Short answer code questions coming soon!

Krista Wall (Microsoft)

We are proud to announce that short answer code questions will soon be available in an exam near you. Short answer code questions test your ability to write code that will solve the problem described in the question.

To answer, you will type the necessary code into a free text entry field. Your answer is scored by comparing it to a list of possible correct answers. (And yes, many SMEs were involved in developing and reviewing the list of correct answers.)

Here are some key features about this question type:

  • The question will specify any necessary information (e.g., table names, field names, variable names, etc.) needed to write the code.
  • You can check the syntax of your answer to ensure the syntax is correct—this does NOT check to see if your answer is correct, though. It simply checks that the syntax is correct.
  • Spelling matters, but if the misspelling is related to relevant names/words in the question, the syntax checker will highlight those errors as well. In other words, limited spell-checking is provided in addition to syntax checking.
  • Usually rely on IntelliSense when writing code? No worries! We are providing a list of key words that will include many commonly used commands that you might use when writing code. And, we’ll continue to work through how to make IntelliSense available during exams with these types of questions.

This new question type will come as no surprise to some of you. We talked about it at Microsoft Certified Career Conference in March and blogged about it last October. For those of you who completed the survey associated with that blog post, we sincerely appreciate your participation, because it helped us refine and improve our prototype for this question type. In addition, the subject matter experts who wrote the questions you’ll see on your exam provided additional feedback on how to make short answer code questions more real-world and relevant.

We believe that short answer code questions will help distinguish those who are truly fluent at writing code.  Candidates who attempt exams without these skills will have a hard time with these questions. Candidates who are qualified will find that these questions are a more real-world and rigorous evaluation of their skills.

Curious about what these questions will look like? Check out this screen shot. We’ll provide a demo for you to learn more at a later date. Stay tuned!

  • cheong00
    | |

    Nice to see this finally happens in the exams.

    It'd be even better if the question generator can randomize the field names be used in questions (for joins etc.) so people can't simply recite the answers.

  • Anonymous
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    Interesting.  I'm assuming that these will end up on the SQL and Developer exams, but might we see something similar with the IT Pro-type tracks for applications and platforms that use PowerShell?

  • Krista Wall (Microsoft)
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    @ OtherKevin: I agree, this item type could work to test PowerShell scripting skills also. It's a definite possibility, though we'll most likely focus on getting it into SQL and Developer exams first.

  • Anonymous
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    Sorry for the slight off-topic....  but is there any known timeline for the 468/469 exams as yet?

    7 exams is a bit difficult for me to find the time for if there's a 2-3 exam upgrade path for SQL :)

  • Anonymous
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    I think this is a really bad way to test.  I don't know about anyone else but I would never do well on such an exam because the code I create is usually quite different than what many (most?) SMEs would even dream of even for some of the "simple" stuff.  Unless the grading system actually tests the code for the correct answer, performance, scalability, and resource usage, I wouldn't trust it any further than I could throw a trailer full of SMEs. ;-)

    Heh... if you could put all of the SMEs that said the Ribbon Bar in Office would be a good thing, I'd give it a REALLY good college try, though!  ;-) ;-) ;-)

  • Davin Mickelson
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    Whatever happened with these? Were they ever implemented?