Screen shot 2018 01 10 at 4.05.02 pm

CMSC 302 also known as Intro to Discrete Mathematics is one of the harder courses computer science students are required to take as part of their curriculum. It’s known to have tough material which, coupled with the minimal amount of graded assessments in the class, cause the course to be rather challenging. Below are 5 tips that can help you succeed in this challenging course.

1. Read the Textbook!


Now don’t just skim the textbook before the exam, truly read the textbook. You are allowed to use the textbook as a reference during all the exams so any extra highlighting you do can help you find the answer to that question on the test. Sometimes just pure memorization of where certain lessons are in the textbook can help more than attempting to memorize the lesson itself.

2. Do the Homework!

The homework that is posted for CMSC 302 can be some of the most helpful material for studying for exams. Homework assignments are not graded so it is your choice whether or not you complete them, but the chance of homework problems appearing on an exam is likely.

3. Youtube!


The lecture slides used in CMSC 302 have remained the same for years and can be convoluted and confusing. One of the greatest resources we have in this day and age is the internet. There are hundreds of YouTube videos on the exact same material covered in the class. You might not find it under “Intro to Discrete Structures” but a common alias for the course name is “Discrete Mathematics” where you will be able to find tutorial videos for all the lessons.

4. Read and Learn Ahead!

As the last tip said, the lecture slides used in CMSC 302 have remained the same for years and are all located online. Before your next lecture, read ahead and get a sense of what will be taught. You don’t need to become an expert in that lesson, but familiarity with terms and operations you gain by looking ahead can make understanding a lecture much easier!

5. Make a visit to the Tutors and TA!


The last tip for succeeding in CMSC 302 at VCU is to go see the tutors and TA’s before quizzes and exams! All the tutors offered are students who have been through CMSC 302 and have been successful in the course, so who better to ask for help to succeed than someone who has already done so? Also, the TA’s are a wonderful resource to look for help. The TA’s have the most information about what will be coming up in quizzes and exams and can help tremendously when studying.

CMSC 302 can be a very intimidating course from all the rumors floating around about its impossibility. But if you keep these 5 tips in mind, your likelihood to succeed will be much higher! Keep in mind your resources and surroundings and use them to your advantage!


Deniz Erdag

Deniz Erdag is a current Computer Science student as well as a Mathematics student at Virginia Commonwealth University. Currently a sophomore at VCU, he is on track to graduate with a masters in computer science in 2021 under the accelerated masters program.