a consistent study plan that works best with how you learn, and to regularly reflect on whether the study methods you are using are effectively helping you understand and apply the material. Some concrete strategies are outlined in the study session framework below:

Intense Study Session Framework:

  • Set a Goal: 1-2 min

    Decide what you want to accomplish in your study session.

  • Study with Focus: 30-50 min

    Some suggested study activities:

    • List the main topics that have been covered in readings, recitation, and labs.
    • For each topic, list the main concepts and summarize them in a sentence. Would you be able to teach these concepts in-depth to another student who has never heard of it before? If not, spend time summarizing the material in your own words as though you were going to teach it to someone else.
    • What are the connections between the material covered in readings, recitation, and labs? Can you find a way to visualize the topics and the connections between them? This visual representation of information is known as a concept map.6 Concept maps can take the form of charts, graphic organizers, tables, flowcharts, Venn Diagrams, timelines, or T-charts.
    • Make your exam reference sheet.
    • Complete practice exams in exam-like situations. Go over the solutions and use the exam wrapper to identify topics that need additional review (see section above.)
    • Make a list of specific questions you have about topics or practice problems. Try to find the answers. If you are unsure, go to open lab hours and ask a TA!
    • Redo problems that we have seen in readings and recitation that cover the topics/concepts you are most unsure about. Review the labs (and if you're feeling ambitious redo the parts that you struggled with when you originally did the lab from scatch.)
    • Make your own practice problems and solutions, share your problems with friends or staff in open lab hours and practice explaining the solutions.
  • Reward Yourself: 10-15 min

    Take a break– call a friend, play a short game, get a snack

  • Review: 5 min

    Go over what you just studied.


1This section is based on materials that Dr. Amanda Beyer-Purvis, the director of DEI Programming for MIT's EECS department, collected and developed for 6.101 in Fall 2022. (click to return to text)

2 Flavell, J. H. (1976). Metacognitive aspects of problem solving. In L. B. Resnick (Ed.), The nature of intelligence (pp.231-236). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum Another research paper (click to return to text)

3 Source: UNC's Metacognitive study strategies. (click to return to text)

4 Exam wrapper template sources: American Psychological Association Exam Wrapper and UC Denver Exam Autopsy (click to return to text)

5 Definition of distributed practice and one example of a relevant research article: Rawson, K. A., & Dunlosky, J. (2011). Optimizing schedules of retrieval practice for durable and efficient learning: How much is enough? Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 140(3), 283–302. doi:https://doi.org/10.1037/a0023956 (click to return to text)

6 UNC Concept Map Guide (click to return to text)