Frequently Asked Questions

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Should I take the subject this semester?

  • 6.034 is no longer offered in the Spring Semester.
  • In 2013, the fall version will again feature What I am Doing Now talks, by prominent MIT faculty and staff, that will complement Professor Winston's lectures.
  • 2014 is way off the end of our planning horizon, so the 2014 version of the subject may be the same, similar, or completely different.


Should I buy a book?

No. All the reading material you need will be online at zero cost. See the references page.

Am I expected to attend lectures, tutorials, and the What I am Doing Now talks?

Yes. We believe that the lectures, tutorials, and talks are all an important part of the MIT experience, and we work hard to make them interesting and useful. When we develop the quizzes, we will include material that is presented only in lectures and talks.


Element Purpose
Lectures To introduce most of the material and provide the big picture. We often include questions on the quizzes and final that you can answer only by faithful lecture attendance.
Talks To see what's happening in today's research projects in talks that complement the material presented in lectures.
Tutorials To get help with the homework, review lecture material, work through practice problems, and have additional opportunities to ask questions and engage in discussion in a small venue.


What about laptops, tablet computers, cell phones, and newspapers?

Put them away. Using a computer or cell phone or reading a newspaper insults instructors, which lowers the quality of teaching, which means that your classmates are getting less than they would if you were not there.

Accordingly, we do not teach when computers or cell phones are in use or newspapers are being read. There is an alternative to 6.034 that satisfies the same requirement; check with the instructor for the rules of engagement in that subject.

Do I have to take the final?

You need not take the final if you are happy with the grade you will get based on the quizzes. If you take the final, your grade may go up, but cannot go down.

What can I bring to the quizzes and the final?

You are allowed to bring any printed material you want (books, notes, problem sets and solutions, previous quizzes, etc).

You are allowed to bring tools such as calculators, clocks, rulers, slide rules, telescopes, etc.

You may wear a costume.

You are NOT allowed to bring cell phones, computers, iPads, etc (even if you turn off the wireless).

How do I get my quiz back?

Quizzes are handed back in the next tutorial. If you choose not to go to tutorials, you have to pick up your quiz in Patrick Winston's office, 32-251. Except under special circumstances (right before drop date, right before the final, or if you are physically unable to pick up your quiz), we will not give out quiz grades over email.

Can I collaborate with friends on the homework?

See grading policy.

What is the final grade distribution likely to be?

See grading policy.

What if I'm sick or have a conflict with a quiz?

See grading policy.

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