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About the test:

The Mainframe Online Test uses scenario-based MCQs to evaluate candidates on their knowledge of mainframe technologies, including COBOL programming language, JCL, VSAM, CICS, and DB2. The test aims to evaluate a candidate's ability to design and develop mainframe applications that adhere to industry standards and best practices effectively.

Covered skills:

  • COBOL
  • VSAM
  • CICS
  • Assembler
  • PL/I
  • ISPF
  • JCL
  • DB2
  • IMS
  • RPG
  • TSO

9 reasons why
9 reasons why

Adaface IBM Mainframe Test is the most accurate way to shortlist Mainframe Developers



Reason #1

Tests for on-the-job skills

The IBM Mainframe Online Test helps recruiters and hiring managers identify qualified candidates from a pool of resumes, and helps in taking objective hiring decisions. It reduces the administrative overhead of interviewing too many candidates and saves time by filtering out unqualified candidates at the first step of the hiring process.

The test screens for the following skills that hiring managers look for in candidates:

  • Proficient in COBOL programming language
  • Strong understanding of IBM DB2 database
  • Experience in writing and executing IBM JCL scripts
  • Knowledge of VSAM file organization
  • Familiarity with CICS (Customer Information Control System)
  • Understanding of IMS (Information Management System)
  • Ability to code in Assembler language
  • Competence in RPG (Report Program Generator)
  • Working knowledge of PL/I (Programming Language One)
  • Proficiency in TSO (Time Sharing Option)
  • Ability to use ISPF (Interactive System Productivity Facility)
Reason #2

No trick questions

no trick questions

Traditional assessment tools use trick questions and puzzles for the screening, which creates a lot of frustration among candidates about having to go through irrelevant screening assessments.

View sample questions

The main reason we started Adaface is that traditional pre-employment assessment platforms are not a fair way for companies to evaluate candidates. At Adaface, our mission is to help companies find great candidates by assessing on-the-job skills required for a role.

Why we started Adaface
Reason #3

Non-googleable questions

We have a very high focus on the quality of questions that test for on-the-job skills. Every question is non-googleable and we have a very high bar for the level of subject matter experts we onboard to create these questions. We have crawlers to check if any of the questions are leaked online. If/ when a question gets leaked, we get an alert. We change the question for you & let you know.

How we design questions

These are just a small sample from our library of 10,000+ questions. The actual questions on this IBM Mainframe Test will be non-googleable.

🧐 Question

Medium

Decision Control
Arithmetic Operations
Decision Structures
Data Types
Solve
Consider the following COBOL program:
 image
What will the program display when it is executed?

Medium

Multi Dimensional Arrays
Arrays
Data Processing
Subroutines
Solve
Consider the following pseudocode snippet in COBOL:
 image
After executing this program, what will be the final state of StrArr?

Medium

VSAM File Processing in COBOL
VSAM
File Handling
Solve
Consider the following COBOL code snippet. The program aims to read from a VSAM Key-Sequenced Data Set (KSDS) named 'CUSTOMER-FILE' which contains customer records. The program reads the file in ascending order by 'CUSTOMER-ID', performs some processing (not shown here), and then displays the 'CUSTOMER-NAME' of the last record read.
 image
Assuming there are no syntax errors and the 'CUSTOMER-FILE' is present and accessible, what will the program display as the last customer's name after executing this COBOL program?
A: The program will display the name of the customer with the highest 'CUSTOMER-ID'.
B: The program will display the name of the customer with the lowest 'CUSTOMER-ID'.
C: The program will not display any customer name.
D: The program will display the name of the first customer in the 'CUSTOMER-FILE'.
E: The program will display an uninitialized or random 'LAST-NAME'.

Medium

Database Performance Tuning and Data Consistency
Database Performance Tuning
Transaction Management
Locking Mechanisms
Solve
Consider the following DB2 database scenario. You are managing a stock trading platform that uses a DB2 database to track user transactions and market prices. The database has two tables, Users and Stocks.
 image
A user transaction to buy a stock is a two-step process:

1. Decrease the user's balance in the Users table.
2. Increase the quantity of the stock owned by the user in the Stocks table.

Both these steps need to be performed atomically to maintain data consistency.

Recently, with the increase in the volume of transactions, you are experiencing performance issues. Additionally, you have observed that during peak trading hours, a large number of user transactions are getting blocked, leading to user dissatisfaction.

