How to apply Testing in Real World !

Quite often I receive mails from friends asking for some testing exercises. According to me, if you are alert enough, you can find lots of testing exercises in your day to day life. Can’t agree with me? Read on…

Today I got an SMS (Forward of course) from a friend. The content of that message was as follows:

“If you are forced to draw money by a robber in an ATM, then just enter your PIN number in reverse order. By doing so, you will be allowed to withdraw money from you’re a/c and at the same time the cop will be informed! So the cop will reach the ATM in a short while and rescue you.”

At first sight, this might seem a very useful message. But a tester is always trained and taught to be skeptical about everything. And I am no exception. So how could I take this piece of information as true, without making further observations/investigations?

So I put on my tester’s shoes and tried to analyze it. And here are my observations:

1. If this was true, then I should have known this before. Because, if it was true, the bank should have informed me about this when I created my a/c and was given my ATM card. How could they miss to transfer such an important instruction?

2. There are hundreds of banks world over. But this SMS never told about the bank which provides this facility. That meant this information was surely incomplete (if not incorrect).

3. Now coming to the loose link of the message. At some point, the SMS tells about entering reverse PIN number in order to activate some security system. At first sight, this sounds like a brilliant method. Isn’t it? But just think for a while, and you will know this can’t be right. If this was true, then how about the PIN numbers like 1001, 2002, 1221, 2332, 1111, 2222 and so on… (Palindromic Numbers) (these are my test data). If my PIN is one of those palindromes, then how to activate that security mechanism? Then I thought one work around for this is to disallow Palindromic numbers as your PIN. But the idea itself sounded stupid. Simply because, there are lots of Palindromic numbers within 9999 (the maximum possible PIN Number). And I have never seen a message in an ATM machine restricting me from using a Palindromic number as my PIN. But I did not want to believe that argument of mine, without actually seeing (executing my test case with my pre-set test data) it. So I immediately rushed to my nearest ATM counter and tested this. And I found that there is no such restriction for such numbers (test case passed!). Then I checked the same test with two other bank a/c ATMs (regression testing!). And as expected here also my test cases passed! This test almost made me sure about the inaccuracy of the SMS message.
4. Just as some additional arguments to strengthen my point, I again looked at the SMS again. And there it is. If at all we accept this message to be true, still then do you think that “the cop will reach the ATM in a short while and rescue you”, keeping in mind that this is India?

There are still lots of information left in the message which prove that the information is a hoax. So I would like to leave them for my readers and would like to see, how they use their testing skills to find them out.

Hints: Always use the 3 basic weapons of a tester. i.e. Observe, Analyze and be Skeptical.

There are lots of testing exercises lying around loosely in your own life too. Try to identify them and try to test them using your very own testing skills.

Happy Testing…
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About Debasis Pradhan

Debasis has over a decade worth of exclusive experience in the field of Software Quality Assurance, Software Development and Testing. He writes here to share some of his interesting experiences with fellow testers.


  1. Hi,

    This is great example of applying tester mind in day to day problems and situations.

    Thank you

    Warm Rgs

  2. Hi,
    such examples are the bet method to teach the process of testing to the new comers of this field (including me too).
    A tester should always have a die hard spirit beacuse to swim with the flow is not a big deal.
    The thing that makes the difference is to swim across the flow,and that is what we Testers do.

    You Rock Deb !!

  3. I can immediately claim this SMS as false since nothing can be done on basis of 4 digit PIN number which can never be unique. The PIN number 1234 will be shared by thousands of Bank customers. Good example anyways

  4. Nice to see your comment Mallik. I understand that a 4 digit PIN number itself can never be unique. But a 4 digit PIN number combined with your Bank a/c number stored in your ATM card is definitely unique (simply because your Bank a/c number itself is unique for a particular bank). When you are entering your PIN, the PIN number is validated with your Bank a/c number and other details stored in your ATM card. So finally the combination becomes unique. Otherwise, how more than 1 user could use same PIN number (as you said "The PIN number 1234 will be shared by thousands of Bank customers") ?

  5. Hi Debasis,

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  6. i loved the way u have done excellent
    hey can u tell me the way to learn testing

  7. @ amudu,

    Thanks amudu for your appreciation. As far as learning testing is concerned, I strongly believe that there is no "Magic Bullet" for that. It depends on the person trying to learn testing. The ways that work for me may or may not work for you. Simply because our contexts of learning may be different. Personally, I try to learn testing skills from a variety of sources like - a lot of reading, observing the things happening around me in my day to day life, interacting with testers, doing some real testing, and more importantly thinking about a testing subject from different possible dimensions. See if any of these methods make sense to you. If you know some more effective methods to learn testing better, please do share with me here.


  8. very nice and cool this blog about how understand testing in real life situation. this is very useful concept for fresher or new in testing so thank a lot for such nice blog

  9. Feel proud to have this chance to spend time with ur Blogs. Hats off.

  10. @ Santosh and Dipu,

    Thanks for visiting this blog and thanks for those kind words. Keep coming back for more stuffs like this. Thanks.


  11. Dear Debasis,
    This blog is very useful for a beginner like tells me that testing is a pratical logical work which i can enjoy doing throughout my life...thanks very much

  12. @ Anonymous,

    You are right. Testing is indeed a practical work which involves logical reasoning among many other skills. I am glad that you realised this fact after reading through this blog post. Keep coming back to read more posts that might be interesting to you.

    Kindly leave behind your name, the next time you comment on this blog, so that I can be able to know whom I am talking to. Thanks.

