I just hurdled the SCJP 1.4 exam Sept 30 and got 70% rating. I've been coding in Java for about 2 years now. My exam preparation had been on and off as I do my review in between projects. Sometimes I have a month of review then there's a 6 months log due to projects. I only had 2 weeks intensive review and about a week for the mock exams before the taking the actual exam. The questions were not that tough, as compared to Dan Chrisholm's mock exams, except for Threads, Garbage Collection, and a mixture of Threads with Inner Classes. I used Roberts and Mughal's certification books for review. For mock exams, I concentrated using Dan Chrisholm's as it's the most updated for the 1.4 version. For other mock,I only tried a few as they are not that updated for the 1.4 version. Thanks to JavaRanch folks for your insights. This site was really of big help.
Thanks Perseus and Valentin I am planning to take my certification to the next level. I'd like to get the architect certification. Would it be a good idea if I take it directly and skip the SCWD? I have 2 project lead experience using OOAD, UML, patterns, & requirements analysis and 4 projects using jsp/serlvets and 1 using EJB. I would appreciate any insights/suggestions from you. Thanks!