muchen 牧辰

APSC 160 Final Review

Updated 2019-10-17


Variable: a name that stores a value

Expression: an operation on some variables

Assignment: giving a variable some values

Program: a collection of code that the computer executes

Function: reusable collection of code that can be called by some other code

Parameter: some data passed to the function

Symbolic Constants: constant, global values defined by #define

Blank Program

All programs written in APSC 160 follows this structure. Note to follow good coding practices.

/* Author:
 * Date:
 * Purpose: ...

#include <stdio.h>		// for input/output
#include <stdlib.h>

int main(void) {
    // your code

    system("pause");	// 'press any key to continue' prompt
    return 0;


Types are used to describe what kind of data is being used in the program. Some of the commonly used types in APSC 160 is as follows but not limited to:

Type Description Format specifier
int Integer (non fractional and signed) %d or %i
double Fractional number (same as float but uses double the bits) %lf
char Character %c

Some for special ones are:

Type Description Format specifier
char[] Character array %s
FILE * File pointer  

Important: for character array / strings, use double quotes: ""; for single characters, use single quotes: ''.

Math Expressions

Expression Syntax
\(A+B\) A + B
\(A-B\) A - B
\(A\times B\) A * B
\(A\div B\) A / B

Order of Operation

The order of operation follows standard math (PEDMAS); the order of operation can be specified using parenthesis () just like in Math.

Integer Division

A common mistake is to take two integers and divide them. While this works with most integers, note that the numbers after the decimal points are truncated meaning that 0.32 ends up being 0.

To fix this, use casting and evaluate the expression into another type such as double.


Put (double) in front of an expression or variable to evaluate that expression or variable as a double type. Of course, you could also use other types.


Code version 1 (incorrect):

int x = 5;
int y = 7;
double z = (double) (x / 7); // !!! x/7 is integer division - which happened first

Code version 2 (corrected):

int x = 5;
int y = 7;
double z = (double) x / 7;

Input / Output

For input from user and output to the screen we use printf and scanf functions. For file IO, refer to File IO.

Because of some reasons in Visual Studio, it is required to prepend #define _CRT_SECURE_NO_WARNINGS at the beginning of all the program in order to use scanf. But this is not necessary on an exam.


Use printf() to output lines onto the screen. The printf function takes a string as the first parameter. This string needs to include what to display, and format specifiers. The rest of the parameters “fills-in” for the format specifier.


printf("Hello %s, the temperature is %d%c with %f percent chance of rain", "Muchen", 13, 'C', 30.5);


Hello Muchen, the temperature is 13C with 30.5 percent chance of rain
More Specific Format Specifier

Usually, the function call printf("%f", 3.5) will output 3.500000 all with the character 3 starting from the left.

Specifier Description
%.3f Round to 3 decimal places
%7.3f Use total of 7 field widths and round to 3 decimal places
%+f Show sign in front of the number, regardless of negative or positive
%-f Left align the number


Use scanf() to take user input. The format specifier has the same usage as printf. The parameter format is identical to printf except that a & is required in front of every variable.


int age;
scanf('Enter your age: %d', &age);


Logical Expressions

Expression Meaning Syntax
A and B A and B both must be true for the outcome to be true A && B
A or B either A or B can be true for the outcome to be true A || B
not A A must be false for the outcome to be true !A
A is B value of A equals to value of B A == B
A is not B value of A does not equal to value of B A != B
A is less than B value of A is strictly less than the value of B A < B
A is less than or equal to B value of A is less than or equal to the value of B A <= B


To have conditional part of the program execute, we need branching. This can be done using if/else if/else.


if (x > 10) {
} else if (x < -10) {
} else {

The first if tests if the condition specified is true. If so, it will execute printf("yes"); and the rest of the code is ignored.

If it is not true, the else if statement checks if the condition specified for that is true. If true, printf("no") is executed and the rest is ignored.

If all conditions is false, whatever that follows else is executed.


While Loop

A while loop should be used when we want to loop based on a condition.


while (x > 5) {
     // do something here

The code inside the while loop will keep executing as long as x > 5. So it is important to make sure we don’t end up with an infinite loop.

Note: break can be used inside the loop anywhere to terminate the innermost loop.

Do While Loop

This is very similar to the while loop except that it will execute the code that’s inside the loop first before deciding whether or not to loop. The syntax is as follows.


do {
     // some code
} (while x > 5)

Note that the output for this example would be different from previous example.

The do-while loop can sometimes come in handy.

For Loop

Use this if the number of iteration is known. For-loops are generally useful when dealing with arrays. To set up a for-loop, we need to specify three things:

  1. Initial conditions
  2. Looping conditions
  3. Increment / post

The syntax goes like this (notice the semicolon ;):

for (/* initial */; /* loop condition */; /* increment */)
    /* Code to loop here */


int apples = 10;
for (int i = 0; i < apples; i++) {
 // do something here

When we first enter the for-loop, we define a new variable i and set it to 0. This variable can only be used inside this for-loop. Next, we check if i < apples, like a while-loop, as long as this condition is true, we will keep looping. Lastly, i++ increments i after each loop.

File IO

This is the same as regular IO, except dealing with files.

A standard program with File IO might look like this:

#include <stdio.h>

#define FILE_NAME "somefile.txt"

int main(void) {
    FILE* file;

    file = fopen(FILE_NAME, "r");

    if (file == NULL) {
        // error
    } else {
        // do some file stuff

There are several things to point out:

File Output

File output uses the function fprintf and it is very straightforward. It is the exact same as printf except with an extra parameter at the beginning that takes in the file pointer.

File Input

Use fscanf to read from file. The syntax is the same as scanf except that there is an extra parameter at the beginning that takes the file pointer.


// assume file opened with file pointer 'file'
int sum = 0;
while (fscanf(file, "%d", &number) == 1) {
    sum += number;

This code snippet would go into the do some file stuff stuff from previous example.

Function fscanf returns the number of elements read. If it returns 0 when we expect something, then either the format specifier is wrong, the file has wrong data, or we have reached the end of the file. Hence the while loop.


Functions help reduce repetition in code by wrapping a sequence of code. Functions take in parameters from the caller, and output values using return values.