The CSPA Exams

There are two types of exams: the CSPA Core Exam™, and CSPA Subject Exams™. We currently offer two subject-based exams — a front-end web, and a back-end web one.

CSPA Core Exam™

The CSPA Core Exam™ is a general software test that covers broad-based knowledge of seven topic areas.

It is a career-readiness exam intended assess both foundational computer science knowledge, as well as practical skills and experience in modern computing technology.

Insight into the former gives us an understanding of how adaptable and quickly the candidate is able to learn, as well as their ability to solve problems. Assessing the latter ensures the candidate is able to contribute to specific work environments with limited ramp-up time.

View sample exam View sample score report

Section Format Duration Topics Scaled Points
A Multiple Choice 50-70 questions 85 minutes FE, OPS, ARCH, DB, and SEC 100 to 400
B Essay and Coding 2-5 questions 1-2 hours Various, including front-end and/or back-end web 100 to 400
B Short Code Answer 3 questions 3 hours CORE 200 to 800
Total 5-6 hours 400 to 1600

CSPA Subject Exam: Front-End Web Development™

The CSPA Subject Exam: Front-End Web Development™ assesses the candidate's ability to read and write rich, interactive, HTML documents.

This exam purely focuses on front-end web technologies. It does not require the candidate to understand back-end server code, such as MVC frameworks, nor an ability for aesthetics and graphic design. However, candidates who do well possess strong general coding skills, as well as a solid ability to implement UI/UX design specifications.

Section Format Duration Topics Scaled Points
A Multiple Choice 20 questions 20 minutes HTML, CSS, JavaScript, HTTP knowledge 30 to 100
B Short Code Answer 3 questions 100 minutes Coding algorithms and data structures using JavaScript 70 to 300
C Programming Project 1 Github repo, 4 issues 24 hours Creating and manipulating static and interactive HTML, CSS, and JavaScript web pages 100 to 400
Total 2 hours plus one day 200 to 800

CSPA Subject Exam: Back-End Web Development™

The CSPA Subject Exam: Back-End Web Development™ assesses the candidate's ability to navigate web server logic and build APIs within an MVC-like framework.

Section Format Duration Topics Scaled Points
A Multiple Choice 20 questions 20 minutes OPS, ARCH, DB, and SEC 30 to 100
B Short Code Answer 2 questions 80 minutes Coding algorithms and data structures using Python, JavaScript, or PHP 40 to 200
C Open Ended Response 1 question 20 minutes ARCH 30 to 100
D Programming Project 1 Github repo, 5 issues 24 hours Reading and comprehending code within a Node.js web framework, adding new features, and fixing bugs. 100 to 400
Total 2 hours plus one day 200 to 800

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