Final Exam Information

Written by Nick Troccoli, based on documents by Julie Zelenski, Marty Stepp and others


Wednesday, June 12th, 12:15-3:15pm



Please check back closer to the midterm exam, when more information and practice materials will be posted.


The final exam will be held our registrar-scheduled exam time: Wednesday, June 12, 12:15-3:15pm. For the final exam, there will be no alternate time, except for those with relevant official university athletics or Office of Accessible Education accommodations, so please make sure that you can attend the final exam at the specified time before enrolling in the class.

The exams are designed to assess your mastery of the course learning objectives, with a particular emphasis on material that was prominent in the lectures, assignments and labs.

The exam is closed-book. You may bring a double-sided US-Letter-sized (8.5"x11") page of your own prepared notes. The exam will include a reference sheet of essential details such as prototypes for standard library functions (e.g., strcpy, strlen, malloc), as well as an additional reference sheet with the common x86-64 assembly instructions.

You will take your exam electronically, using our custom BlueBook exam software, which you can run on your computer if you have one. If you do not have access to a laptop for the exam that can run BlueBook, please contact the course staff. You cannot access notes, run other applications, use the Internet, nor use any other electronic devices during the exam.

Material Covered

The final is intended to assess your understanding of the content covered throughout the course. The priority is on material that figured prominently in the assignments, labs, lecture, and reading (this list is in order of decreasing emphasis). The topic coverage for the final exam will be comprehensive and span the entire quarter, but expect more emphasis on material covered after the midterm (i.e. >= lab5 and assign5).

We highly recommend revisiting the labs and assignments. Each of them contain post-task self-check questions at the end that you can use to review. The K&R and B&O textbooks also contain many exercises if you want additional problems to work.

We'd love to see the Piazza forum come alive in helping everyone do their best on the exam – this is a great place to ask and answer unresolved questions, discuss conceptual issues, share techniques and materials you are finding useful as preparation, and support and encourage each other.

Topics Summary

Check your rear-view mirror for the very impressive list of things you've learned in 107!

  • All about C and memory: C—strings, arrays, pointers, void*, pointer arithmetic, typecasts, function pointers, generics, stack and heap
  • Data representation: bits, bytes, ASCII, two's complement integers, floating point, pointers, aggregate types (arrays and structs)
  • x86-64 assembly: data access and addressing modes, arithmetic and logical ops, implementation of C control structures, call/return
  • Address space: layout and purpose of text/data/stack/heap segments, handling of different variable scopes/types
  • Runtime stack: caller/callee protocol, parameter passing, use of registers
  • Memory and heap: stack versus heap allocation, heap allocator strategies and tradeoffs
  • Performance: compiler optimizations, profiling

What To Bring

The exam is on your computer. You should bring:

  • Your laptop and charger
  • The device you use for two-step authentication (to submit the exam)
  • your double-sided page of notes
  • A power strip/extension cord (optional, but recommended if you have access to one)


  • The Honor Code: the exam is to be completed individually and without any assistance from a partner or other students. Follow the Stanford Honor Code (see link on main course homepage) during the exam: submit only your own work, do not use unpermitted aids on the exam (see below for permitted aids), and say something to the instructors or students in question to prevent any inappropriate activity conducted by others surrounding the exam.

  • Permitted Materials: During the exam, you may use/reference:

    • a double-sided US-Letter-sized (8.5"x11") page of your own prepared notes.

    • a provided reference page of essential details such as prototypes for standard library functions (e.g., strcpy, strlen, malloc). This is included in the BlueBook exam.

    • a provided reference page of common x86-64 assembly instructions. This is included in the BlueBook exam.

    You are not permitted to use any other materials, such as printouts (notes, slides, code, practice exams, etc.), other textbooks, or electronic devices (iPads, Kindles, calculators, music players, etc.).

  • Grading: For coding questions, the majority of the points are typically focused on the correctness of the code. However, there may be deductions for code that is extremely roundabout/awkward/inefficient when more appropriate alternatives exist. We will reward the simple, direct approach for its good design decisions and such code will likely have fewer correctness issues, so the choice of appropriate design can have a large impact. For example, we expect you to leverage appropriate features from the standard libraries; re-implementing that functionality wastes your valuable time and introduces opportunity for error.

    Note that certain problems may have certain constraints (such as only using certain material, etc.) that you must follow to earn full credit. We reserve the right to deduct points for extremely inelegant or inefficient code that dodges the spirit of the problem.

    You are not required to write #include statements on the exam. Please do not abbreviate any code on the exam (such as writing "x2" next to code to copy it twice). Abbreviated code will not be graded.

    Pseudo-code (writing English sentences and phrases instead of code) will typically earn little to no points. For example, writing "In this part of the code, I want to open the file and read each line and print it" will not earn any points.

    You should include your answer, as well as any scratchwork, in the text area for each problem. An answer to a problem not in the designated answer pages for that problem will not receive any credit.

    Unless otherwise specified, it is fine to write helper functions to implement the required behavior.