Git quiz

As part of an “introduction to git” training day I’m running I prepared a quiz for the group. After all, what else would you do over lunch?

I thought I was okay with git, but the old adage is true: if you really want to learn something, get a student. I found out a lot about git’s nooks and crannies in the course of preparing the material. See how you do; it’s not meant to be tricky. Answers next week…

Basic operations

  • Describe the working directory, staging area and repository.
  • What two things does git rm myfile do?
  • Where do the following commands get myfile from? (And in case you’re as clever as one participant: No, myfile is not a branch)
git checkout myfile
git checkout HEAD -- myfile
git checkout 9bffd0 -- myfile
  • If git status says “Nothing to commit”, what’s in the staging area?

Branches and tags

  • What’s a branch, really?
  • If you want to continue from where you are now but on a new branch, what are the two steps to take (which can be rolled into one command)?
  • How do you switch to another branch?
  • Branches and tags are very similar. Why? And what’s the difference?

Remote branches

  • What does alice/rel-1200 mean as a branch name?
  • What can’t you do with a remote branch (e.g. bob/refactored)?
  • If I fetch origin/master and then someone else pushes their master to origin, what happens to my origin/master?


  • When does a merge conflict occur?
  • What is the last step of a merge if there no conflicts?
  • How do you signal you’ve resolved a conflict in a file?
  • What’s a fast-forward merge?

Pushing and pulling

  • What two operations does git pull do?
  • Which branches will git pull origin pull down?
  • Which branches will git push origin push up?


  • Why is rebasing called “rebasing”?
  • If you git rebase origin/master what line of commits gets moved where?
  • How do you signal a conflict resolution on a file during a rebase?
  • How do you continue the rebase after that?
  • How do fetch and rebase in one command?
  • What flag prevents a multiway (traditional) merge?
  • When a commit moves as part of a rebase, what changes and what stays the same?
  • What’s the danger in rebasing other people’s work?