Regarding Exam question wording

Mike Huisman

Well-known member
  • May 27, 2021
    22
    27
    Calgary, AB, CAN
    This question is directed to @Rick Butler , but I welcome any responses.

    With regards to the question asked in session 9 of the Cloud+ TTT, you mentioned the concept of identifying what the question is actually asking, as opposed to what the student "Thinks" the question is asking.

    "You have resolved a user’s issue with connecting to their Linux IaaS Instance and implemented the solution. You return to the helpdesk ticket queue and get ready to work on the next ticket. What is the next troubleshooting step you skipped?"

    Is there another meaning to 'resolved' that I am unaware of? I don't think it needs interpretation, past-tense of "Resolve: To find a solution to; solve: ie. resolved the problem."

    If the issue was not verified, it cannot have been successfully resolved. I don't know any other way to read that statement. Please help! :)
     
    Well, first, let me re-state what I said during the TTT Session and from what @Cyber Russ and @Lee McWhorter alluded to during the "Moving the Goal Post" presentation:

    When answering a certification question, you want to answer what the question is ASKING, not necessarily what you might opine the answer to be. This is crucial when taking tests that may be considered junior to your skill level.

    For example, last year, I took the ITF+ exam. Now, I have over 30 years of experience in the IT field and this particular exam is aimed at somebody who has, perhaps six months of experience. One of the onerous things that happens with experience is that it tends to over-complicate the answers to a simple question. Because, for a veteran, there is rarely a simple answer, even when it's a simple thing. So, I had to take the test with at least half my brain tied behind my back, so that I wouldn't overthink things. Anyone who has read any of my posts would probably attest that I do this.

    So I present the CompTIA Methodology as presented in Cloud+:
    1. Identify the problem.
    2. Determine the scope of the problem.
    3. Establish a theory of probable cause, or question the obvious.
    4. Test the theory to determine the cause.
    5. Establish a plan of action.
    6. Implement the solution, or escalate.
    7. Verify full system functionality.
    8. Implement preventive measures.
    9. Perform a root cause analysis.
    10. Document findings, actions, and outcomes throughout the process.
    With respect to *this* particular question, one has to ask, what is the definition of "resolved" - which is what you're asking here. And I can clearly see your point - "resolved" would indicate that we have done EVERYTHING in the troubleshooting process. And perhaps that's where you might say, "But I RESOLVED it - I didn't skip anything!" So, from your perspective, you would be right, pointing to a direct contradiction in the wording.

    But the question says you skipped something.

    So, while, as @Tess Sluijter just said, it's fixed, the user may be happy, ticket closed, onto the next crisis - according to the process, it may not be "resolved" by definition.

    Interestingly, I did a quick search of the CompTIA Official Guide, Topic 1C for Cloud+ and did not see the word "resolved" anyplace. Perhaps that was an omission, perhaps that was intentional - hard to say. Perhaps it was inappropriate to use the word "resolved" in this question (I don't know where the question itself came from). Having taken number of certification tests in my life, I can't say that every question that I was supposed was a very clearly worded question.

    So, that's lesson #1 - Read the whole question. Twice. And then, break it down with what it's saying/asking (even if there is an anomaly or distractor or something).

    But, this particular situation does teach us a wider angle bit of wisdom that we need to convey to our students,

    So, lesson #2 - Don't over-think the question. And certainly don't argue the question during the test. The testing software isn't going to say, "Gee Rick, you're right, I never thought of it that way. Here, let me just give you full credit for the question and I'll send this back to the folks at CompTIA for revision. Appreciate your wisdom!" No, it's going to mark you wrong if you click the wrong radio button or check box. Tests are cold like that.

    Sometimes the question that you're asked may be contradictory. It may be badly worded. And it may be one of those weird questions that sort of gets peppered into an exam, just to see if it's a valid question. But in my experience, I sometimes have to shut off my experience and go with what the textbook says - the simplest read for the entire question - with emphasis on the interrogative itself, not the 3-4 sentences going into the interrogative.

