Vocabulary You Need to Know

The following terms may be unfamiliar to you. Knowing these terms will help you understand and find academic support services at Binghamton University. If you have questions about any of these terms please write us at isss@binghamton.edu.


A senior student who helps a student understand the course material and assignments; and helps the student prepare for exams.

Teaching Assistant (TA)

A student who assists the professor to administer the course; supervises discussion sessions.

Office hours

Time set aside by the professor during the semester to meet with students; to answer questions regarding the course.


An exam or evaluation conducted in the middle of the semester; the mid-term is an important part of the student’s final grade.


Professor or experienced student who acts as an advisor to the student.


A specified date or time limit for projects, assignments, and homework to be handed in.

Incomplete (I)

An “I” is not a grade.   It indicates that a student has not completed the course work within the specified time. The student has a signed contract with the instructor to complete the work by a specific date. *

 If you do not complete a grade for an “incomplete” it will change to a “W”, indicating “course withdrawal”. This may cause you to be registered for a less than full-time course load. This would then be a visa status issue. 


Copying or using the writings and views of others as your own without proper citation.


A small enclosure or space in a library, designed for privacy in studying or reading Carrels are reserved for graduate students at Binghamton University.

Writing Class

It emphasizes all aspects of writing skills-structure, form, and substance of writing; and how to document via writing bibliography and references. Grading in a writing class is based on those academic skills in short, long essays and examination. 

Discussion Class

Based on assigned texts for the class, it emphasizes your reading and comprehension skills and your ability to discuss those texts in class. It develops oral and reading skills. Grading in a writing class is based on those academic skills via oral and reading of assigned texts and active class participation based on the assigned texts and relevant experiences and readings outside the texts.

Last Updated: 8/28/14