24wi ver.

Note: this is for the Winter 2024 iteration of CSE 121. Looking for a different quarter? Please visit https://courses.cs.washington.edu/courses/cse121/.

There will be one in-person, timed exam in CSE 121 this quarter. The exam will be on the following date

  • Final: Tuesday, March 12th, 12:30-2:20 PM.

Exam Rules and Information

Seating assignments


The following points outline the rules and expectations that we will use during the final exam.

  • Masks are optional during the exam for students and staff.
  • You will have an assigned seat and you must sit in that seat. If you arrive for the exam and find someone else in your seat, ask them to move because we will move students to their assigned seats. We will take pictures of the room to help us verify that students sit in their assigned seats (please contact us if you have a concern about this). Students are expected to make a reasonable effort to sit in their assigned seat. Students who demonstrate an egregious disregard for the seating assignments will receive a penalty to their grade (e.g., if a student goes to the wrong room or refuses to move when asked to).
  • We may ask to check your UW ID card during the exam so please have it ready.
  • You will have 110 minutes to complete the exam. We will distribute the exam early and you can read and fill out the cover page of the exam, but you should not look at the exam questions until you are told to begin. At the end when time is called, you are required to stop writing and close your exam. Students who look at the exam before being told to begin and students who make changes to their exam after time is called will receive Us on the exam as penalty. Students who do not close their exam booklet when time is called may also receive this Us penalty.
  • You must work alone and may not use any computing devices of any kind including calculators or digital copies of the textbook. Cell phones, music players, smart watches, and other electronic devices may NOT be out during the exam for any reason.
  • You are allowed to bring one sheet of paper, no larger than 8.5 x 11 inches with your own notes for reference. You may use both front and back sides and it may be handwritten or typed.
  • There will also be a provided reference sheet written by us for the exam. This provided reference sheet will be posted on this website sometime before finals week so you know which information you do not need to include on your own reference sheet.
  • Please be quiet during the exam. If you have a question or need assistance, please raise your hand.
  • When you have finished the exam, please turn in your exam quietly and leave the room.
  • You should not leave the exam room in the last 5 minutes of the testing period to avoid disruption during the final moments of the exam.
  • If you are sick, you should not attend the exam. You will need to contact Elba and Matt before the exam begins to arrange an accommodation for a make-up exam due to sickness. You do not need to provide medical documentation or proof of a positive test. If you’re sick, you need to stay home.


The following policies concern the expectations and requirements of the answers you write on the exam.

  • The exam will be conducted on paper. All answers must be written legibly and in the provided booklet. If an answer cannot easily be read or found, it will not receive credit.
  • You will need to bring your own writing implement to the exam. Responses must be written in pencil, blue ink, or black ink.
    • You may use other colors or writing implements (e.g. highlighters) to make notes, but your responses must be written in pencil, blue ink, or black ink.
  • Space will be provided for your answers. If you need additional scratch paper, raise your hand and a TA will give it to you. You are not allowed to use your own paper during the exam outside of your single reference sheet (see above).
  • Please be sure that the answer you want graded is clearly indicated. This is particularly important if you provide more than one answer or if you have notes in addition to your final answer. You can draw a box or circle around the answer you want graded, and you can draw an “X” through anything that you do not want to have graded. When in doubt, we will grade the first response written in the indicated space.
  • Answers must be written as proper Java code—we will not grade pseudocode (i.e., an English explanation instead of code) or comments.
  • While writing code on something other than a computer is not a common experience, it is still important that you express your ideas unambiguously with correct Java code. Obviously without a run button, things like syntax errors are harder to spot. Something like a minor syntax error will not necessarily lead to a reduced grade. However, responses that do not use proper syntax will have to rely on the grader’s interpretation of what the response is saying. To ensure that the grader’s interpretation of your response matches what you intended, take extra care to write as syntactically correct a response as possible.
  • Unless a coding question specifically mentions otherwise, the code you write will be graded purely on external correctness (proper behavior and output) and not on internal correctness (code quality). So, for example, redundancy or lack of comments will not reduce your score.
  • Unless otherwise specified, you should write each solution as a public method. You may define helper methods as part of your solution.
  • You don’t need to write any import statements in your exam code.
  • You may not use extraneous material to solve exam problems. In general, you are restricted to the classes and methods listed on the provided reference sheet. You are not allowed to use break, continue, a return from a void method, try/catch, or Java 8 features.
  • For standard Java classes such as Math and String, you are limited to the methods listed on the cheat sheet. You are not allowed to use the Arrays or Collections classes or other standard classes and methods that aren’t included on the cheat sheet.
  • For standard Java classes such as Math, Random, Scanner, Arrays, and String, you are limited to the methods listed on the provided reference sheet. You may not use the Collections class or other standard classes and methods that aren’t included on the provided reference sheet.
  • You do not need to turn in scratch paper unless you have all or part of an answer on that sheet of paper (you can take the other sheets of paper with you). If you have a sheet of paper with all or part of an answer, please write your name on that sheet of paper, staple the entire sheet to the end of your test (not in the middle) with a single staple in the upper-left corner, and clearly indicate under the corresponding problem that your answer is attached on an extra sheet of paper. A stapler will be available.
  • UPDATE: You are also allowed to abbreviate “System.out.print” as “S.o.p” and “System.out.println” as “S.o.pln”, but you should otherwise NOT use any abbreviations on the exam.

Exam Content

There will be 6 questions on the exam. Each of the 6 questions will be marked with one ESN grade, meaning you will receive 6 ESN marks for the entire final exam. Some questions may have sub-parts, but they will all be clearly marked as part of the same question.

The exam will focus on the following topics:

  • Console output (System.out.println and System.out.print)
  • Variables, datatypes, expressions
  • Control structures: methods, loops, conditionals
  • Random number generation (using Random)
  • Parameters and return values
  • User input (using Scanner)
  • Arrays, 2D arrays

The following topics are guaranteed to not be on the exam

  • Turtles

Exam Resources

  • Final Exam Resouce Bank - start here! A list of exam preparation materials and links to lessons and practice problems for the items on the final.
  • A reference sheet will be provided as the last page of the exam. In general, you are only allowed to use methods and classes shown on the provided reference sheet on the exam.
  • Past exams:
    • We strongly suggest that you try to solve all of these problems yourself, on paper, without a computer, and without looking at the answer key until you’re done. A very important skill to doing well on the test is being able to look at your solution and figure out if it works without relying on a computer or the answer key since you will have neither of those available during the test.
    • CSE 121 Autumn 23 Final Exam (Solution)
      • three of our lovely TAs (thank you Trey, Hannah, and Nicole!) made an annotated set of solutions for this final! Scanned PDFs are available.
    • CSE 121 Winter 23 Final Exam (Solution)
      • NOTE: In Winter 2023 we covered File I/O, but did not cover 2D arrays, so there is a difference in topic coverage between this exam and what will be covered this quarter.
      • Hannah (one of your lovely TAs!) has made a set of practice notes for this final!
  • Final Review Session on Monday, March 11th at 4:30pm-6:50pm in SMI 120
    • more info (and recordings) coming soon!
  • Other general practice materials:
    • Past quizzes: The quiz questions we have been using this quarter are designed for our course. These are great examples of the format and concepts we will ask on the exam.
    • Past section materials: The section resources are great study problems for the exam content. In particular section 17 will be targeted for exam review.
    • Past lecture examples
    • PracticeIt!
      • Note: Practice-It! has many full exams from past courses, but these do not necessarily line up to our course content. Please take the practice exams there with a large grain of salt since they do not necessarily line up with the CSE 121 exam. If you are curious what is and will not be on the exam, re-read the section above.