Which of the following strategies would BEST address the performance and blocking issues, while ensuring data consistency?
A: Implement an optimistic concurrency control mechanism.
B: Reduce the transaction isolation level to READ UNCOMMITTED.
C: Break the transaction into two separate transactions
D: Increase the database's buffer pool size.
E: Implement row-level locking.

Medium

DB2 Isolation Levels and Data Consistency Revisited
Transactions
Isolation Levels
Data Consistency
Solve
Consider two users executing the following transactions concurrently on DB2:

Transaction 1 (User A):
 image
Transaction 2 (User B):
 image
Table1 has thousands of records, and the value 'Value1' for Column1 is not unique in Table1. Both transactions are executed almost simultaneously with Transaction 2 executed a bit earlier. Considering the isolation levels set for the transactions, which of the following is the potential data inconsistency issue that might arise?
A: A deadlock situation may occur.
B: Transaction 1 will wait indefinitely for Transaction 2 to commit.
C: Both transactions might update the same record leading to a lost update.
D: Transaction 1 can experience a dirty read due to the changes made by Transaction 2.

Medium

Optimizing Query Performance
Indexing
Query Optimization
Solve
You are managing a DB2 database which includes a table named `ORDERS`. The `ORDERS` table has a large volume of data and contains the following columns: `OrderID`, `CustomerID`, `OrderDate`, `ProductID`, `Quantity`. 

One of the frequently executed queries on the `ORDERS` table is:
 image
You are asked to optimize this query without changing its structure or the table schema. Which of the following strategies would MOST likely improve the performance of this query?
A: Create a HASH index on `CustomerID` and `OrderDate`.
B: Create a CLUSTERED index on `CustomerID` and `OrderDate`.
C: Create a NONCLUSTERED index on `CustomerID` and `OrderDate`.
D: Create a CLUSTERED index on `OrderID`.
E: Create a NONCLUSTERED index on `OrderID`.

Medium

Transaction Handling and Error Recovery in DB2
SQL Programming
Transactions
Error Handling
Solve
Consider the following pseudocode in an IBM DB2 environment:
 image
This stored procedure is used to update the inventory of a particular item. If the `NewQuantity` input parameter is negative, the procedure signals an exception. There's also a handler declared for exceptions, which logs an error message.

Given this scenario, if an error occurs during the UPDATE statement, which of the following will happen?
A: The update operation will fail, an error message will be logged, and the quantity in the inventory will remain unchanged.
B: The update operation will succeed, no error message will be logged, and the quantity in the inventory will be updated.
C: The update operation will fail, an error message will be logged, but the quantity in the inventory will still be updated.
D: The update operation will fail, no error message will be logged, and the quantity in the inventory will remain unchanged.
E: The update operation will succeed, an error message will be logged, but the quantity in the inventory will still be updated.

Medium

Disposition Parameters
JCL Syntax
Dataset Management
Solve
Consider the following JCL snippet:
 image
In MYJOB, PROG1 in STEP1 uses the dataset MY.DS.INPUT with a disposition of (OLD,DELETE,KEEP). PROG2 in STEP2 also uses the dataset MY.DS.INPUT with a disposition of (NEW,PASS,DELETE).

Assume that STEP1 executed successfully, but STEP2 failed during its execution. What would be the status of the dataset MY.DS.INPUT after the job MYJOB is run?
A: MY.DS.INPUT will be deleted.
B: MY.DS.INPUT will be kept and can be used by other jobs.
C: MY.DS.INPUT will be newly created.
D: MY.DS.INPUT will be available for the duration of the job, then deleted.
E: MY.DS.INPUT status cannot be determined with the provided information.

Medium

Execution Order and Return Codes
Job Control
Execution Order
Return Codes
Solve
Consider a JCL job that needs to execute five steps: STEP01, STEP02, STEP03, STEP04, and STEP05. The steps represent data initialization, data processing, data validation, error handling, and job finalization respectively.

The execution rules are as follows:

1. The job should always start with STEP01.
2. STEP02 should only execute if STEP01 completes successfully with a return code (RC) of 0.
3. STEP03 should always run after STEP02, irrespective of STEP02's return code.
4. STEP04 should only execute if either STEP02 or STEP03 fails, i.e., return a code not equal to 0.
5. STEP05 should always be the last step, and should only execute if all the previous steps were successful (each returning a code of 0).

