Master The Mainframe Cookbook

This is not a traditional programming cookbook, but I just want to name it that. This page contains the most common issues a user can experience in the Master The Mainframe challenge and how to solve them.

FAQ – Why don’t you post Part 3 answers?

The first time (2018) I asked IBM about posting the answers they requested me to not post the Part 3 answers. They did give me permission to post part 1 and part 2 answers. I have asked the same thing again in 2019 but I did not get a response. So I’ll keep doing what I was told the first time.

FAQ – When will you … ?

I am part of the learners program. I am not required to finish the challenges by the student’s end date. I have a full year to complete the challenges instead of the normal 4 months the students get. However, I do try and complete all the challenges and the blogs before the challenge ends for students. My blogs are released late because I have multiple hobbies, a fulltime job, obligations and because I like to keep the competition a bit more alive by not releasing everything in the first two weeks.

FAQ – Do you think this blog is a good idea?

Some users are concerned about this blog and me sharing some answers. Some other users and me have discussed this topic here and here.

Copy Pending

Solution source.

If the data set, member, or z/OS UNIX file is not empty and you do not specify a destination, a “MOVE/COPY Pending” message appears in the upper-right corner of the panel and the data is not copied. When you type a destination and press Enter, the data is copied.

So either you clear the contents of the file, or you specify the location using a label like this.

Copy after label a

Solution source.

Observe this image. In this scenario the contents of the file I’m copying will be pasted after my label “a”. I have typed the letter “a” myself in the row I needed. As a result, in this case, the Java code will be pasted on a new line after the one with “Albert Einstein”.

How do I view my P2.OUTPUT?

When you’re at the homescreen (ISPF Primary Option Menu), enter =3.4 and then you’ll see the Data Set List Utility screen. There you can filter by Dsname Level, do so by entering your IBM ID. Then tab to P2.OUTPUT and enter line command e to edit, then tab to member name you need and enter line command s. This should show you the text.

The following images display how I do this for challenge 7. Click the links to display the instructional images.

  1. From the ISPF Primary Option menu, use the DsList utility via the shortcut =3.4.
  2. Filter Dsname level by your IBM ID.
  3. Edit the data set using the line command ‘e’ next to your needed Dsname.
  4. View the data set member using the line command ‘s’.

How do I view my job output again?

From the ISPF Primary Option Menu (homescreen), enter the command “=sd ; st”. This will boot you to the job status display. Then, if you remember your jobnumber or jobname, enter a “?” next to the jobnumber in the NP column to view more details like on this image.

SCOREP2 keeps saying my challenge is incorrect?

There can be multiple reasons for this. First of all, please review the incorrect challenge and fix any mistakes if there are any. Secondly, try and run TSO SCOREP2 again. From my experience the system hasn’t always been foolproof and it sometimes takes a while for it to either “update” the statusses or rate them correctly.

My job is not in the job output list?

When in the SDSF Job Output List enter the primary command “prefix * ; owner z#####;” ofcourse substitute the hashtags with your IBM ID. This solution was contributed by Georges.


This is a common issue throughout the challenge, it just means the disk is full. Please inform and IBM Employee about this issue. In the meantime, try and see if the code you’re executing has a VOLUME statement and change the volume name. I did this once for an earlier challenge like this: VOLUME(VPWRKD) to VOLUME(VPWRKC).


You were probably using the XDC command. Please try executing the primary command “PRINT CLOSE” and XDC again.

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