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21 Dec

Check Off This List Before You Take a Coding Assessment

Black text, "7 things you should do to prepare for a coding assessment," on yellow background

If you’ve got a coding assessment coming up, it’s natural to feel a little nervous. Whatever your reason for taking the assessment (like applying for a new job or completing a bootcamp), there may be a lot at stake for you! That’s why we made this checklist for you to review before you sit down to take the assessment. Knowing you’ve got these items covered will help you feel confident and prepared.

  • Do you know what language you’ll be coding in? Are you a Java, Python, or C++ person? Since many platforms allow you to code in the language of your choice, you should pick the one you’re most comfortable with, keeping in mind that you might be able to write code faster in a less verbose language. And don’t forget to brush up on the syntax and standard library functions so you don’t have to spend time looking things up on the fly. 
  • Do you have quick access to documentation and other helpful resources? Speaking of looking things up, did you know that most platforms (including CodeSignal) allow you to access the internet during the assessment? There’s no downside to preparing as you would for an open-notes test. So pull up any information you might want to refer to and make sure it’s all neatly organized.
  • Do you have a time management strategy? As most assessments are timed, you may want to move on if you find yourself spending too long on one part. CodeSignal’s GCA, for example, has four tasks to complete within 70 minutes. Consider, as well, that the tasks are likely to be varying levels of difficulty. Therefore, it may make sense to come back to a tough question later after solving the others first.
  • Have you eliminated all distractions? You want to be in the zone during your assessment and experiencing that coding flow state. It’s a good idea to close any extraneous apps and windows, silence your notifications, and let housemates know not to disturb you. Also, this might seem obvious, but low battery life has a way of sneaking up on us at the worst times — so make sure your computer is plugged in! 
  • Did you get a good night’s sleep? Unsurprisingly, studies have shown that getting more than seven hours of sleep is associated with up to 10% better performance on tests. You most likely have some flexibility around when you can take the assessment. Use that to your advantage, and choose a time when you’re feeling rested and alert.
  • Are you doing something to celebrate? You put a lot of hard work into this! We’re rooting for you. Do something to relax and reward yourself when the assessment is done.  

Good luck, and remember that with the CodeSignal General Coding Assessment, you aren’t locked into your score forever — you can retake the test later if you didn’t do your best. 

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