Given these rules, how would you design the JCL job using the IF/THEN/ELSE/ENDIF construct?
 image
🧐 Question🔧 Skill

Medium

Decision Control
Arithmetic Operations
Decision Structures
Data Types

2 mins

COBOL
Solve

Medium

Multi Dimensional Arrays
Arrays
Data Processing
Subroutines

2 mins

COBOL
Solve

Medium

VSAM File Processing in COBOL
VSAM
File Handling

2 mins

COBOL
Solve

Medium

Database Performance Tuning and Data Consistency
Database Performance Tuning
Transaction Management
Locking Mechanisms

3 mins

IBM DB2
Solve

Medium

DB2 Isolation Levels and Data Consistency Revisited
Transactions
Isolation Levels
Data Consistency

2 mins

IBM DB2
Solve

Medium

Optimizing Query Performance
Indexing
Query Optimization

2 mins

IBM DB2
Solve

Medium

Transaction Handling and Error Recovery in DB2
SQL Programming
Transactions
Error Handling

3 mins

IBM DB2
Solve

Medium

Disposition Parameters
JCL Syntax
Dataset Management

2 mins

IBM JCL
Solve

Medium

Execution Order and Return Codes
Job Control
Execution Order
Return Codes

2 mins

IBM JCL
Solve
🧐 Question🔧 Skill💪 Difficulty⌛ Time
Decision Control
Arithmetic Operations
Decision Structures
Data Types
COBOL
Medium2 mins
Solve
Multi Dimensional Arrays
Arrays
Data Processing
Subroutines
COBOL
Medium2 mins
Solve
VSAM File Processing in COBOL
VSAM
File Handling
COBOL
Medium2 mins
Solve
Database Performance Tuning and Data Consistency
Database Performance Tuning
Transaction Management
Locking Mechanisms
IBM DB2
Medium3 mins
Solve
DB2 Isolation Levels and Data Consistency Revisited
Transactions
Isolation Levels
Data Consistency
IBM DB2
Medium2 mins
Solve
Optimizing Query Performance
Indexing
Query Optimization
IBM DB2
Medium2 mins
Solve
Transaction Handling and Error Recovery in DB2
SQL Programming
Transactions
Error Handling
IBM DB2
Medium3 mins
Solve
Disposition Parameters
JCL Syntax
Dataset Management
IBM JCL
Medium2 mins
Solve
Execution Order and Return Codes
Job Control
Execution Order
Return Codes
IBM JCL
Medium2 mins
Solve
Reason #4

1200+ customers in 75 countries

customers in 75 countries
Brandon

With Adaface, we were able to optimise our initial screening process by upwards of 75%, freeing up precious time for both hiring managers and our talent acquisition team alike!


Brandon Lee, Head of People, Love, Bonito

Reason #5

Designed for elimination, not selection

The most important thing while implementing the pre-employment IBM Mainframe Test in your hiring process is that it is an elimination tool, not a selection tool. In other words: you want to use the test to eliminate the candidates who do poorly on the test, not to select the candidates who come out at the top. While they are super valuable, pre-employment tests do not paint the entire picture of a candidate’s abilities, knowledge, and motivations. Multiple easy questions are more predictive of a candidate's ability than fewer hard questions. Harder questions are often "trick" based questions, which do not provide any meaningful signal about the candidate's skillset.

Science behind Adaface tests
Reason #6

1 click candidate invites

Email invites: You can send candidates an email invite to the IBM Mainframe Test from your dashboard by entering their email address.

Public link: You can create a public link for each test that you can share with candidates.

API or integrations: You can invite candidates directly from your ATS by using our pre-built integrations with popular ATS systems or building a custom integration with your in-house ATS.

invite candidates
Reason #7

Detailed scorecards & benchmarks

View sample scorecard
Reason #8

High completion rate

Adaface tests are conversational, low-stress, and take just 25-40 mins to complete.

This is why Adaface has the highest test-completion rate (86%), which is more than 2x better than traditional assessments.

test completion rate
Reason #9

Advanced Proctoring


Learn more

About the IBM Mainframe Assessment Test

Why you should use Pre-employment IBM Mainframe Online Test?

