How to answer MSR questions
The trick to MSR questions is simply to be really good at taking notes. Do not try to take on this entire problem in one straight shot. Instead break it up before diving in. Here is how to do it.
Step 1: Read the problem
This should really go without saying, but you need to actually take the time to read through the material in front of you. I know there is a lot of information and that you are on a time limit, but do not be afraid to spend up to 2 minutes reading the problem and taking notes. As you read, make three lists.
- Information that is critical to understanding the background and underlying case.
- Information that is probably going to be important once you get to the questions.
- Details that probably are not going to be overly important, but could come up in a few situations.
Step 2: Outline the Tabs
This is a quick step, but an important one nonetheless. Write a brief one sentence summary of the overall contents of each tab. The first tab almost always contains information about the background of the problem, but the other tabs could contain just about anything. In the heat of the moment it is easy to mix up tabs and make mistakes. Avoid this by making a quick note of what is in each tab.
Step 3: Solve
With the groundwork laid, it is time to address the actual questions at hand. Work deliberately and refer to your notes often.
MSR demands more prep work than most other question types. The planning stage can seem like it takes up to much time, but it is key to helping you stay organized and accurate. If you allow yourself 2 minutes to read and take notes, you still have a minute and a half to 2 minutes to work on each question which should be plenty.
How do you feel about MSR? I find that it is one of those topics that divides people into one of two camps. Some testers hate the problems. Some love them. Let us know which camp you are in. Additionally. If you have any tips for MSR please share them in the comments section! We would love to hear from you.