This page contains tips and information about the many resources we provide for you to get help in the class when you need it. Maybe you have forgotten some of these after taking 142 or maybe you didn’t take 142 at all, but all of these resources can be helpful for you!

Course Staff

The course staff is here to help you! We are always happy to help explain concepts or answer questions about the course. Here are some ways that you can get help from a member of the course staff:

Introductory Programming Lab (IPL)

Here are some good ways of using the IPL

  • We highly recommend having a TA teach you how to use the debugger tool in your IDE here. It is invaluable when we start dealing with more complex data structures like linked lists and binary trees. One of the largest keys to mastering the class material is being able to visualize all the data structures, and jGRASPs debugging tool is prime for this.
  • If you find a section problem related to the homework material that you are unable to figure out on your own, this is a great thing to work with a TA on in great detail.
  • Asking the TA to give you a mini-lecture on a concept or example you didn’t quite get from lecture/section. This is another area where TAs will talk as in depth as the want about the material.
  • Here are a couple examples of good IPL Questions:
    • “My code isn’t working. Can you show me how to use the debugger so I can figure this out?”
    • “I was debugging my code and for some reason even though I returned the variable from my helper method, the value wasn’t updated in main. Do you know why that is?”
    • “I don’t understand what Hunter meant when he said X is bad style. Can you explain?”

Here are some unproductive ways of using the IPL

  • Expecting the TA to point out exactly which lines of code are broken and/or how. The TAs are happy to show you debugging strategies and help you step through your code, but you should be deciding what changes to make.
  • Asking a TA whether or not something will lose style points. TAs will not pre-grade your assignment. You can ask general style questions and discuss pros and cons of a certain approach, but how you solve the problem is ultimately your decision.
  • Here are a couple examples of unproductive IPL Questions:
    • “My code is broken. Please tell me the line of code I have to change to make it work.”
    • “Will doing X on my assignment earn a lower mark?”

Ed Discussion Board

This is where you can ask more specific questions about the homework spec or when the IPL is closed. Other students, TAs, and Hunter monitor this board so you can potentially get help more quickly this way. Please see Getting Help for more info!

Guides for Take-Home Assessments

On the Take-Home Assessments page, there are many links to useful guides and other resources to help you on your homework. Some things to note: CSE 143 Code Quality Guide, CSE 143 Commenting Guide, and the Output Comparison Tool.


There are various tools provided to help you succeed in the course. We find that the students who succeed in 143 are the ones that use these tools regularly throughout the quarter.

Output Comparison Tool

The Output Comparison Tool is where you can check if the output of your program is performing as expected. Because we provide this tool, we expect that your output matches exactly with ours. This will be much more useful for debugging than the test output on Ed.

Note: Getting everything correct on the Output Comparison Tool does not guarantee any particular mark for the Behavior.


PracticeIt! is an archive of a couple thousand practice problems and exam problems so you can review concepts and make sure you have them down. You get immediate feedback, which is really nice. Hunter will post links on the course calendar to PracticeIt! problems he thinks are a good way for you to gauge if you understand the material from that lecture.