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Confidence comes from knowing you really can do your job.
Imagine that as a network administrator, you're asked to use the Linux command line to allow all employees to open and read files on a certain company network drive.

What is the best way to see if you really can do this job?
Method 1: Multiple Choice Question
If you're using the multiple choice question, the question would look like this:

You are the network administrator at a company that uses Linux OS. You're asked to allow all employees to open and read a file in the Common directory in the company network drive. Which command should you use in the Linux command line?
  1. chmod 764 /common/*
  2. chmod a+r /common/*
  3. cd 662 /common*
  4. A or B
  5. None of the Above
Method 2: Simulation Question
Using a simulation question, we can simply ask you to perform this task using a simulated environment.
Why simulation questions?
Compared to multiple choice questions, simulation questions are better for measuring what people can actually do for the following reasons:
Benefits of Simulation Questions
  1. More authentic and direct
    Multiple choice questions only ask people to recognize a correct answer, but they don’t measure if they can really do a job. Simulation questions ask people to actually perform a task. In a real-world situation, people can always check to see if they did a job right. So, you might not remember exactly how to type a command (e.g., chmod or chmot?), but there is always a way for you to verify that you have done your job correctly. This means that memorization is not really required to perform real-world tasks. Therefore, simulation questions are more authentic because they directly measure what you can do.
  2. More accurate
    A typical multiple choice question gives you a 20 - 25% chance of getting the right answer, even if you pick an answer randomly. If you don't know the right answer, you can use the process of elimination to improve the probability of answering correctly. Simulation questions require you to really know how to perform a task. There is no guessing, so it's harder to cheat. Because of this, simulation questions give more accurate assessment results.
  3. More straightforward and fair
    In the real world, there are multiple ways to complete a task. The method you use often depends on the situation. Multiple choice questions are often ineffective in incorporating multiple correct answers. Answers such as “A and B, A and C, but not B, or None of the Above” make tests more confusing and difficult. If we want to measure if someone can complete a task, we should simply ask them to perform the task. There is no confusion. They can figure out the scenario in the environment, complete the task, and verify their action. This makes test taking much more straightforward and fair.
Performance leads to real confidence
If we want to measure only knowledge, recognizing correct answers is sufficient in most cases; however if we want to assess if someone can really do the job, then we need to go beyond recognition. That's why our TestOut Pro exams are simulation-based. And that's why you can get real confidence because we ask you do the job, not just recognize the correct answer.
Joseph Selph works for IBM
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