The IBM Mainframe Test makes use of scenario-based questions to test for on-the-job skills as opposed to theoretical knowledge, ensuring that candidates who do well on this screening test have the relavant skills. The questions are designed to covered following on-the-job aspects:

  • COBOL programming knowledge
  • Ability to write and understand JCL statements
  • Familiarity with VSAM file handling
  • Understanding of DB2 concepts and SQL queries
  • Knowledge of CICS transaction processing
  • Understanding of IMS hierarchical database
  • Familiarity with Assembler language and coding
  • Proficiency in RPG programming language
  • Ability to write and execute PL/I programs
  • Knowledge of TSO commands and utilities

Once the test is sent to a candidate, the candidate receives a link in email to take the test. For each candidate, you will receive a detailed report with skills breakdown and benchmarks to shortlist the top candidates from your pool.

What topics are covered in the IBM Mainframe Online Test?

  • COBOL

    COBOL, or Common Business-Oriented Language, is a programming language used primarily for business applications. It is known for its readability and self-documenting nature, making it easy for programmers to understand and maintain code. Testing COBOL skills is important as it is still widely used in many legacy systems, and having proficiency in COBOL is valuable for job roles in the banking, insurance, and government sectors.

  • JCL

    JCL, or Job Control Language, is a scripting language used to define and control jobs in an IBM mainframe environment. It is essential to measure JCL skills in this test as it is critical for managing and executing batch processes, defining data sets, and interacting with other mainframe components. Having expertise in JCL ensures smooth and efficient job execution in a mainframe environment.

  • VSAM

    VSAM, or Virtual Storage Access Method, is a file management system used in IBM mainframes. It provides efficient access to large volumes of data through indexed sequential access methods. Testing VSAM skills in this assessment is crucial as it is commonly used for storing and retrieving data in mainframe applications. Proficiency in VSAM is beneficial for job roles involving data management and processing in mainframe environments.

  • DB2

    DB2 is a relational database management system (RDBMS) designed for IBM mainframes. It provides a robust and scalable platform to store, query, and manipulate data. Measuring DB2 skills in this test is important as it is widely used in mainframe environments for managing databases and performing complex data operations. Proficiency in DB2 is valuable for job roles involving database administration and development in mainframe systems.

  • CICS

    CICS, or Customer Information Control System, is a transaction server that enables online transaction processing in mainframe environments. It provides a platform for developing and executing large-scale, mission-critical business applications. Evaluating CICS skills in this assessment is crucial as it is essential for job roles involving online transaction processing and creating scalable and reliable mainframe applications.

  • IMS

    IMS, or Information Management System, is a hierarchical database management system used on IBM mainframes. It provides a robust platform for managing and accessing large amounts of structured and unstructured data. Testing IMS skills in this assessment is important as it is widely used in mainframe environments, particularly in industries such as finance, telecommunications, and healthcare. Proficiency in IMS is valuable for job roles involving database management and application development in mainframe systems.

  • Assembler

    Assembler is a low-level programming language used to develop and control computer hardware and software interfaces. It allows programmers to directly access and manipulate machine-level instructions. Including Assembler skills in this test is crucial as it is still used in certain mainframe environments for performance-critical tasks and hardware interactions. Proficiency in Assembler is beneficial for job roles involving optimization, debugging, and low-level programming in mainframe systems.

  • RPG

    RPG, or Report Program Generator, is a high-level programming language used for business applications on IBM mainframes. It is optimized for processing large volumes of data and generating reports. Measuring RPG skills in this test is important as it is still used in many legacy mainframe systems, particularly in industries such as banking and insurance. Proficiency in RPG is valuable for job roles involving business application development and maintenance in mainframe environments.

  • PL/I

    PL/I, or Programming Language One, is a high-level programming language designed for scientific, engineering, business, and systems programming. It combines features of different programming languages and supports both procedural and object-oriented programming paradigms. Testing PL/I skills in this assessment is valuable as it is used in mainframe environments for developing complex and critical applications. Proficiency in PL/I is beneficial for job roles involving systems programming, scientific analysis, and large-scale application development.

  • TSO

    TSO, or Time Sharing Option, is an interactive command-line interface provided by IBM mainframes. It allows users to interact with the mainframe operating system, execute commands, and perform various system operations. Measuring TSO skills in this test is important as it is fundamental for navigating and managing mainframe environments, including file system access, job control, and system monitoring. Proficiency in TSO is valuable for job roles involving mainframe operations and system administration.