    So, yeah, you're probably right in that "resolved" would insinuate that we got through the entire ten-step process for troubleshooting, because you're not done until you're done - so if you're "resolved", you're done. But then, when I looked at the question today, the first thing I saw was, "...that you skipped". To be honest, I never even looked at the word resolved, mostly because those troubleshooting methodology questions are being asked to see if you know the steps in their correct order.

    Hopefully that provides my position on it. And since I tagged Russ and Lee, they might weigh in as well. And of course, if there are any other thoughts, I'm all ears as well.

    /r
     
    I do not like trick questions. However, if the question is a type such as ipconfig/ifconfig or traceroute/tracert, I understand what they are testing for the student. I do not consider those as trick questions.

    I did not consider this question a trick question either, but kind of was for sure. It was testing if I knew the "Methodology." Even though the methodology is well-known to most of the CINers, the stats revealed, that it obviously threw people off. Mainly because of the word "Resolved."

    What I have learned through studying the methodology and some experience, and what I pretty much gathered what the question was asking, is if even the user's issue is "resolved," we might have fupungled something else, which isn't a real solution.

    My immediate reaction at first glance was to mark "document," however, I took the plunge and stuck to the methodology. Like at blackjack, I would have to stick to the math.

    When I first saw the stats, I said dang, I should have gone with my first instinct. But then, Prof. Glenn diplomatically let us live with both being correct.

    I have never been a great test taker. Well, that's because I was misdiagnosed with eye exams and needing reading glasses. Now that I can see while I am taking exams, the main thing that I have learned in the last 2 years of taking CompTIA exams, is that I must pick out words, re-read the question, sometimes 3-4x times until I figure out the real question. So for me, I have had to slow down. They call me Sload. Rhymes with Hoad.
     
    "fupungled" - That's today's word of the day. I see that as a single action in what I would call "plumbfumbling dumbfrakery" (PFDF)*...or to put it the Cloud - to fupungle something automatically requires automation, where I've seen orchestrated plumbfumbling dumbfrakery many times in my career.

    Anyway...

    I don't think we see many questions, if any, on a cert test, that use deception to obfuscate the answer. Now I've seen plenty of GAS** questions out there that are chock full of irrelevant information. Sometimes I've read those backwards, going right to the interrogative, before going through the short story that is presented to the test taker. And some of that can be put in there to confuse the reader. As

    >> ...until I figure out the real question

    The question within the question - *cue Inception sound*

    /r



    * hat tip ASF - you know who you are
    **gas question - Given a scenario...
     

    Mike Huisman

    Well-known member
  • May 27, 2021
    22
    27
    Calgary, AB, CAN
    I agree, this missed step is verifying. The next step would be to document. Assuming it was verified and resolved. Basic CompTIA Troubleshooting methodology. :)
    Lee, you say 'Assuming it was verified and resolved.' In this case, the question tells us it was resolved. I generally don't have an issue identifying the information that the question is asking for, but this particular one is difficult for me to read any other way. I believe I understand the steps in the methodology, but the use of 'resolved' really threw me off.

    I'll have to watch for that in the future. Looking back at the question, the last step they specifically mention is implementing a solution, so that should have been the key to focus on, as opposed to it saying the issue was resolved.

    Thanks for the clarification!
     
    I would probably say that any question that we'd see on a cert test like this would be pretty specifically pointing to where on the troubleshooting process you are. Again, just pay attention to those points and you'll do alright on the exam. At least that's been my experience. /r
     
    I would probably say that any question that we'd see on a cert test like this would be pretty specifically pointing to where on the troubleshooting process you are. Again, just pay attention to those points and you'll do alright on the exam. At least that's been my experience. /r
    I agree. I have found practice test questions that are confusing, tricky, incorrect and have the infamous select all that apply. But when it comes down to sitting the actual exams, many of those issues were gone.
     
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    I agree. I have found practice test questions that are confusing, tricky, incorrect and have the infamous select all that apply. But when it comes down to sitting the actual exams, many of those issues were gone.
    ..select all that apply....SATA question as I call them.

    I'm not sure why, but those questions aggravate me in CertMaster Learn - I keep tripping up on that. Of course, if I followed my own guidance, slowed down, and read the question TWICE, I'd prolly catch them...haha

    /r
     
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