There should be an Activity & Effort Statement at the
beginning of each problem saying:
"I spent approximately <#> hours and <#> minutes
working on this problem, and I worked on this problem
...in collaboration with: [fellow students],
...with help from: [people other than course staff],
...using the sources: [texts and/or material not from this term or last term].''
The grades for a problem will not be approved until its
activity statement is submitted.
Collaborators must write solutions in their own
words by themselves.
Helping a classmate with a solution, or
letting a classmate look at your
solutions counts as an activity that
requires citation, even if you received no reciprocal help. If you
helped someone after submitting your own activity statement, notify
your coach and email
You don't get into MIT by cheating methodically, and few students,
if any, would think cheating was OK. But under the pressure of
multiple deadlines and perceived overload, students will sometimes
copy solutions. Pset solutions are often easy to find on the web --
or from a collaborator -- which increases the temptation to copy
and/or to "forget" to cite a source or collaborator that provided the
Resist the temptation to copy!
- Graders can often spot copied pset solns.
- The staff has other means of detecting plagiarized
Even if you found a problem solution somewhere, you can still get
You can also get a lot of credit for
- describing the specific difficulty that led you to
search for a posted solution
- further explaining what you
have learned from the solution you found.
- a thoughtful critique
and/or suggestions for how to improve a solution you found.
You won't get any credit simply for copying, but as long as
you give an accurate citation of the
source of a solution you found, you will not be subject to any
The first-time penalty for an inaccurate collaboration statement on
a submitted problem solution will be denial of credit for
the entire pset.
Late submissions will not be accepted once the solutions are
posted. Note that solutions are generally posted promptly after the
time problems are due.
Concerns about Specific Grades
For specific concerns about how a pset or exam problem was graded,
students should go first to their Team Coach. If the Coach is
confident about a regrade, they can change the grade. If a
student's concerns are not resolved by their Coach, they may
appeal to a class session supervisor right after class, or send
Notes on Proofs in General
Proofs must be clear enough for graders to understand without undue
effort. A poorly written proof, even if ultimately `correct,'
will lose points.
You may assume basic results from high school math and calculus,
but you should explicitly mention any nontrivial assumptions.
Generally, a set of equations alone is not enough for a clear solution
-- at least brief explanations in words are usually needed. When a
problem asks for the use of a certain method (say, Well Ordering),
proofs that use other methods will lose points.
When there is a template for proof organization (as there are for
proof by cases, contradiction, well ordering and induction, for
instance), try to follow it, at least for the first few weeks of