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The typical mistakes made by students while tackling computer science homework

May 10, 2023
Lisa Lewis
Lisa Lewis
United States
Computer Science Home Work
Lisa completed her Master’s in Computer Science from Columbia University, one of the leading universities in computer science. She deeply understands various programming languages, software development methodologies, and computer systems.
Even for the most knowledgeable and experienced students, completing homework assignments in computer science can be difficult. However, there are a number of mistakes that students make on a regular basis that can slow down their progress and lead to frustration. Among these errors are the following:
• A lack of comprehension of the issue at hand
• Inadequate planning and management of time
 • Absence of testing
• Inappropriate use of comments
 • Code duplication
It is critical for students to be aware of these errors and to develop strategies for avoiding them in their own work. They will be able to finish their computer science homework in a manner that is both more efficient and effective if they do so, and they will also develop valuable problem-solving skills that will serve them well in the future.

Not Understanding the Problem

When it comes to completing their homework in computer science, one of the most common mistakes that students make is that they do not understand the problem. This may occur for a number of reasons, including a failure to read the instructions thoroughly, a lack of comprehension of the fundamental concepts, or an absence of sufficient experience working through problems of a similar nature.
Before beginning to work on the problem, it is essential for students to ensure that they have a complete understanding of the issue at hand by giving themselves sufficient time to do so. They need to pay close attention to the instructions, consult with either their teacher or their peers for assistance if they are stuck, and go over any pertinent ideas and strategies. In addition, working through examples of problems that are similar to those you will face in real life can help you develop your skills and boost your confidence.


It's possible for a student to begin writing code before fully comprehending the problem at hand. Take, for instance, the task of writing a program that locates the integer with the highest value within a list of other integers. It is possible that they will believe that it is necessary for them to write code in order to sort the list, but this is not the case. As a consequence of this, they may squander their time and effort writing unnecessary code while continuing to struggle with successfully resolving the issue.

Poor Planning and Time Management

Another error that many students commit is a lack of proper planning and management of their time. Assignments in computer science frequently involve intricate programming concepts and algorithms, which take a significant amount of time and effort to comprehend and put into practice. Students who are unable to effectively plan their use of time may find themselves cramming to finish their assignments at the last minute, which may result in code that is either incorrect or incomplete.
Students should begin working on their assignments as soon as possible and break them down into smaller, more manageable tasks in order to avoid making the mistake described above. They can schedule their time using a planner or calendar and set deadlines for each task that they are working on. In addition to that, they ought to allot some additional time in case they run into unanticipated issues or challenges.


When students procrastinate and wait until the last minute to start working on a computer science homework assignment, they risk facing a number of negative consequences. Not only does procrastination limit the amount of time that they have to complete the assignment, but it can also cause them to feel rushed and stressed, making it more difficult for them to think clearly and come up with effective solutions.
Moreover, when students procrastinate, they may not have enough time to properly test and debug their code. This can lead to errors and mistakes that go unnoticed, ultimately resulting in a poor grade for the assignment. In some cases, the mistakes could be so significant that the code does not function at all, leading to an even lower grade or a complete failure of the assignment.

Lack of Testing

Students frequently make the mistake of not testing their own code, which is another common error. Testing is an essential component of programming that serves the purpose of locating errors and other problems within the code. Students may hand in code that is either incorrect or incomplete, which does not fulfill the requirements of the assignment, if testing is not performed.
Students should always test their code thoroughly before submitting it in order to avoid making a mistake like this one. They can use test cases to verify that their code performs as intended and gives the expected results regardless of the inputs given. In addition, they are responsible for fixing any errors or bugs that they discover and ensuring that their code is compliant with the specifications of the assignment.


Not testing code before submitting it is one of the most common mistakes that students make when working on computer science homework assignments. When a student writes code without testing it, they might assume that it works correctly, but there may be errors or bugs that they are not aware of. This can result in the program producing incorrect output or failing to run at all.
For example, in the case of the sorting program, if the student has not tested the program with a variety of inputs, they might not realize that the code fails to sort the list properly when there are repeated elements, or that the code takes an excessively long time to run for large input sizes. If they hand in the code without testing it, they run the risk of receiving a lower grade than they expected, or even failing the assignment.

