[lpi-discuss] Importance of style?

Mark Miller mark.miller at lpi.org
Tue Oct 11 09:08:10 EDT 2005

On Tue, 2005-10-11 at 13:47 +0100, Bruce Richardson wrote:
> Is style important in the context of LPI exam questions?  I noticed,
> when taking my exam, that almost all the command line examples where a
> text file was to be manipulated were in the form
> 	cat file.txt | grep ...
> Now, this is bad style and can also be bad practice, since it will impose
> a significant extra overhead if an operation is going to be repeated
> many times (as part of a script, for example).
> I mentioned this to someone who took the exam at the same time as me and
> they said that the questions may be phrased like that to make it easier
> for less experienced people to understand what was going on and that the
> imporant thing was that they picked the correct answer.  On the other
> hand, I don't think it's asking much for someone to be able to recognise
> 'grep file.txt' as opposed to 'cat file.txt | grep) and I don't think
> it's helpful for the LPI examination questions to be reinforcing bad
> practice.

Some items are indeed phrased a certain way to test knowledge of things
that are, shall we say, "between the lines".  Some may indeed be an
older style of writing scripts and some are just plan bad form.  Anyine
taking tests that feel that such a situation exists should make a
comment on that item and I will see them and evaluate them.  Newer items
being written won't have such a form unless there is an underlying
reason.  That said, most items won't be highly optimized because we are
trying to clearly test on a certain bit of knowledge and there is no
advantage to obscure or "trick" forms.

Practice is a bit dicey in that it can and does change from place to
place and time to time. Most items should be written in a somewhat
pedantic fashion actually.

Mark Miller
Program Manager
Exam Development Level 1
Linux Professional Institute

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