On Pre-Employment Examinations…
Today, I took my first exam in a long while: a comprehensive pre-employment exam with this software company just close to my current office. I’ve had this test postponed due to some unseen circumstances and finally I was able to work out a schedule to take it this morning.
Thinking that this exam was just to measure my basic intelligence, I did not prepare for it. I expected a bit of programming to be included in the scope, but I thought that pre-employment programming based exams would be easy.
Until I sat there and got the papers.
The exams felt like a battery of tests of different varieties, with time pressure to boot: a logic exam with 40 questions in 15 minutes, an abstract reasoning test with 30 questions for 15 minutes, a math exam worth 30 minutes, a general IT knowledge exam with 12 questions for 20 minutes, and my very first back to back programming exam worth an hour, and an essay test worth ten minutes.
Oh, and the first four exams were RIGHT minus WRONG.
Well, I didn’t get nervous really, I just kept my calm and composure, tried not to feel the pressure. I left all the stuff I didn’t know how to answer blank for me to return to later when I was done with the easy ones. I left as much as 12 questions unanswered in the first set of tests because I ran out of time. The rest, I kinda gave up on trying because I just couldn’t answer them.
The toughest part was the programming exam. You see, I’m not a computer science major, I’ve been a self-taught programmer, with my peers helping me out build up my skills on actual need rather than concepts and theory. Well, I know some theories because I’ve been taskmastered by some really good products of the IT industry. There were so much questions that I didn’t know how to answer, the really basic ones. I fell apart during this exam and left so many guesses during the multiple choice parts.
As for the coding and flowcharting tests, I made them so hastily that they looked like scrawlings on the wall rather than flowcharting.
In short, I finished the exam and as I walked out of the company’s door, I said to myself “Charge it to experience. You’ll get it right next time, pal. Prepare ka na lang sa susunod.”
Thoughts of failure lingered in my head almost all afternoon, but I knew I did and tried my best. I gave it a decent shot, despite not being prepared. On a good day and with right preparation, I would have aced it, but hey, exams like these don’t earn you the bragging rights of being the top scorer or the first to finish it.
These are the first steps to a career, and you don’t need to ace them to get the job. Doing your best will be good enough. And I did.
P.S. : HR of the company called and informed me that I passed the exam. Interview’s on Monday.
I am one lucky guy. Something divine happened in that exam room, and I’m saying thanks to the Big Guy Upstairs. And to the people who supported me and wished me luck and encouraged me. So there: Thanks all!