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It depends whether the question on the language or on the programming.

In college, I encountered both kinds of questions, sometimes on the same test. And when I conduct interviews, I ask both kinds of questions.

Language questions tend to be short, and rarely represent complete programs, and I expect near perfect syntax. Cool language tricks earn bonus points. Some of the Perl questions I might ask are:
  • Print out the keys of the third hash in array @a.
  • Deduplicate the elements in array @a.
Programming questions tend to be more involved, and can be often answered using pseudocode. Language tricks are dangerous, as they can mask your knowledge. If I ask you to implement an efficient sort routine, and your only response is some library call, you aren't going to score any points with me.

Bottom line, a test is your opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the subject matter...correctness is secondary. Make sure you know what is being asked, and what the expectations are.

In reply to Re: Meditations on the Nature of Code Exams by indigo
in thread Meditations on the Nature of Code Exams by Elgon

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