How to Rock Your Course Application Problem Solving Assessment

Mar 8, 2019 8:37:19 AM

Hello Learner!

If you're visiting this blog post, you're probably about to approach your course application and are curious about the HackerRank problem- solving assessment portion of the application process. That's good! It means you're already thinking ahead and planning out ways to solve the assessment. In fact, planning & problem solving is a big part of computer programming - so your headspace is exactly where it needs to be.

Why does LaunchCode have a problem solving assessment in the course application?

The course application problem solving assessment is only one of the factors considered on your application. We also use the information that's included in the initial application — including your short-answer questions and reasons why you're taking the course — to determine whether or not applicants are admitted into the course. However, the completion of the assessment is required. We cannot consider your course application unless you have completed the assessment.

You do not need any prior coding knowledge to successfully complete the problem-solving assessment. The skills measured on the assessment (logical reasoning, problem-solving, and abstract reasoning) are critical to successfully learning how to code. While our courses helps students build on and strengthen these skills, some existing aptitude in these areas is necessary for success.

The skills measured on the assessment (logical reasoning, problem-solving, and abstract reasoning) are critical to successfully learning how to code, but you do not need prior coding knowledge to be successful.

Statistics show that students who receive low scores on the assessment are less likely to find success in the course. We do not want to put students in a situation where they are not set up for success. While LaunchCode strives to provide the opportunity to as many individuals as possible, we also want to make sure that we set people up for success. Admitting students that we know are very likely to fail is not good for anyone. However, a high score on the assessment does not guarantee a spot in class — limited classroom space and teaching staff means that we are not able to admit every applicant.


How will my performance on the assessment affect my chances of being admitted?

Your score on the assessment is only one of the factors used when making an admission decision. We also consider the other portions of your application, including short-answer questions, and reasons why you're taking the course and available space. There is no set cutoff score for gaining acceptance on the test.

With that said, let's dive into how to approach your application assessment...


What should I do to achieve my best possible score on the assessment?

The problem-solving assessment consists of 10 multiple choice questions, which you have 90 minutes to work on. You must complete the assessment in a single setting; it is not possible to save your work and come back later.

Get ready: we suggest having a pen or pencil, paper, and a calculator available before beginning the assessment.

We suggest having a pen or pencil, paper, and a calculator available before beginning the assessment. We also highly suggest taking this assessment on your computer or laptop in a quiet setting when you know you will have the fully allotted time without distraction. You may not consult any resources--including but not limited to a website, book, or friend — while taking the assessment.

Beyond that, don’t stress about it too much, since it isn’t the sole determinant of admission to the course. Set yourself up for success, and give it your best shot!




What types of questions are in the assessment?

The 10 questions touch on logical reasoning, problem-solving, computational thinking, and abstract reasoning. It is intended to gauge your aptitude in these areas, which are a critical component of computer programming. It does not cover any explicit programming concepts, and previous programming experience is not required to be accepted into the course.

Sample questions:

Sample Question 1
Including 0, how many total items, including repeated numbers, are in the sequence below if all of the missing terms (indicated by ...) are included?

0, 4, 3, 7, 6 ..., 22

Sample Question 2
A man has 80 cents in his pocket in nickels, dimes, and quarters. He has the same number of each type of coin. What is the TOTAL number of coins that he has in his wallet?

Sample Question 3
For this question, the following rules should be used.

Rule 1:  The "←" symbol assigns the value on the right of "←" to the variable on the left of "←"

For example:
Step 1: x ← 2
Step 2: y ← x + 1
Step 3: x ← x + 10

In this example, the final value of y is 3, and final value of x is 12.

Rule 2:  "If (f), then (g)" means if (f) is true, do (g)

"<" means "less than" and ">" means "greater than"
"≤" means "less than or equal to" and "≥" means "greater than or equal to"

Using these rules, follow this procedure:

Step 1: x ← 4
Step 2: y ← x - 2
Step 3: z ← y - x
Step 4: if (z > 0), then (z ← z - 2)
Step 5: if (z < 2), then (z ← z + 3)

What is the final value of z?

The most important thing — don't stress! 

Have fun with it! Problem solving & logical thinking, finding new solutions to problems, and flexing your brain in different ways are what coding is all about. We understand that many people have never taken a problem-solving assessment to this degree before, and that taking an assessment can seem stressful. But just make sure you are ready with no distractions and try your best! Much of what is taught in our courses revolves around understanding different types of logic, so the more you can build the reflex for this type of thinking, the more successful you will be!


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