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COBOL Interview Questions & Answers - Learning Mode

COBOL Interview Questions & Answers - Learning Mode

COBOL (/ˈkoʊbɒl/, an acronym for common business-oriented language) is a compiled English-like computer programming language designed for business use. It is imperative, procedural and, since 2002, object-oriented. COBOL is primarily used in business, finance, and administrative systems for companies and governments. Developers‎: ‎CODASYL‎, ‎ANSI‎, ‎ISO COBOL was developed in 1959 by the Conference on Data Systems Languages (CODASYL). This committee was a formed by a joint effort of industry, major universities, and the United States Government.

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COBOL Interview Questions & Answers - Learning Mode
Try COBOL Interview Questions & Answers - Exam Mode
Question: Give brief me about changeman & expidator tool.

Answer: Expeditor Tool :

This is a debugging tool. Handly tool mostly widely used everywhere. There are two types of expediting, online exped and batch exped.

For online exped, you may first need to compile and link your module. Supply your link to the exped job. The exped will pick the module. You can use breakpoint for exped.

Similar is the case for Batch Exped.

Its all depends how your envirnornment allows you to set up.

Question: Write a COBOL program for Matrix Addition.

Answer: identification division.
programe id. x.
enviroment division.
data division.
warking-storage section.
procedure division.
inline perform to reach 2y2 or 3y3 matrix. e.g.
Perform varying I from 1 by 1 until i > 3
Perform varying J from 1 by 1
until J > 3
Add Matrix1(I,J) to

Question: 77 I PI 9.

What output/msg is likely when this program is executed thru JCL?

Answer: This loop will give compilation error becoz value of I is declared for only one digit , when loop reaches to 10 it will find mismatching b/w I & the current value i.e. 10. Source:
Question: Explain the difference between an internal and an external sort, the pros and cons, internal sort syntax etc.

Answer: External sort is performed by SORT pgm. Internal sort gives you data handling flexibility and it takes less secondary memory. For huge Volume of files it's better to use internal sort else large amount of space will be required in external sort. any comments...? Source:
Question: What is meant by abbend and what is the difference between abbend and error.
when does and why dose it come.
what are the types?

Answer: Abend is short for Abnormal end, abend is a term used to describe when a program or task ends without warning. Generally when an abend is encountered the user will receive some type of error message.

Error occurs because of Syntax problems or dataset disposition issues etc, whereas Abend occurs because of some functional problems

SB37 - End of Volume
SE37 - Maximum extents reached
S013 - Member not found
S80A - Region limit violation Source:
Question: What is the difference between index and subscript?

Answer: Subscript refers to the array occurrence while index is the displacement (in no of bytes) from the beginning of the array. An index can only be modified using PERFORM, SEARCH & SET.

Need to have index for a table in order to use SEARCH, SEARCH ALL. Source:
Question: Write a COBOL program for Matrix Addition?
What are the sections available in Data division in COBOL?
Explain me about Report Section.

Answer: 1) Use inline perform to reach 2y2 or 3y3 matrix. e.g.
Perform varying I from 1 by 1 until i > 3
Perform varying J from 1 by 1
until J > 3
Add Matrix1(I,J) to

2)File Control Setion, Working Storage Section, Linkage Section, Reporting Section, Screen Section. Source:
Question: Explain call by context by comparing it to other calls.

Answer: I think this Q&A should say "CONTENT" rather than "context". Source:
Question: How is sign stored in a COMP field ?

Answer: In the most significant bit. Bit is on if -ve, off if +ve. Source:
Question: When is a scope terminator mandatory?

Answer: Scope terminators are mandatory for in-line PERFORMS and EVALUATE statements. For readability, it's recommended coding practice to always make scope terminators explicit. Source:
Question: What is file status 39 ?

Answer: Mismatch in LRECL or BLOCKSIZE or RECFM between your COBOL program & the JCL (or the dataset label). You will get file status 39 on an OPEN. Source:
Question: Can we reverse the string in cobol ? See the following problem :

77 SRNAME PIC X(10).


Answer: we can reverse the string using cobol prog like this :

01 STR2 PIC X(1).
01 STR3 PIC X(7) VALUE SPACE. Source:
Question: What is the difference between a binary search and a sequential search? What are the pertinent COBOL commands?

Answer: In a binary search the table element key values must be in ascending or descending sequence. The table is 'halved' to search for equal to, greater than or less than conditions until the element is found. In a sequential search the table is searched from top to bottom, so (ironically) the elements do not have to be in a specific sequence. The binary search is much faster for larger tables, while sequential works well with smaller ones. SEARCH ALL is used for binary searches; SEARCH for se Source:
Question: What is SSRANGE, NOSSRANGE?

Answer: These are compiler options w.r.t subscript out of range checking. NOSSRANGE is the default and if chosen, no run time error will be flagged if your index or subscript goes out of the permissible range. Source:
Question: What is the maximum size of a 01 level item in in COBOL II?

Answer: 16777215 Source:
Question: What is an in line PERFORM? When would you use it? Anything else to say about it?

Answer: The PERFORM and END-PERFORM statements bracket all COBOL II statements between them. The COBOL equivalent is to PERFORM or PERFORM THRU a paragraph. In line PERFORMs work as long as there are no internal GO TOs, not even to an exit. The in line PERFORM for readability should not exceed a page length - often it will reference other PERFORM paragraphs.
Question: What does EXIT do?

Answer: Does nothing! If used, must be the only sentence within a paragraph. Source:
Question: What is SET TO TRUE all about, anyway?

Answer: The set to true is done for 88 level variables to set that flag

For eg: 05 ws-change-flag pic x(1).

88 ws-chg value 'Y'

88 ws-no-chg value 'N'

when set ws-chg to true is done then ws-change-flag contains value 'Y' .It is same as move 'Y' to ws-change-flag

If the statement is set ws-no-chg to true then ws-change-flag contains value 'N'.It is same is move 'N' to ws-c Source:
Question: What is LENGTH in COBOL II?

Answer: LENGTH acts like a special register to tell the length of a group or elementary item.
Question: What is the difference between SEARCH and SEARCH ALL?

Answer: What is the difference between SEARCH and SEARCH ALL? Source:

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