What is ReactJS?
How important are programming tests?
The importance of the programming test will vary from place to place. Some employers, such as Amazon and Facebook, require a test as part of their process for screening new candidates. Others request a test at the end of bootcamp classes or intensive programs that are designed to teach you everything you need to know about coding. There’s also an entirely different breed of tests that are regularly offered by companies like CodeCademy and Hack Reactor: practice tests aimed at people who want to understand if they’d enjoy creating programs for a living. This blog post focuses on the test that you need to pass to get your foot in the door, whether that’s at a company or a programming bootcamp.
How do I prepare for a programming test?
Not all tests are created equal. The first thing you’ll want to check is how long your potential employer or bootcamp will allow you to study and practice before the actual test. Normally you’ll be allowed at least one week, but some give you as much as two months.
You’ll also want to familiarise yourself with the test format: do they get it right by giving you code or do they give you a sample problem to solve with the code provided, and then watch you work out what the right answer should be? In one case this blog post researched, they had each participant take a test at random and score it (let’s both call it 100%), then all participants were scored on their code. For the first group, there was an average score of 76%. In the second group, there was an average score of 77%. The difference is almost insignificant.
The most important thing to feel focused about when you’re preparing for a test is that you’re working on the right parts. If you spend your time learning how to write code to solve a problem, but then forget how to use it in the test itself, it’s going to be very challenging for you to accomplish your goals (believe me, I’ve been where this happened). Here are some tips to help you stay focused.
Objective questions are easier to answer than subjective questions:
What’s the difference? Subjective questions will ask you to score something and require you to use a “scale” or a 1-10 rating system to rate your answer. Objective questions will present a scenario that requires you to come up with some code or a series of steps, but they won’t tell you how many points each step is worth.
Generally, I’ll try to avoid subjective questions, but if you find yourself practicing them anyway, here are some tips:
Practice “thinking in code” before the test. This is a skill that can take time to learn, and you shouldn’t take too long at this part. You should aim to be able to write down the code for each question in less than one minute for each question. If it takes longer, then you’re not thinking about the problem enough. Your goal is to retain your speed from practice sessions. The only thing that should be different during the test is that you have to physically write down the code or steps instead of just writing them in your head.
If you’re struggling with a subjective question, ask yourself: what do I know about this right now? If you’re able to answer it, then great! You can score a point and move on. If you’re stuck, then you can write down a “0” and move on. The last thing you want to do is spend time thinking about something that will not be worth points.
If you’re having a hard time figuring out how to score a question, then there’s no shame in walking away and moving on. You can always come back later. In fact, I find that many times I’ll make a bad decision during a practice test, only to find out later that there was an easier answer which may have gotten me more points!
Try practicing for the online test on any trusted online testing platform. You can use Mercer Mettl to take part in a programming test. There you can practice a very good amount of important questions which are often asked in a test.