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Passed SCJP 1.4 with 93%

John Zoetebier
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 76
Thanks Kathy and Bert for your wonderful SCJP exam book.
Thanks everybody who gave me feedback on my questions.
The discussions on this forum were very interesting and challenging.
How it went.
My reading glasses were fogged as I was filling out the 2 Sun surveys.
The clock did not tick yet, as somebody suggested at JavaRanch, but this could be a NZ benefit only
Luckily my classes were clear by the time I started the real thing.
There was a rattling noise coming from the ceiling, probably from the air conditioning.
My neighbor was banging on the desk with his arm, which made my monitor shake like an earthquake, something that happens about once a month in NZ, but not every minute.
After making a remark this problem was solved.
While I was looking at the first question I discovered that the right parenthesis was distorted. In stead of part of a circle it looked like a polygon with upper and lower part bent outwards. This made it hard to see a difference with a right curly brace.
The only thing I could do is keep my nerves calm, but it certainly costs me about 10 minutes more time.
After the exam I informed the lady behind the desk about the problem with the right parenthesis, but rather than take action she preferred to check the opinion of following exam takers.
Can anybody advise me where to lodge this problem ?
Level of difficulty
The test was from the same level of difficulty as the mock tests in the SCJP book of Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates.
If you do well on these test, you can expect to do well on the exam.
My lowest first time score on the mock tests was 72 % (Operators) and the highest first time score was 95% (OO). Most scores were over 90%.
My first time scores are pretty close to the actual test score.
My preparation.
I studied the book of Kathy Sierra intensively. The second time I studied the parts that I was not sure of.
I paid special attention to each exam watch and this surely paid off during the exam.
Do not get paranoid about tricks as most of them are obvious if you know your stuff well.
During my study I typed virtually all code examples and tested them. Each test was put in a folder that represents the chapter and page.This makes it easy to find them back later on.
I cannot stress this enough: practice makes perfect.
Try out variations you are not sure about, until you are satisfied you have tackled the issue from all angles. This will pay off during the exam when several topics are combined in 1 question.
Programming is a craft. Learn by doing it.
After reading the book I spent a lot of time with mock test. Maybe too much time in hindsight.
I could have spent an other half year doing mock tests without increasing my exam score.
While doing mock tests I tested each and every test I failed, trying out variations.
Personally I like the online mock test best as they can be updated easily if there is a problem.
Kathy recommends to compile and run your code examples for the commend line.
This advice is important to understand how the compiler works and how to pass parameters from the command line.
The bulk of my code examples were done with the NetBeans IDE. You can download NetBeans for free from
NetBeans 3.5 runs very smooth on Linux (my own experience) and OSX (from others).
On Windows you may have to do some performance tuning <insert evil laugh here>.
I have some Java books like "Thinking in Java" from Bruce Eckel and "Just Java" from Peter van der Linden. Thinking in Java can be downloaded for free from the Internet in PDF format. Very handy of you are looking for a particular topic.
I checked these books if things were not crystal clear to me.
This is important: any uncertainty you have can become a problem on the exam. Sort these out before you go on the exam.
Scope of exam tests.
With regard to the scope and depth of the exam you can trust the content of the SCJP book of Kathy.
There are no questions about anything that fall outside the scope of this book.
In order to pass the exam, limit the scope of the mock tests, as you can easily get side tracked into areas that may be interesting, but not required on the exam. In the worst case it can even work contra-productive.
I was side tracked a few times myself, not a problem, but it is important to stay focused on the exam.
The exam tests cover all topics.
My lowest score was 66% on Garbage Collection. Rather ironic as I am tidy by nature
These tests were at the end of the exam, so stay focused until the very end.
Keeping concentrated is important, so take your water bottle with you !
Good luck with your exam.
John Lee
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Joined: Aug 05, 2001
Posts: 2545
Francis Siu
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 04, 2003
Posts: 867
Well done & Congratulations~~

Francis Siu
Franco Finstad

Joined: May 02, 2003
Posts: 22
Hi John,
Thanks for the good info. How many weeks did you study?
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
Terrific, John. Congratulations!
NetBeans that you allude to in your post, John, is pretty cool. I have used it on Linux (RH 7.3), Windows XP (Home) and Windows XP (Pro). It works great.
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
John, was the distorted right parenthesis seen in all the other questions where right parenthesis was used or was it just in the first question? Just curious. Wondering if it had anything to do with the resolution of the monitor.
Roger Chung-Wee
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 29, 2002
Posts: 1683
After seeing your posts, I am not surprised at your great score - congratulations!

SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.3, SCBCD 1.3
Dan Chisholm
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Joined: Jul 02, 2002
Posts: 1865
Congratulations John!

Dan Chisholm<br />SCJP 1.4<br /> <br /><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Try my mock exam.</a>
Bert Bates

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8898
John -
Thanks for using our book, we are thrilled that it helped. It's also VERY valuable for us to hear how our mocks compared to the real exam - we use this feedback for revisions and updates.
-Bert and Kathy

Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
Marlene Miller
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Joined: Mar 05, 2003
Posts: 1391
Congratulations John. Thank you for the analysis of your experience and the advice.
John Zoetebier
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 76

John, was the distorted right parenthesis seen in all the other questions where right parenthesis was used or was it just in the first question? Just curious. Wondering if it had anything to do with the resolution of the monitor.

Yes, the distortion was visible on all questions, but not in the exhibits. Probably because the exhibits use a slightly bigger font size.
Most likely the problem was caused by the monitor.
If it was a resolution problem I would expect left and right parenthesis to be distorted in the same way, but they were not.
Rory French
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 97
Fabulous John! Great score. Well done.
Valentin Crettaz
Gold Digger

Joined: Aug 26, 2001
Posts: 7610
Nice shot John

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Ajith Kallambella

Joined: Mar 17, 2000
Posts: 5782
Hearty congratulations and good luck for your future endeavours!

Open Group Certified Distinguished IT Architect. Open Group Certified Master IT Architect. Sun Certified Architect (SCEA).
I agree. Here's the link:
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