  • ISPF

    ISPF, or Interactive System Productivity Facility, is a software package provided by IBM for mainframe environments. It provides a customizable and interactive interface for managing files, editing programs, and performing various development and administrative tasks. Including ISPF skills in this test is important as it is widely used for day-to-day operations in mainframe environments. Proficiency in ISPF is beneficial for job roles involving program development, system maintenance, and interaction with mainframe resources.

  • Full list of covered topics

    The actual topics of the questions in the final test will depend on your job description and requirements. However, here's a list of topics you can expect the questions for IBM Mainframe Test to be based on.

    COBOL syntax
    Data types in COBOL
    Conditional statements in COBOL
    Looping in COBOL
    Subprograms and procedures
    COBOL file handling
    Error handling in COBOL
    DB2 SQL queries
    DB2 table creation and management
    DB2 indexes
    DB2 stored procedures
    Working with JCL statements
    JCL utility programs
    JCL job control statements
    Understanding VSAM datasets
    VSAM file handling operations
    CICS basic concepts
    CICS transactions and programs
    IMS database concepts
    IMS program structures
    Assembler instructions
    Assembler program relocation
    RPG programming concepts
    RPG data structures
    PL/I variable declarations
    PL/I string manipulation
    TSO commands
    ISPF panels
    Using TSO in batch mode
    Handling ISPF datasets

What roles can I use the IBM Mainframe Online Test for?

  • Mainframe Developer
  • Mainframe Programmer
  • Mainframe Systems Analyst
  • Mainframe Operations Analyst
  • Mainframe Administrator

How is the IBM Mainframe Online Test customized for senior candidates?

For intermediate/ experienced candidates, we customize the assessment questions to include advanced topics and increase the difficulty level of the questions. This might include adding questions on topics like

  • Understanding of ISPF panel and dialog manager
  • Experience with mainframe batch processing
  • Ability to write and debug COBOL-DB2 programs
  • Proficiency in COBOL-IMS programming
  • Knowledge of JCL utilities and procedures
  • Familiarity with VSAM access methods and control areas
  • Experience with CICS system programming
  • Understanding of IMS database administration
  • Proficiency in Assembler macros and data representation
  • Ability to write and debug RPG-ILE programs
  • Knowledge of PL/I data structures and declarations
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The hiring managers felt that through the technical questions that they asked during the panel interviews, they were able to tell which candidates had better scores, and differentiated with those who did not score as well. They are highly satisfied with the quality of candidates shortlisted with the Adaface screening.


85%
reduction in screening time

IBM Mainframe Hiring Test FAQs

Can I combine multiple skills into one custom assessment?

Yes, absolutely. Custom assessments are set up based on your job description, and will include questions on all must-have skills you specify. Here's a quick guide on how you can request a custom test.

Do you have any anti-cheating or proctoring features in place?

We have the following anti-cheating features in place:

  • Non-googleable questions
  • IP proctoring
  • Screen proctoring
  • Web proctoring
  • Webcam proctoring
  • Plagiarism detection
  • Secure browser
  • Copy paste protection

Read more about the proctoring features.

How do I interpret test scores?

The primary thing to keep in mind is that an assessment is an elimination tool, not a selection tool. A skills assessment is optimized to help you eliminate candidates who are not technically qualified for the role, it is not optimized to help you find the best candidate for the role. So the ideal way to use an assessment is to decide a threshold score (typically 55%, we help you benchmark) and invite all candidates who score above the threshold for the next rounds of interview.

What experience level can I use this test for?

Each Adaface assessment is customized to your job description/ ideal candidate persona (our subject matter experts will pick the right questions for your assessment from our library of 10000+ questions). This assessment can be customized for any experience level.

Does every candidate get the same questions?

Yes, it makes it much easier for you to compare candidates. Options for MCQ questions and the order of questions are randomized. We have anti-cheating/ proctoring features in place. In our enterprise plan, we also have the option to create multiple versions of the same assessment with questions of similar difficulty levels.

I'm a candidate. Can I try a practice test?

No. Unfortunately, we do not support practice tests at the moment. However, you can use our sample questions for practice.

What is the cost of using this test?

You can check out our pricing plans.

Can I get a free trial?

Yes, you can sign up for free and preview this test.

I just moved to a paid plan. How can I request a custom assessment?

Here is a quick guide on how to request a custom assessment on Adaface.

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