25+ CICS Interview Questions & Answers [ TOP & MOST ASKED ]
CICS Interview Questions and Answers

25+ CICS Interview Questions & Answers [ TOP & MOST ASKED ]

Last updated on 04th Jul 2020, Blog, Interview Questions

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These CICS Interview Questions have been designed especially to get you acquainted with the nature of questions you may encounter during your interview for the subject of CICS. As per our experience, good interviewers hardly plan to ask any particular question during an interview – normally questions start with some basic concept of the subject and later, they continue based on further discussion and how you answer.

1) What’s the CICS command used to access the current date and time?

Ans:

ASKTIME command is used to access current date and time.

2) How do you dynamically set the CURSOR position to a specific field?

Ans:

MOVE -1 to FIELD + L field. Mention CURSOR option in the SEND command.

3) Which command is used to release a record on which exclusive control is gained?

Ans:

EXEC CICS UNLOCK END-EXEC.

4) What are the attribute values of Skipper and Stopper fields?

Ans:

For Skipper field, use ASKIP and for stopper field use PROT.

5) How do you set the MDT option to ‘ON’ status, even if data is not entered?

Ans:

Mention FSET option in DFHMDF or set it dynamically in the program using FIELD+A attribute field.

6) Which CICS service transaction is used to gain accessibility to CICS control tables?

Ans:

CEDA transaction is used to gain accessibility to control tables.

7) Into which table is the terminal id registered?

Ans:

Terminal Control Table.

8) What is a mapset?

Ans:

Mapset is a collection of maps which are linked and edited together to form a load module. It should have a PPT entry. It can have names from 1 to 7 chars.

9) What is the function of the CICS translator?

Ans:

The CICS translator converts the EXEC CICS commands into call statements for a specific programming language.

10) What are the differences between an EXEC CICS XCTL and an EXEC CICS LINK command?

Ans:

The XCTL command transfers the control to an application program at the same logical level and it does not expect the control back, while the LINK command passes the control to an application program at the next logical level and expects the control back.

11) What is EIB? How can it be used?

Ans:

CICS automatically provides some system-related information to each task in a form of EXEC Interface Block (EIB), which is unique to the CICS command level. We can use all the fields of EIB in our application programs right away.

12) What information can be obtained from the EIBRCODE?

Ans:

The EIBRCODE tells the application program if the last CICS command was executed successfully or not.

13) What is the effect of including the TRANSID in the EXEC CICS RETURN command?

Ans:

The next time the end-user presses an attention key, CICS will start the transaction specified in the TRANSID option.

14) What is the function of the EXEC CICS HANDLE CONDITION command?

Ans:

To specify the paragraph or program label to which the control is to be passed if the “handle condition” occurs.

15) What is the difference between the INTO and the SET option in the EXEC CICS RECEIVE MAP command?

Ans:

The INTO option moves the information in the TIOA into the reserved specified area, while the SET option simply returns the address of the TIOA to the specified BLL cell or “address-of” a linkage section.

16) What is the function of DFHMDF BMS macro?

Ans:

The DFHMDF macro defines fields, literal, and characteristics of a field.

17) What is the difference between getting the system time with EIBTIME and ASKTIME command?

Ans:

The ASKTIME command is used to request the current date and time. Whereas, the EIBTIME field has the value at the task initiation time.

18) What is the function of the Terminal Control Table?

Ans:

The TCT defines the characteristics of each terminal with which CICS can communicate.

19) What is a deadlock?

Ans:

A deadlock occurs when a task is waiting for a resource held by another task which, in turn, is waiting for a resource held by the first task.

20) Explain the term Multi Region Operation.

Ans:

MRO is the mechanism by which different CICS address spaces with in the same CPU can communicate and share resources.

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    21) What is meant by program reentrance?

    Ans:

    A program is considered reentrant if more than one task can execute the code without interfering with the other tasks execution.

    22) What is the common work area?

    Ans:

    The common work area is a storage area that can be accessed by any task in a CICS system.

    23) What is the meaning and use of the EIBAID field?

    Ans:

    EIBAID is a key field in the execute interface block; it indicates which attention key the user pressed to initiate the task.

    24) What is BMS?

