How to Ace Your Cybersecurity Admissions Assessment

How to Ace Your Cybersecurity Admissions Assessment

Fullstack Academy Admissions

2020-03-06

We’re committed to doing everything we can to set students up for success. While our program is beginner-friendly, we’ve found that students with strong logical-reasoning and problem-solving abilities are more likely to thrive in our curriculum. Because of that, one factor in admissions decisions is a student’s score on our 30-minute assessment.

The assessment consists of two parts: 12 technical questions (but don’t fret, the assessment is open-book!) and 8 logical-reasoning questions. Both parts feature multiple-choice questions only.

Let’s talk about the first part we mentioned above: the technical questions. Why is our assessment open-book? First, our program is for beginners, and, second, we recognize that being able to use the internet effectively as a resource is an important part of being successful in cybersecurity. For this reason, we don’t expect you to know the answers and highly encourage you to use Google. Six of the questions will be about cybersecurity, and six will test general computer literacy.

Now, for the second: the logical reasoning questions. These questions also require no prior knowledge. The purpose of them is to simply test an applicant’s ability to work through challenging prompts.

If you’d like a bit of practice before diving in, below are resources to help. Read on for sample problems similar to what you’ll find on our exam, a video tutorial, and links for further practice.

Sample Problems & Answers

1. Based on the information below, what is the third number?

The average of three numbers is 24.

The average of two of these numbers is 29. 

The answer is “14”.

Explanation: For this question, recall that an average = sum / number of elements. If the average of all three numbers is 24, their total sum is 72.
24 (the average) * 3 (the number of numbers used to calculate the average) = 72.
Thus, if the average of two of the numbers is 29, their sum is 58. 29 (the average) * 2 (the number of numbers used to calculate the average) = 58.
From there, you can subtract the second sum from the first sum to arrive at the final number: 72 (the sum of the three numbers) - 58 (the sum of two of the numbers) = 14.

2. Based on the information below, what is the code for ZAP?

Alphabet for your reference:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

The code for CAT is XDO.

The code for PIN is KLI.

The answer is “UDK”.

Explanation: By analyzing CAT -> XDO and PIN -> KLI we can derive the pattern: for the first letter, go backwards in the alphabet five letters, for the second letter, go forwards three letters, and for the last letter, go backwards again five letters.

ZAP: Z backwards five letters is U, A forwards three letters is D, and P backwards five letters is K

How-To Video for Question 2

For a more thorough explanation of how to solve problem 2, check out this video from our team:

3. Based on the picture below, which one doesn’t belong?

  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • E

sample doesnt belong

The answer is “B”.

Explanation: Option B has three small white circles, two small black circles, one small star, and one large star. The rest have two small white circles, three small black circles, one small star, and one large star. 

4. Based on the pattern below, what is the next number?

2, 4, 3, 6, 5, 10, ___

The answer is “9”.

Explanation: The pattern is to multiply by 2, subtract 1, multiply by 2, and subtract 1, etc. 

5. Based on the information below, what is the value of SUM after this FOR loop as finished executing?

The FOR loop is a specialized construct for iterating a specific number of times, often called a "counting" loop.  In other words, FOR every iteration that matches the condition, EXECUTE this action.

With every iteration of the loop, any "variable" involved in the action within the loop gets manipulated and its value gets overwritten with the outcome of every action.

Using what you know about FOR loops and variable manipulation, walk through the pseudo-coded FOR loop below and fill in the blank of the resulting SUM value. 

SUM = 0 (variable with a value beginning at 0)
FOR every number (NUM) in [5,7,3,10,6]
SUM = SUM + NUM
END LOOP

The answer is “31”.

Explanation: The loop will run once for each number in the array ([5,7,3,10,6]), adding each number in the array to the SUM variable (which begins at 0). SUM will thus equal 5 + 7 + 3 + 10 + 6 = 31 after this loop finishes executing.

Sample Technical Questions

1. What does OWASP stand for?

    1. Official Web Application Security Protocol
    2. Open Work Applied Safety Project
    3. Open Web Application Security Project
    4. Online Work Authorization Status Program

The answer is "C. Open Web Application Security Project".

Explanation: If you’re not familiar with OWASP, try Googling “OWASP, cybersecurity” to find the answer.

2. Which of these is not part of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?

    1. Protect
    2. Detect
    3. Review
    4. Recover

The answer is "C. Review".

Explanation: If you’re not familiar with NIST, try Googling “NIST, cybersecurity” to find the answer.

3. In version control software, what is a “repo”?

    1. A storage location for software packages 
    2. When someone claims control over your code
    3. When code does not behave as expected
    4. A code editor

The answer is "A. A storage location for software packages".

Explanation: If you’re not familiar with a repo, try Googling “what is a software repo” to find the answer.

4. The symbol @ applied to 3 numbers means to take the largest and the smallest and multiply them together. For example: (9 @ 4 @ 3) results in 27. 

What would this result in?   (7 @ -2 @ 42)

    1. 294
    2. -14
    3. -84
    4. 84 

The answer is "C. -84".

Explanation: This problem is asking you to learn a new concept, and then apply it to some given input. So in this case, the @ sign tells us that we need to multiply the smallest and largest numbers in a set a three numbers. In the example above (9 @ 4 @ 3) results in 27 because 9, the largest number, multiplied by 3, the smallest number, equals 27. So now we apply that concept to the set (7 @ -2 @ 42). The largest number in the set is 42, the smallest number in the set is -2. So 42 x -2 = -84.

Additional Study Resources

These resources will help if you feel like you could use more practice on the technical questions:

  1. Web Development: Intro to Code
  2. Web Development: Bootcamp Prep
  3. Cybersecurity: Hacking 101
  4. Cybersecurity: Cyber Onramp

These resources will help if you feel like you could use more practice with logical reasoning:

  1. Brainden: Logic Puzzles & Sequences
  2. Get Riddles: Math Riddles
  3. Khan Academy: Word Puzzles

Remember These Tips

  • Each question is weighted evenly, so don’t spend too much time on one question. If you get stuck, move on to the next question and only come back if you have time at the end.
  • Give yourself the full 30 minutes to complete the assessment—don’t open the assessment unless you’re sure you have enough time and a reliable internet connection.
  • Don’t get discouraged!! You can do this. 
    • The practice problems on this post are designed to be difficult, and we don’t expect you to answer each one perfectly.

Ready to take the assessment? Get started today or attend one of our upcoming events.

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