I’ve got a practical test that I use for QA/Test roles. It’s a pretty basic spec for a page with a dozen fields including an email address and a calculated field based on an age that on successful submission of data emails the address with some information. The applicant is given a set time to assess the spec, draft an outline test plan (I’m expecting them to google a sample and do a very brief edit), to identify areas where they need extra info and start to outline the test cases for key areas of the spec and give data examples for fields that have a special requirement such as how to test for a valid email address (this can be a URL to a relevant article).
The spec has a couple of holes in it that, if presented in the real world, I’d expect a tester to question with the analyst (especially around the age calculation - age on what date for example).
Over the last 18 months the only applicant who spotted the biggest hole in my spec had no formal qualifications and wasn’t even working as a tester at that point. The majority of those who did have qualifications gave an “email@example.com” type example for a valid email address and “abc” as invalid rather than considering number of characters, valid characters etc and didn’t consider what should happen if the email failed to send (verifying send, re-queueing, notifying the user etc).
If you’re thinking about taking qualifications make sure it’s for the right reason and for an area that you’re going to use. I’m always wary of an application with a long list of qualifications taken over a relatively short time because I’m far more interested in experience and practical application of what’s been learnt.
A relatively new tester in one of my teams failed their foundation course (exams just don’t work for some people) but applies the knowledge gained by studying the course on a daily basis and certainly works a long way above foundation level whereas in the past I’ve seen testers who have a massive list of qualifications fail to test to any sort of acceptable standard.
Being able to talk about what you’ve learnt and show how you’ve put it to use is far more important to me than being able to say you’ve got a qualification.