Programming Principles (CSP1150)

Assignment Overview

You are required to design and implement a “Maths Test” program that generates and presents simple maths questions to the user for them to answer. Once the test has been completed, the program displays the user’s overall score/result.

The entirety of this program can be implemented in under 115 lines of code (although implementing optional additions may result in a longer program). This number is not a limit or a goal – it is simply provided to prompt you to ask your tutor for advice if your program significantly exceeds it.

The program welcomes the user and then prompts them to select a difficulty. The user first tried entering “easy” and was told it was an invalid choice. They enter “1” and the program confirms that they have selected Easy mode. The difficulty determines the number of questions, largest number used when generating a question, and the number of questions that the user can get wrong.

The program then generated 5 random questions (the last one being a challenge question with larger numbers) and presented them to the user, who answered 4 out of 5 of them correctly.

Finally, the program displayed the overall score and percentage and tells the user that they passed.



As emphasized by the case study of Module 5, it is important to take the time to properly design a solution before starting to write code. Hence, this assignment requires you to write and submit pseudocode of your program design as well as the code for the program. Furthermore, while your tutors are happy to provide help and feedback on your assignment work throughout the semester, they will expect you to be able to show your pseudocode and explain the design of your code.


You will gain a lot more benefit from pseudocode if you actually attempt it before trying to code your program – even if you just start with a rough draft to establish the overall program structure, and then revise and refine it as you work on the code. This back and forth cycle of designing and coding is completely normal and expected, particularly when you are new to programming. The requirements detailed on the following pages should give you a good idea of the structure of the program, allowing you to make a start on designing your solution in pseudocode.


See Reading 3.3 and the discussion board for further advice and tips regarding writing pseudocode. Write a separate section of pseudocode for each function you define in your program so that the pseudocode for the main part of your program is not cluttered with function definitions. Ensure that the pseudocode for each of your functions clearly describes the parameters that the function receives and what the function returns back to the program. Pseudocode for functions should be presented after the pseudocode for the main part of your program.


It may help to think of the pseudocode of your program as the content of a book, and the pseudocode of functions as its appendices: It should be possible to read and understand a book without necessarily reading the appendices, however, they are there for further reference if needed. Only one function is required in this assignment (detailed later in the assignment brief)


Program Requirements

In the following information, numbered points describe a core requirement of the program, and bullet points (in italics) are additional details, notes, and hints regarding the requirement. Ask your tutor if you do not understand the requirements or would like further information.


1. Print a welcome message, and then prompt the user to select a difficulty by entering 1, 2 or 3.


2. Use a loop to re-prompt the user until a valid response (1, 2 or 3) is entered. Once a difficulty has been selected, print a message confirming the selected difficulty and set variables as follows:

If “Easy” (1) was chosen… lives = 3, max_num = 10 and questions = 5

If “Medium” (2) was chosen… lives = 2, max_num = 25 and questions = 10

If “Hard” (3) was chosen… lives = 1, max_num = 50 and questions = 15

“lives” represents how many incorrect answers are permitted, “max_num” represents the largest number used when generating a question, and “questions” represents the number of questions.


3. Set a “score” variable to 0, and then enter a loop that repeats questions times.

“score” will be used to keep track of how many questions the user has answered correctly.


The body of this loop must…

3.1. Print which question the user is up to out of the total number of questions, as well as how many lives that have remaining, e.g. “Question 1 of 5. You have 2 lives remaining.”

3.2. If the current question is not the final question of the test, use the “ask_question” function (detailed below) to generate and administer a question involving numbers between 1 and max_num.

If the current question is the final question of the test, print “Challenge question!” and use the “ask_question” function to generate and administer a question involving numbers between max_num and max_num multiplied by 2.

e.g. The challenge question on Easy difficulty would use numbers between 10 and 20.

3.3. If the “ask_question” function returns a value of True, add one to the score variable. Otherwise, subtract 1 from the lives variable. If the lives variable is now 0, print “Out of lives, game over!” and immediately end the test (proceeding to Requirement 4).


4. Print a “test complete” message, followed by a message that displays the user’s score out of questions, and what percentage that represents, e.g. “You scored 3/5 (60%).”

Round the percentage value to the nearest whole number.


5. If the user obtained at least 50% in the test, print “You passed!”, otherwise print “You failed!”



The “ask_question” Function

There are two points in Requirement 3.2 where the program must generate and administer a question. This is a self-contained task consisting of a number of steps, with the only difference being the minimum and maximum numbers to use. As such, it is ideal to create a function for this task.


You must create a function named “ask_question” that receives two parameters:

“minimum”, an integer representing the smallest number to use in the question

“maximum”, an integer representing the largest number to use in the question


The function should generate two random integers between minimum and maximum, and then randomly select a mathematical operator of either '+' or '-'. It should use these values to display a question, e.g. “What is 4 + 5?”, and prompt the user for their answer.


If the user answers correctly, the function should print “Correct!” and return the boolean value of True. Otherwise, the function should print “Incorrect!” and the correct answer, and return False.


The code that you design and write to implement this function is up to you, but you may find it useful to use the following two functions:

The “random.randint()” function, to generate random numbers within a range

The “eval()” built-in function, to evaluate a string as a Python expression, e.g. If you have a string variable named “text” that contains '4 + 5', then “eval(text)” will return 9


The definition of the function should be at the start of the program, and it should be called where needed in the program. Revise Module 4 if you are uncertain about defining and using functions, and be sure to implement it so that it receives and returns values exactly as described above.

Ensure that the function does exactly what is specified above and nothing more – it is important to adhere to the stated specifications of a function.


Optional Additions and Enhancements

Below are some suggestions for minor additions and enhancements that you can make to the program to further test and demonstrate your programming ability. They are not required and you can earn full marks in the assignment without implementing them.


1. When prompting the user to choose a difficulty, make it so that the program accepts “1”, “e” or “easy” for Easy, “2”, “m” or “medium” for Medium, and “3”, “h” or “hard” for hard. A good approach is to convert the user’s input to lowercase, and use an “in” comparison to compare the user’s input to a tuple of options.


2. Make sure that the line of text shown before each question specifies “1 life remaining” rather than “1 lives remaining” if lives is 1. This can be implemented with a minimal amount of extra code by using a “shorthand if statement” – see Reading 2.3.


3. Put everything after the creation of the ask_question function into a loop so that the test can be run repeatedly without having to re-run the program. At the end of the test, ask the user whether they wish to start again and break out of the loop if they don’t.


4. Time how long it takes the user to answer each question. This can be achieved by importing the “time” module and using the “time.time()” function, which returns a float representing the current time in seconds. Get the time just before prompting the user to answer a question, and subtract it from the time just after you get the user’s input. Round the result to one decimal place and display it with the “correct/incorrect” message, e.g. “Correct! You answered in 2.1 seconds”.


5. Ensure that your program does not crash if the user enters something that is not an integer when prompted for an answer to a question. Instead, your program should show an “invalid input” message and prompt the user again until they enter something valid. This is best done using exception handling (Module 6), however, what you need to know is covered in Workshop 4 – create the input validation function and use it to prompt the user for input.


6. Rather than only awarding a Pass or Fail grade at the end of the program, award a range of grades from High Distinction to Fail. See Lecture 2 Slide 39 for an example/the thresholds.


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