Not Using Comments

Students also make the mistake of not using comments in their code, which is another common oversight. The purpose of the code must be explained, complicated algorithms must be documented, and the code must be made more readable through the use of comments. It can be difficult for others to understand the code if there are no comments, including instructors who grade assignments, if there are no comments.
Students need to ensure that they include comments in their code in order to prevent making this error. They have the ability to include comments that explain what the code is doing, how it operates, as well as any assumptions or limitations. In addition, while they are writing the code, they can make use of comments to document their thought process and any decisions that they make.


Failing to include comments in their code is another common mistake that students make when working on computer science homework assignments. Comments are lines of text that are added to the code to provide an explanation of what the code is doing, how it works, and why certain decisions were made. When students fail to include comments, it can make it difficult for instructors to understand their code and evaluate it accurately.
In the example of the program that converts temperatures from Celsius to Fahrenheit, if the student has not included any comments, the instructor may have trouble understanding the purpose of each line of code and how it contributes to the overall program. The instructor may also be unclear about any assumptions the student made while writing the code, which could affect their grading of the assignment.

Copying Code

Last but not least, one of the most serious errors that students can make is copying code from other sources without giving credit where credit is due. This not only violates the policies regarding academic integrity, but it is also unethical. As a result, there may be serious repercussions, such as failing the assignment or even the entire course.
Students can avoid making this mistake by ensuring that they write their own code from scratch or by using code from reputable sources while giving proper attribution to the original author. They should also be aware of plagiarism and the various ways to avoid committing it, such as by paraphrasing information and citing their sources.

Testing Code

Students frequently neglect a very important step in the process of completing their homework, which is testing code. When their code does not produce the outcomes that were anticipated, many students experience a great deal of frustration, as they have incorrectly assumed that their code will function flawlessly and have not tested it.
Before turning in their code, students should carefully test it to ensure it does not contain errors like this one. They can accomplish this by executing the code with a variety of parameters and determining whether or not the results match the anticipated outcomes. They should also make an effort to foresee any edge cases or corner cases that could result in the code failing, and they should test those cases as well.


When it comes to completing homework in computer science, collaboration can be an extremely helpful tool; however, if it is not executed correctly, it can also lead to errors. Students should be aware of the potential benefits as well as the potential drawbacks of working together on homework assignments. Students may be tempted to work together on their homework assignments.
Students need to make sure that they are working together in a constructive and respectful manner in order to reduce the likelihood of making mistakes while collaborating. They need to make sure that everyone in the group is aware of the issue as well as their part in resolving it, and they should communicate openly and frequently with one another. In addition to this, they need to make sure to properly credit any sources or collaborators they use.

Using the Right Tools

One of the most important aspects of avoiding common mistakes in computer science homework is making sure you are using the appropriate tools. However, students should remember that not all tools are created equal and should avoid the temptation to use the first tool that they find.
Students need to conduct research and make an informed decision about the various tools available to them before selecting one. They need to think about things like how simple it is to use, whether or not it is compatible with the programming language they use, and whether or not it has tools for testing and debugging. Additionally, they need to ensure that they are using the tools appropriately by reading the documentation and going through the tutorials to guarantee that they are utilizing the tool to its utmost capacity.
Students can develop the skills and routines necessary for future success in their careers by keeping these additional considerations in mind while working on their computer science homework, which will help them avoid making mistakes that are common among their peers.


In conclusion, doing homework in computer science can be difficult, but if students are careful to avoid making certain mistakes, they can make the process more manageable and improve the quality of their work. They need to take the time to fully comprehend the issue at hand, make an efficient plan for their time, test their code, make use of comments, and stay away from copying other people's code. In addition, in order to avoid making any further errors, they need to keep in mind to test their code, effectively collaborate with one another, and make use of the appropriate tools.
Students have the opportunity to not only improve their grades but also lay the groundwork for prosperous careers in the technology sector if they cultivate positive routines and acquire valuable skills while working on their computer science homework. They will acquire the essential skills necessary for success in the field, such as critical thinking, creative problem solving, and working well with others, which will be taught to them.

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