I thought I was ready for the 1.3 test about the middle of May. But I decided to go for 1.4 and bought Pro JSP 2.0, 3rd edition by Simon Brown et al after absorbing the Hanumant SCWCD Exam Study Kit for exam 310-080. I found that the JSP 2.0 spec was also a help as was the JSTL 1.0 spec (you want to look at the JSTL 1.1 spec though!). Pro JSP is a good resource but I also got both the Enthuware and Whizlabs mock exams. Whizlabs came out with a new version of a couple of the mock exams in their package on June 30. I found the Whizlabs tests to be harder than the Enthuware. New material just kept dribbling in as I was doing these tests! In retrospect, I think I might have been alright with just the Whizlabs stuff. I wish I knew what I got wrong. The 1.4 is a difficult test. I'm quite sure it is significantly more difficult than 1.3. Wished many times I had the Sierra/Bates Head First SCWCD 1.4 book that I've heard about. Anyway, the Whizlabs exams were valuable. Between the Enthuware and Whizlabs exams, I tried to do a full mock exam almost everyday for a month or so. I think that was the biggest help of all as by the time you've been through all the tests a couple of times, you know what you know pretty well and a good chunk of the real test went by pretty quickly, buying me the time to deal with the harder questions. I let the mock exams drive the reading to a large degree. I've got to believe that once a good study guide or two comes out for 1.4, it'll be easier going as what you need to know will be a little easier to define. Be as strong as you can on custom tags, Simple Tags, Tag Files and JSP though.
Yes, excuse me- I think EL and Design Patterns carry as much weight as anything else in the exam. I studied with the assumption that no category would be weighted more than another in the exam. I scored lowest on custom tags though. I might have done better if I had run some examples for myself but I thought I had eaten up too much time doing so in studying for the SCJP 1.4 exam. In retrospect though, I can think of a couple of instances with custom tags that I wish I had created tests for. As always though, hindsight is cheap.
Joined: Mar 09, 2004
I almost forgot- I'm moving on to studying for the SCEA. I've read that the test is too old etc. but a guy who's opinion I've put some stock in said SCEA was a good next step. Design Patterns were what originally sparked my interest in going the J2EE direction so to get some strong exposure to them is appealing to me anyway. I'd definitely appreciate any thoughts though as these certifications each represent a considerable investment as I'm sure we all know!