Office Hours

Most CS classes will have office hours where you can get assistance with your coursework, or have broader-ranging conversations about the material covered in the class. In this page, we provide a few tips on how to get the most out of office hours.

  • First and foremost, some words of encouragement. Know that the course staff is there to help you, and they cannot help you if you do not ask questions. Quite simply, the point is to learn, not to know everything already.

  • Sometimes, office hours are run as a sort of “Q&A session” where multiple students are in the room at the same time, and an instructor or TA takes questions from the students. In these kind of office hours, chances are someone else has a similar question to the one you want to ask. In attending office hours, you may get an answer to your question without having to ask it yourself.

  • Prepare questions ahead of time. Time in office hours can be limited–particularly near assignments deadlines and exams–and so knowing what you need help with beforehand will let you make the most of your time.

  • Make a list of known unknowns. Along the lines of the previous point, knowing what you do not fully understand is a time saver.

  • When formulating your questions try to make them specific and clear. The course staff cannot help you if they do not understand your question.

  • On days when there are not a lot of pressing questions during office hours, you can just talk to the course staff and faculty about what you find interesting about the material. It can be outside the scope of what was covered in class.