    Ans:

    BMS stands for Basic Map Support. It allows you to code assembler level programs to define screens.

    25) What is meant by MDT? Furthermore, comment on FRSET and FSET ?

    Ans:

    • MDT basically stands for Modified Data Tag. If the modification of the field has to be done on the screen, then MDT acts as a bit of an attribute byte. MDT basically comes into play during an input operation.
    • FRSET is used to reset MDT. The field will be sent till the time the MDT has been set again by FRSET.FSET is basically in charge of ensuring that the field is transmitted by MDT. FSET basically comes into play during an output operation.

    26) Explain how the DSECT parameter is used in BMS ?

    Ans:

    DSECT parameter is basically used in BMS in order to give shape to a symbolic map.

    27) Mention the content that is present inside a PPT ?

    Ans:

    Source, Length, Lang, Use Count, Rescount DFHRPL number are the contents that are present inside a PPT.

    28) Can QSAM files be accessed from CICS?

    Ans:

    No. It is not possible to access a QSAM file from CICS.

    29) Can ESDS files be accessed from CICS?

    Ans:

    Yes. It is possible to access ESDS files from CICS.

    30) In a CICS program, how will you read a VSAM file?

    Ans:

    VSAM file can be easily read in a CICS program using File Control Commands. The four types of commands for this process are forward, backward, random and sequential.

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    31) What does EIB mean in CICS?

    Ans:

    EIB basically stands for Execute Interface Block. One EIB is attached to each and every task and this stays with the task till its execution. The EIB of all the programs remains unchanged throughout the process. In the read mode of any COBOL program, EIB fields can be accessed.

    32) What does a CICS translator do?

    Ans:

    There is a linkage area associated with every program. In this area, the EIB block is generated by the CICS translator.

    33) What is meant by an attribute byte?

    Ans:

    An attribute byte is basically used in CICS to define a particular transmission field or display. It basically contributes to the output field of the program.

    34) List out all the tables that are a part of CICS ?

    Ans:

    The tables that are a part of CICS are PPT, SIT, PCT, JCT, FCT, SNT, DCT, SRT, RCT and TCT.

    35) Explain the uses that are associated with TSQ and TDQ ?

    Ans:

    TSQ and TDQ are actively used in CICS for temporary data storage purposes.

    36) Can a TSQ of one particular transaction be accessed from an alternate transaction?

    Ans:

    Yes. It is possible for a TSQ to be accessed from an alternate transaction provided as both of the transactions are running in the identical regions.

    37) In a particular CICS program, what is the procedure to allocate dynamic memory?

    Ans:

    All you have to do is use a GETMAIN in order to dynamically allocate memory in CICS.

    38) What is the procedure to read a statement from TSQ?

    Ans:

    In order to read a statement from TSQ, you will have to use Temporary Storage Read Command.

    39) Whenever a CICS program goes through a compilation process, there is always some extra code that is added to the program. Where exactly does this new piece of code go to and what is it termed as ?

    Ans:

    This new piece of code basically goes to DFHEIBLK, and it is commonly termed as DFHCOMMAREA.

    40) If we wish to create a BMS executable, what are the basic steps that the user has to go through?

    Ans:

    In order to create a BMS executable, the user has to assemble in order to create CSECT, as well as Link.

    41) RECEIVE consists of BUFFER options in it. What is the significance of this option?

    Ans:

    BUFFER option basically connects with the terminal buffer and fetches the total data-stream.

    42) In case if the user inputs the characters which turn out to be uppercase, then what is the procedure to close that condition?

    Ans:

    The easiest way to turn off the uppercase option is to make use of the ASIS option that is available on RECEIVE.

    43) If we say that BMS Length of field = 0, then what does that mean?

    Ans:

    This basically points to the fact that the data was not properly entered in a given field.

    44) Is Length = 0 sufficient to ascertain that the field has been modified?

    Ans:

    No. There is no point in checking the possibility of modification of the field using Length = 0 as it requires ERASE OFF.

    45) Let us say you have a collection of multiple maps in CICS. So if you are asked to determine the exact storage space that is available in a symbolic map, then how will you compute it?

