This book is for everyone who wants to learn basic data structures using C++ and Java without taking a formal course. It also serves as a supplemental classroom text. For the best results, start at the beginning and go straight through.
If you are confident about your basic knowledge of how computer memory is allocated and addressed, then skip the first two chapters, but take the quiz at the end of those chapters to see if you are actually ready to jump into data structures.
If you get 90 percent of the answers correct, youre ready. If you get 75 to 89 percent correct, skim through the text of Chapters 1 and 2. If you get less than 75 percent of the answers correct, then find a quiet place and begin reading Chapters 1 and 2. Doing so will get you in shape to tackle the rest of the chapters on data structures. In order to learn data structures, you must have some computer programming skillscomputer programming is the language used to create data structures. But dont be intimidated; none of the programming knowledge you need goes beyond basic programming in C++ and Java.
This book contains a lot of practice quizzes and exam questions, which are similar to the kind of questions used in a data structures course. You may and should refer to the chapter texts when taking them. When you think youre ready, take the quiz, write down your answers, and then give your list of answers to a friend. Have your friend tell you your score, but not which questions were wrong. Stay with one chapter until you pass the quiz. Youll find the answers in Appendix B.
There is a final exam in Appendix A, at the end of the book, with practical questions drawn from all chapters of this book. Take the exam when you have finished all the chapters and have completed all the quizzes. A satisfactory score is at least 75 percent correct answers. Have a friend tell you your score without letting you know which questions you missed on the exam.
We recommend that you spend an hour or two each day; expect to complete one chapter each week. Dont rush. Take it at a steady pace. Take time to absorb the material. Youll complete the course in a few months; then you can use this book as a comprehensive permanent reference.