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Passed SCJP - 81%

Mike Dennison

Joined: Jun 01, 2003
Posts: 4
I took this just over two weeks ago.

I used only the Sierra and Bates book.

If you can either get 100% on each chapter test or understand why you got any wrong, then the test should be a breeze.

I found the test easier than I had expected. My only tip is to take your time, read the questions very carefully, mark and leave any questions that you can't answer within a few seconds and review ALL your answers ONCE. I found about 10 questions, where I changed my answer upon review.

Dan Chisholm
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 02, 2002
Posts: 1865
Congratulations Mike!

I think that your advise on how to answer exam questions is very good. I also agree that the K&B book is very good. If a person reads the book quickly and completes the real exam while all of the information is still fresh in the person's short term memory, then one book is probably all that person needs. If the person does not take the exam immediately after completing the book or if the person worked through the book over a long period of time, then some information might be lost. In that case, some additional practice with mock exams could be very helpful.

Today, I read some posts from people that had difficulty completing the real exam before time ran out. I prepared for the real exam by developing my web site. I don't advocate that approach for anyone, but I do want to say that the preparation allowed me to complete the exam in about half the time provided. I didn't recheck any answers, because I was confident that I had answered them all correctly. Of course, I was wrong. I did make some errors, so my score was actually in the low 90's. My suggestion for anyone concerned with the clock is to spend a little time working through mock exams. The experience will allow you to complete the real exam with a lot of time to spare.

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

Joined: Jun 01, 2003
Posts: 4

Thanks for your reply, which I think is pretty good, but I would like to add a point.

I think that you have to be very careful about mock exams.

IMO there are two main reasons why people take mock exams: -

1) to familiarise themselves with exam-like conditions so that they can cope with thinking quickly and working under time pressure.

2) to assess their progress.

I think that they can certainly help as far as 1) is concerned - like all things taking exams generally improves with practice.

As an exercise in assessing progress, mocks can be misleading. Apart from the fact that some mock exams contain incorrect answers, there is also the issue of the level that they are pitched at. Some mocks are much harder than the actual test and and could deter a candidate unnecessarily.

If your ONLY goal is to pass the exam, then I would say "Sure take mock exams to gain familiarality for the exam, but don't worry about the results". They're also useful for looking at the material from slightly different angles, which can prove helpful in the real exam. If you've got the time then use mocks to locate your weak areas and work through your incorrect answers until you understand what the correct answer should be.

However if you can pass the K&B chapter end questions AT ONE SITTING then you can PASS the exam (you might not get a high score, but you can pass).

If however you have other goals like getting 100% then tougher mocks are essential. I did take a quick look at some of your tests and they look pretty good; I like the format, which allows you to work back through the questions and answers to double-check and if neccessary compile and run the questions to verify the result absolutely.

As far as candidates running out of time is concerned, there should be no reason for this to occur if they are familiar with the material and use their time wisely - the exam is not that hard.

really pleased I don't have to take the SCJP again.
Dan Chisholm
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 02, 2002
Posts: 1865

You've made some good points. For example, if a person wants to use a mock exam to measure their preparedness for the real exam, then it is important to use a mock exam that is known to be very similar to the real exam. Everyone knows that the Marcus Green exams are very good for that purpose. My exams are intended to be used as a workbook as a person works through a study guide chapter by chapter. That's why the answer pages have very detailed answer explanations. The questions are also a little different from those on the real exam. While the real exam is intended to test your knowledge, my exams are intended to expand your knowledge. As you mentioned, most of the questions that have code can be compiled and run to demonstrate the concepts covered by the question. In contrast, most of the code on the real exam is just code fragments.

I agree that the K&B exams are very similar to the real exam. I don't have the book, but I did do a technical review of the exams before the book was published. Kathy asked for volunteers here at the ranch.
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
subject: Passed SCJP - 81%
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