    Ans:

    Storage of the maps is always redefined before any other aspects, and this is the reason why the storage of the largest map will naturally be more than all the other maps that are available to the user.

    46) Explain how PA key is different from PF key?

    Ans:

    The primary function of PF keys is to start the transmission of data that has been modified. PA keys are used only to wake the task up. Henceforth, the starting process of transmission of data requires both PF key as well as PA key.

    47) Explain the primary significance of intra-partition and extra-partition TDQs ?

    Ans:

    • CICS has various batch regions in it, and there are certain datasets, which are primarily used for communication channels between CICS and the batch regions that fall out of the domain of CICS. Extra-partition TDQs help in this aforementioned process.
    • On the contrary, intrapartition TDQs are basically channels of communication that are present within the region of CICS. These channels are divided into multiple queues.

    48) Every map is categorized into multiple fields, and there are three common working storage fields present for each of these respective fields. Mention those?

    Ans:

    The three common working storage fields in CICS are attribute, length and output/input field. Without these three fields, the maps cannot be categorized respectively.

    49) When you do a START, what will be the value of EIBCALEN?

    Ans:

    Zero.

    50) How are VSAM files Read in CICS pgms?

    Ans:

    File Control Commands. Random, Sequential, forward and backward.

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    51) How will you access a VSAM file using an alternate index?

    Ans: 

    Thru the path. Define path as an FCT and use normal File control commands.

    52) How do you rollback data written to an ESDS file?

    Ans:

    Define the file as recoverable. In cases where records have been inserted into the file, you may need to run a batch program to logically delete the inserted records.

    53) I have done a START BROWSE on a VSAM dataset. Can I do another START BROWSE without doing an END BROWSE?

    Ans: 

    No.

    54) Can you access QSAM (seq ) files from CICS ?

    Ans: 

    No.

    55) Can you access ESDS files from CICS ?

    Ans: 

    Yes.

    56) How do you place the cursor on a particular position on the screen? 

    Ans:

    Move -1 to the length attribute of the field and use the CURSOR option.

    57)Define the field with IC in the BMS map.

    Ans:

    Use CURSOR(n m)??

    58) What are the two outputs created as a result of generation of a map?

    Ans:

    The map copybook and the load module.

    59) What is the difference between physical map and symbolic map?               

    Ans: 

    The physical map is the load module and the symbolic map is the data structure.

    60) How do you use extended attributes ?

    Ans:

    Define EXTANT=YES and the correct terminal type.

    61) What are the 3 working storage fields used for every field on the map?

    Ans: 

    Length, attribute and input/output field.

    62) What is MDT? What are FSET, FRSET ?

    Ans:

    Modified Data Tag. Bit in the attribute byte indicating modification of the field on screen. Happens on an input operation.
    FSET. Sets MDT on to ensure the field is transmitted. Happens on an output operation.
    FRSET. Resets MDT. Until this happens, the field continues to be sent.

    63) What is the use of the DSECT parameter in BMS?

    Ans:

    Is the parameter to generate a symbolic map.

    64) Do you receive the attribute byte in the symbolic map?

    Ans: 

    One Of yes.

    65) What is effect on RECEIVE MAP when

    Ans:

    • PF key is pressed? Data transmission may happen,
    • PA key is pressed? Data transmission will not happen.

    66) What are SEND MAP MAPONLY & SEND MAP DATAONLY ?

    Ans: 

    • MAP ONLY – to send the map alone, without any data. Eg: used for sending Menu screens.
    • DATA ONLY – to send data alone, without sending the screen layout again. Eg: used for refreshing the screen data.

    67) What is the difference between a PF key & a PA key ?

    Ans:

    PF keys wake up the task and transmit modified data, PA keys only wake up the task.

    68) Name the macros used to define the following:

    Ans:

    • MAP MAPSET FIELD
    • DFHMSD DFHMDI DFHMDF

    69) Can you use OCCURS in a BMS map? If you do, what are the issues related with its use?

    Ans: 

    Yes. cannot use groups by clause???

    70) Can you define multiple maps in a BMS mapset?

    Ans: 

    Yes.

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    71) How is the storage determined in the symbolic map, if you have multiple maps?

    Ans: 

    Storage for maps redefine the first. This means the largest map has to be the first.