    Happy Testing...


  13. Hi,

    I got the Same message from one of my friend via email & Replied him nothing but this link of this article. :)

    Javed Nehal

  14. @ Javed Nehal,

    "To say of something which is that it is not, or to say of something which is not that it is, is false. However, to say of something which is that it is, or of something which is not that it is not, is true." -- Aristotelian definition of Truth

    This is a very powerful quote indeed and has always inspired me greatly. As a tester I have witnessed the trueness of the above quote quite a many times in my professional as well as my personal life.

    Don't most of us set some New Year Resolutions every time the calendar turns to December (and forget those resolutions afterwards)? I have set just one resolution for me this time, and I thought I should share it with you. The resolution is --

    "I will NOT blindly believe anything unless I find out it is NOTHING but TRUE"!

    I am glad that you found my above write-up interesting enough. Keep coming back for more such articles in future. Happy Testing...


  15. hi,
    This is jeba..really the analogy of cricket and s/w testing was excellent,i gave the same presentation in my company and i got spotaward...really thank you so much for Publishing useful and superb creativity Presentation..All credit goes to you..Once a again thank you so much

  16. @ Jeba,

    Let me congratulate you first for the spotaward! I think you are the second person to use my Cricket-S/W Testing analogy as your presentation topic. And I really appreciate your honesty and humility to get back and drop a comment telling your success! This world is full of selfish peoples. They don't even care to seek permission and blatantly steal creative works and publish them as their own. I salute you for showing your honesty and letting me (and my readers) know about your success. I hope, the thieves and plagiarists hiding out there would learn to show some honesty from people like you. Hats off to you.

    Thanks for choosing my article as your presentation topic and thanks for coming back and letting us hear about your success story. Keep coming back for more such posts in future. I will try my best to deliver more such posts that you might find equally interesting.

    Happy Testing...

  17. Hi Debasis.
    I just digged to that post. It's excellent point of view, and described for later use (like Javed Nehal did) :)
    From my own life there is an example:
    My wife recently received a message which described situation of a very ill child, and at the end:
    "(..)If you post this message to at least 20 friends, that child will receive 1 zł (polish currency) for each send one. and You will receive newest ringtone(..)"
    Then my wife asked me how to add those 20 adresses to forward this message.(she is new at internet, so dont laugh)
    I asked her only three things about that message before telling her how to do that:
    - Is there any adress, phone number, just anything to verify the authenticity of message?
    - Is there a link to some real site providing ringtones which could prove that You will receive one?
    - Ask a person wchich sended this message if he/she received something in reward.

    And she deleted it after a while...

    Yeah. Testing IS Life :)

    Best regards

  18. @ MrFreb (Chris),

    I love your above example. And I am quite impressed with the way you handled it! Here in India also we keep getting such emails (with minor tweaks here and there).

    a) When I have time, I reply back (trying my best to remain politically correct) the sender (in most cases, who is a friend in my contact list), trying to prove why this email can be a hoax and why (s)he should stop spreading hoax emails and stop cluttering other's in-boxes with garbages. The worst part is, while spreading these hoax emails, they hardly realize that they are spreading hoax in a viral way!

    b) When I don't have time (and patience), I simply forward the email to where it belongs! Yes, you guessed it right. I DELETE them and send them to the trash!

    What makes me feel sorry is how easily people tend to get into such traps! Sometimes it is sympathy (to help someone in need and distress) and sometimes it is greed (to receive some free ring tones, as in your case above). I understand that greed and sympathy are human nature but we can avoid such hoax (traps) if we can take a moment to think and start asking questions (like you did above). Chris, you are absolutely right. Testing IS Life...

    Happy Testing...

  19. U can identify that this msg is not correct, because it says u enter ur pin number in reverse order still u will be able to withdraw money..whereas password validation fails in this step.

    But I always believe there should be a mechanism in the ATM machine to dial a 100 number in emergency situation, Just the way one sets is password, in the same method he should be allowed to set a code of his choice to dial the 100 number. so that robber doesn't notice or doesn't know if you are dialing police or entering ur password.

    Lalit mohan pandey (

  20. Sir I am a regular reader of your blog.. I like your way of describing the things...I am in the testing field for 5 years... And what i believe, to be a successful tester one need to have a right approach..
    What my approach of testing is "When i go to by tomato, i just spent 5 rs.. but still i check
    1) if the tomato is good looking or not: i mean in a good shape without any spot...
    2) I check the color : it should not look yellow or white or green for one end or other, 3) I check if its not rotten
    4) I check by pressing it, to see it doesn't get pressed completely
    So every time i buy vegetable, I always make certain checks (Just like check list), whereas i am only spending certain amount 5rs,10rs, 50 rs etc.
    So when i sit for testing, i always keep this in mind, As a user just for this small amount if i look for defect free, if i want perfection why the end user who is spending huge amounts in software will not expect defect free and perfect software. This is the feeling which keeps me motivated and inspires me to find more and more defects.

    Thanks & regards
    Lalit Mohan Pandey

  21. Hi Debasis,

    I have an query regarding textarea filed. If somone copy text from ms word and paste in textarea textbox then it will not count spaces if any between paragraph but if some one directly copy from any web site then it will count spaces(line gap)also.
    I have pasted text of first 3 paragraph from loremipsum site directly then it consider gaps but when I pasted text on ms word and again copy from that and paste it into text area then it not considered gap between paragraph.


    Is this is considered as bug and can developer fix it or it is textareatextbox issue. Please reply.

    Preeti (


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