Pretest Draft as of 1-29-1998
This web version of the test is Javascript enabled, simply work through the problems selecting your problems on-screen, then click score at the bottom and your grade will be given. The questions you missed will be marked with a checkmark and those you got wrong will be marked with an X mark.

This test in intended to allow prospective students to confirm that they have learned and retained enough technical background material to succeed in the Network Science Certificate. We believe prospective NEC students should be able to get at least 80% of these questions right, with no references or calculators. The questions are not nearly so hard as those on a final exam in an undergraduate course, instead they test whether you understand the basic concepts from math, physics, and computer science that you will need in our course.

1. What is the result of dividing 3x107 by 2x105 ?
a. .667x107
b. 1.5x107
c. 1.5x102
d. 1.5x101.4

2. The binary number 1100110 has the same value as the decimal number:
a. 102
b. 1.1 x 106
c. 204
d. 66

3. What is the value of log10(1000) ?
a. 3
b. 100
c. -2
d. cannot be determined without a calculator or tables

4. What is the result of the binary addition 100101 + 1110 ?
a. 101111
b. 101011
c. 110011
d. none of the above

5. Which statement is true of the equation 2x2 - 6x + 4 = 0 ?
a. it contains a third order polynomial
b. there are two values of x that satisfy this equation
c. it can be solved using the binomial theorem
d. its graph in Cartesian coordinates is a circle

6. Consider a right triangle. What can always be said about the length of its longest leg?
a. it is equal to the sum of the length of the other two sides
b. it can be calculated by dividing the sum of the lengths of the other two sides by 180 degrees
c. it is equal to the side of a square inscribed in a circle that has a diameter which is the sum of all three sides
d. its square is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides

7. Which if the following is true of the Gaussian ("normal") distribution?
a. its probability density function has non-zero value as the horizontal axis goes toward both plus and minus infinity
b. its integral from minus infinity to infinity has value one
c. it describes random noise well
d. all of the above

8. Which is true of the function sin(x)?
a. at certain real values of x it is undefined
b. it is equal to 1/cos(x)
c. its graph has the same shape as cos(x), shifted along the horizontal axis
d. there is only one value of x for which sin(x)=1

9. The derivative of a function f(x) has the value of
a. the area, up to x, under the curve that results from graphing f(x)
b. the same as f(x)/x
c. the slope, at each value of x, of the curve that results from graphing f(x)
d. not possible to determine without knowing more than f(x)

10. The integral of a function f(x) as the value of
a. the area, up to x, under the curve that results from graphing f(x)
b. the same as f2(x)
c. the slope, at each value of x, of the curve that results from graphing f(x)
d. the sum of all f2(x) up to x

11. Given that the pa = the probability of event "a" happening and pb = the probability of event "b" happening, under what condition can we say that the probability that both happen at the same time is equal to pa times pb ?
a. a and b never happen at the same time
b. a only happens after b
c. a and b always happen at the same time
d. the two events are completely independent

12. Which statement is true regarding the wavelength of a radio wave?
a. it is inversely proportional to the frequency of the wave
b. it is inversely proportional to the rate of signal propagation in the medium
c. it is proportional to the square of the wave’s energy
d. its value is a constant, which was discovered by Max Planck

13. A light wave strikes a smooth surface at some angle of incidence A and is reflected at some angle of reflection B. Which is true?
a. B = 2A
b. B = A/2
c. B = A
d. B = A2

14. What do light waves and radio waves have in common?
a. they are both absorbed by the same sort of materials
b. they are both forms of electromagnetic energy
c. they always have a frequency between 1 and 1000 megaHertz
d. They can both be detected by a photodiode

15. The term "gigaHertz" means
a. millions of cycles per second
b. trillions of cycles per second
c. millionths of cycles per second
d. billions of cycles per second

16. The primary purpose of a compiler is to
a. display a program on the computer screen
b. run a program and display its output
c. link together the modules of a program
d. translate a program from a source language to a machine language

17. Computer programming languages normally have facilities for which?
a. data description, iteration, decisions
b. implosions and explosions
c. linking program files to make executable programs
d. querying a database management system

18. Normal functions of an operating system include
a. translating a program from a source language to a machine language
b. file management and task management
c. accounting for the cost of computer operation
d. providing instructions for use of application programs

19. An algorithm tells
a. how to understand a C language program
b. how the data in a file is formatted
c. how to perform a computation
d. the order of magnitude of a large number

20. Data structures are important to programs because
a. they define the sequence in which a program performs its functions
b. they organize the data to permit effective computation
c. they are written in a different language than the program’s procedures
d. there is only one data structure that can work with a given program logic

Score =

Updated: 7/24/1998

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