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Developing Sensible Algorithms

Devising algorithms or code for even the simplest of situations has posed a serious challenge to the CAPE Computer Science students sitting the UNIT 1 exams, reports CXC. Students seem to have not fully acquired or have not yet owned the necessary skills required to comprehend the question or to devise an appropriate solution to the problem.

"To successfully develop an algorithm, one must first understand that algorithms are logically sequenced instructions. To start off with, the inputs, processes and outputs must first be identified. This can be done with the aid of an Input-Processing-Output (IPO) chart. Next, the appropriate control structures are identified. All algorithms will require the sequencing structure. Some algorithms will require the selection structure if there are criteria [which] that data needs to meet AND/OR one of the iteration structures if a set of commands needs to be executed more than once.

After the identification of the different constructs, you are ready to write the algorithm. Choose a structured representation (Pseudocode, narrative or flow chart) and commence writing. Remember to always start your algorithms with the keyword ‘START’ or ‘BEGIN’ and terminate it with ‘STOP’ or ‘END’. After your START keyword, declare all the variables you intend to use, and initialize any variables that will be used to store the results of calculation to zero (0). Referring to the IPO chart and control structures identified, commence writing the commands as they would most logically be carried out."

West, J. L. (2013). Computer Science for CAPE Examinations: UNIT 1. Developing Algorithms, 100-101

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