Stupid Questions, In Order of Increasing Stupidity,
and Their Stupid Answers

"Is the final exam cumulative?"
Of course! The course material is cumulative. If you forget everything you learned before the last midterm, or even just the stuff you learned before the course started, you will not be able to solve any of the problems on the final. If you've taken a single course at UIUC where this was not true, you should sue your instructor!

"Will this be on the exam?" (in the middle of a lecture)
Since I haven't written the exam yet, I have no idea. But now that you mention it, this would make a good final exam question. Hmmm...

"What do I have to get on the final exam to get an A/B/C/D in the course?"
I don't know. Do your best. Your grade will take care of itself.

"What's the answer to this problem?" (referring to a homework problem that's due in a week)
I'm not going to tell you! Why don't you go think about it for a while?

"What's the answer to this problem?" (referring to a homework problem that's due later today)
Just write "zero".

"Can I please get some (more) partial credit?"

"Can't you just let me pass?"


"Oh, come on. Other professors have done it. Why can't you?"
I don't believe you. Please tell me their names so I can make sure they get fired.

Believe it or not, the last four questions are direct quotes from a conversation I overheard between a failing CS373 student and Prof. Ed Reingold, immediately before Reingold was supposed to teach a class. The student repeated his last two questions, and Reingold repeated his answers, each time with increasing volume and vehemence, for ten full minutes. Reingold was five minutes late to class. Needless to say, the student did not pass.

Jeff Erickson ([email protected]) 04 Sep 2001