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I have wrestled with my thoughts before bringing this one to the attention of the Perlmonks community, however you guys are the best people I know to ask. This is, I hasten to add, a not-strictly-Perl-related node but pray, forgive me for my presumption.

I received some shocking news today: I have an on-paper coding exam sometime in the next two months.

My first response was: "Whoopeeee! Easy credit!" Mainly because I am on a chemistry course where at least half of the students couldn't code their way out of a for/next loop - and this is me talking here: I rank Perl adept on a good day. I then realised the stark truth that this is not an exam in Perl but in, gasps, Matlab.

I could go on about how Matlab sucks. How Matlab doesn't have nice 'n' nauseating functions like foreach and one of my recent favourites, map. I could also tell you that we only do Matlab because the guy who teaches us helped specify/review/write it but all of this is, well, academic.

What I really want to know is how to prepare for a coding exam (on paper) as opposed to an exam in any other subject. Are there any special techniques to use to analyse the questions? Should I learn specific routines which do neat stuff off by heart in case they come up? Will I get credit for giving answers in Matlab, Perl and badly-written C or will the teacher just downgrade me for being a smartarse? just kidding

Give me the benefit of the combined years of Computer Science and Software Engineering degrees that are surely present here on Perlmonks. How do I go about this? All advice; perceived, imagined or merely sarcastic is welcome!

Many thanks, Elgon

UPDATE: Wow. Thanks for the response, and there I was querying tilly if this was suitable for posting. The level of this exam shouldn't be quite as high as many of the respondants have expected (I hope!) but all the advice is useful, muchas gracias. Elgon

UPDATE2: MUCH LATER: Okay, I've got the exam tomorrow. Thanks for all the help, assuming anyone is going to read this ;-)

In reply to Meditations on the Nature of Code Exams by Elgon

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