Spring 2020 CS186 at UC Berkeley

Midterm 2

Thursday, April 16, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM (PDT)

For your benefit and ours, please read this page in its entirety. Every section has clarifications applying to all students.


Midterm 2 will be released on Gradescope from 6 - 7:10 p.m. PDT on Thursday, April 16.

Only during this ~1-hour window will you be able to start and then complete the 2-hour exam.

If you have a conflict with this time (class, exam, timezone doesn't work, etc.) and have not already done so, please email cs186berkeley.issues@gmail.com to request to take the alternate exam with an explanation of your exception. We are planning to have the alternate window from 6-7:10am PDT on Friday, April 17.

The exam will be mostly multiple-choice, true/false, and numerical fill-in-the-blank answers similar to Midterm 1 and exams in the last few semesters.

However, we will be adding a required field on some questions for students to show work or provide a brief explanation on how they arrived at their answer. Students can either enter text and/or math directly or upload a picture of their work. For these questions, work must be shown in order to receive credit.

We will soon release a short practice exam for students on Gradescope so they can familiarize themselves with this format. We will also attach a PDF copy of the exam at the beginning of the online exam, so students have the option of printing out the midterm and working on a physical copy. You may also upload pictures of your work on this physical copy.

There will be no Zoom or video proctoring for this exam.


The exam will focus on Modules 6 - 10. However, we will assume your familiarity with topics covered in Midterm 1.

  • Joins
  • Query Optimization
  • Parallel Query Processing
  • Transactions & Concurrency
  • Database Design

Allowed Materials

Midterm 2 will be open book, open notes, open internet, open calculator, and basically open everything else except open partner.

You must work individually on this exam and not collaborate with anyone.

We will be checking close similarities/exact answer matches as well as student-submitted work to detect dishonest collaboration. Students will be asked to sign an honor code on Gradescope to abide by these rules. The usual academic dishonesty guidelines and penalties still apply.


If you are not a DSP student or do not have exam accommodations and are taking the main exam, you will be required to only take the exam version on Gradescope titled "[MAIN] Midterm 2". Taking any other exam version will result in severe penalties.

If you are a DSP student with exam accommodations, you should have already received an email with your exam details. Please reach out to cs186berkeley.issues@gmail.com if you haven't.


There will be a live clarifications Piazza post which you can access during the exam for clarifications. Please turn on email notifications or refresh the page periodically to receive updates.

If you have a clarifying question during the online exam which needs to be addressed, you can submit a request on our office hours queue with a link to a Google Meet video call (https://meet.google.com/_meet) and a TA will answer your question.

As a backup option, you can also submit a private post on Piazza during the exam for clarifying questions. It is your responsibility to look at clarifications in the Piazza post during the exam.


There will be a virtual Midterm 2 review session a couple days before the exam. Please watch out for a post in Piazza.