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Creating programming practise question book  RSS feed

 
Abubakkar Rangara
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A warm welcome to Scott & Jeanne.

I would like to ask both of you a question - How do you come up with multiple choice based questions?

I find it really difficult and hard to create even few questions as there are lots of things to be considered. And writing a book of such type is a mammoth task I believe compared to writing anything which involves more textual stuff than code.

Regards,
Abubakkar
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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That's a great question; have a cow.

We start with the exam objectives and a list of key points you need to know. For example, if you were explaining loops, you need to know which type of loop has a condition at the beginning vs end. We also have a list of edge cases - for example, what happens if you put a semicolon right after the "while" in a while loop.  Then we craft questions around these.

We also look for what you'd think the answer is if you misunderstood the question/point in various ways. This makes it harder.
 
Scott Selikoff
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To add to what a Jeanne said, some objectives are prolific and easier to write about, some are not.  For example, in the Concurrency and Streams chapters we had to be very careful to make sure we wrote questions that covered 100% of the topics.  The objectives were quite broad and we wanted to the include all the types of questions you are likely to see on the exam (aka the things they are likely to try to trick you with on the real exam).

Other topics, I won't name names, were quite short on material.  For those, we focused on reinforcing the knowledge about the objectives by presenting similar problems in completely different ways.  For example, a question might appear to be about exception handling, when in fact it is about access modifiers.

The fun part?  After writing 1,000+ questions, I still think we could have written more.  It was surprisingly more fun than you'd expect!
 
Don't get me started about those stupid light bulbs.
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