Our pop quiz on hexadecimal basics was a hit with TechRepublic members. As of grading time, nearly 2,000 people had tested their knowledge of hexadecimal math. If you haven't had a chance to take the quiz, I encourage you to try your luck, before reading the answers below. Now, on to the answers!
Base-16 numbering system
The correct answer is: Base-16 and 84 percent of those who answered the question got it right. The hexadecimal numeral system uses sixteen distinct symbols. Usually, the symbols 0-9 are used to represent zero to nine, and A, B, C, D, E, and F are used to represent values ten to fifteen.
Commonly uses 0-9 and A, B, C, D, E, and F
The correct answer is: False and 56 percent of those who answered the question got it right. Of this quiz's five questions, this one was probably the trickiest. As the answer to Question 1 indicates, hexadecimal systems most often use the symbols 0-9 to represent zero to nine and A, B, C, D, E, and F to represent ten through fifteen. However, it's true that using symbols 1-10 and A, B, C, D, E, and F do give you 16 values—if you count 10 as a single value and not a 1 and a 0. I'll admit there might be a little room for interpretation of the question's wording. If you answered True and can make a good case for the answer, I might reconsider and mark your answer correct.
More information in a smaller space
The correct answer is: A hexadecimal system allows us to stuff more information in a smaller space and 94 percent of those who answered the question knew the correct answer. Each hexadecimal digit represents four binary digits. This makes it a compact way to express binary values.
Two hexadecimal digits can represent one byte
The correct answer is: Two and 60 percent of the people who answered the question got this one right. In digital computing, one byte contains eight bits. Each hexadecimal digit represents four binary digits (bits). Therefore, one byte can be represented by two hexadecimal digits.
255 (decimal) = 11111111 (binary) = FF (hexadecimal)
The correct answer is: FF and 85 percent of those who answered the question got it right. If you ever need to convert between decimal, binary, and hexadecimal, the calculator that comes with Windows is a handy tool. Just open the Calculator, click View and select Scientific. You can then enter a value and move between the three systems.
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Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.