Multi pass approach for studying to advanced operating systems midterm (fall 2020)

September 23, 2020 | minutes read

According to the omscentral reviews for the advanced operating systems course, the midterm exams are nearly identical to the previous semester’s exams and former students strongly suggest rote memorization as a the primary study method. In my opinion, these types of tests do not really serve as a great litmus test for evaluating a student’s understanding. Nonetheless, I’ll prepare for the exam by going over the material in three passes using space repetition1 and active recall and testing.

Pass One – Guess

Step through each question from Spring 2020 midterm, attempting to answer them myself without peeking at the answers. This helps me gauge my understanding, allowing me to honestly evaluate any gaps I need to fill.

Pass Two – Comparison against answer key

After pass one and attempting to answer the questions on my own, I will then compare my answers to the solution guide and reflect on what I got right and what I got wrong.

Pass Three – Spaced repetition

Anki screenshot – question 1a from midterm (advanced operating systems Spring 2020


After the first two passes, I’ll copy the questions (and their solutions) into my digital flash cards (i.e. Anki) and then start ramping up using spaced repetition.


  1. Studies show that spaced repetition and testing are scientifically proven to help knowledge acquisition:

I’m Matt Chung. I’m a software engineer, seasoned technology leader, and father currently based in Seattle and London. I love to share what I know. I write about topic developing scalable & fail-safe software running in the AWS cloud, digital organization as a mechanism for unlocking your creativity, and maximizing our full potentials with personal development habits.

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