    72) What is the meaning of BMS length of field = 0?

    Ans:

    Data was not entered in the field

    73) Can you simply check if length = 0 for checking if a field was modified?

    Ans: 

    No, not if ERASE EOF was used.

    74) What do you do if you do not want characters entered by the user to be folded to uppercase ?

    Ans: 

    Use ASIS option on RECEIVE.

    75) What does the BUFFER option in RECEIVE mean ?

    Ans:

    Brings the entire datastream from the terminal buffer.

    76) What are the steps you go through to create a BMS executable?

    Ans: 

    Assemble to create CSECT and Link

    77) When you compile a CICS program, the (pre)compiler puts an extra chunk of code. Where does it get included and that is it called? What is its length?

    Ans:

    DFHEIBLK, DFHCOMMAREA.

    78) List all the CICS tables and explain their contents.

    Ans:

    • PPT SIT
    • PCT JCT
    • FCT SNT
    • DCT SRT
    • RCT TCT

    79) I have written a CICS program. What tables should I setup to run this program?

    Ans: 

    PPT, PCT, (FCT, DCT, RCT (if needed)).

    80) In which table would you make an entry for a BMS map?

    Ans:

    PPT

    81) What is the content of the PPT entry?

    Ans:

    Length, Source, Use count, Lang, Res count DFHRPL number

    82) For a CICS-DB2 program, how is the plan referenced?

    Ans:

    Uses a RCT table.

    83) How is dynamic memory allocated within a CICS application program?

    Ans:

    Use a GETMAIN

    84) Can you issue SQL COMMIT from a CICS program?

    Ans: 

    Yes.

    85) What is the other way of terminating a transaction?

    Ans: 

    EXEC CICS SYNCPOINT. Assuming it is a LUW. This will not end the Xn.

    86) What is an ASRA abend ?

    Ans:

    Any data exception problem SOC7, SOC4 etc.

    87) What is an AEY9 abend ?

    Ans:

    DB2/IDMS not up.

    88) What are the situations under which NEWCOPY is required ?

    Ans:

    When a program has been used in CICS atleast once and then changed and recompiled.

    89) What is a 2 phase commit?

    Ans: 

    What is EXEC CICS RETRIEVE ?
    Used by STARTed tasks to get the parameters passed to them.

    90) Name some important fields in the EIB block ?

    Ans: 

    EIBRESP, EIBCALEN, EIBRRCDE, EIBTASK, EIBDATE, EIBTIME

    91) Can you use DYNAMIC calls in CICS ?

    Ans:

    Yes, the called routine must be defined in PPT and the calling program must use a CALL identifier..

    92) How do you handle errors in CICS pgms ?

    Ans:

    Check EIBRESP after the call or use the HANDLE condition.

    93) Suppose pgm A passes 30 bytes to pgm B thru commarea and pgm B has defined its DFHCOMMAREA to be 50 bytes . Is there a problem ?

    Ans:

    Yes, if B tries to access bytes 31-50.

    94) When an XCTL is done, does the tranid change ? Is a new task created ? Does it cause an implicit SYNCPOINT to be issued ?

    Ans:

    No, No, Yes.

    95) What is the difference between START and XCTL ?

    Ans:

    START is used to start a new task. It is an interval control command. XCTL is used to pass control to a program within the same task. It is a program control command.

    96) What is the usage of language in the PPT entry?

    Ans:

    Language interface and call parameters???

    97) Can you have CICS code in a copybook? If yes, what happens during compilation?

    Ans:

    Yes. Needs to be preprocessed.

    98) What is an AICA abend?

    Ans:

    Runaway Task.

    99) How would you resolve an ASRA abend?

    Ans:

    In COBOL II start with CEBR, and get the offset/instruction.

    100) What is CICS ?

    Ans:

    CICS – Customer Information Control System

    CICS is a telecommunications monitor software product from IBM. The IBM mainframe operating systems are batch and time-sharing. CICS supports the development and execution of online applications. It does this by

    – communicating with terminals

    – sending and receiving formatted data

    – accessing files and database

    CICS itself is a batch job running on the operating system with high priority. CICS does scheduling of programs that run under the CICS region.

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