Actually its 87 if you 'round' it instead of 'flooring' as i got 53/61 Why do you do this, Sun?
Now, the spiel
Thanks a bunch to this wonderful forum and the people who maintain it. Watching the results posted section was inspiring enough. I am an analyst and programmed extensively in COBOL and Perl before and so know the nuts and bolts of programming. For the exam, this was the approach I took (started step 1 on Jan 1).
1) Read 'Head First Java' by K/B cover to cover (these guys know how to teach...previously I tried to read 3/4 Java books which read like manuals and gave up on them. Am very tempted to name them but know that the moderator will not appreciate) 2) Took a lot of free mock tests 3) Got hold of the certification guide by K/B only in the last week (BIG mistake)
About the exam --------------
1) How difficult was the test? On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being v difficult, here is where I would place it:
Dan's mock tests: 8-9 Self tests in the KB guide: 6-7 SCJP: 5 Marcus Green's exams: 4
2) The KB certification guide is a must if you wish to do very well, simply for the reason that it narrows the topics down significantly. If you do not have this book, I sincerely recommend that you get it and give yourself sufficient time to finish it before attempting the test.
3) Be aware that many of the mock exams contain q's on AWT and IO. These are not part of the exam syllabus so you may skip them in your prep. Like a jackass, I studied Swing and IO for 2 days in the past 10 days
4) Anyone serious about the test would study topics like threading/inner classes in detail. But be sure NOT to ignore the basics topics as well. Questions on post-increment operators/looping etc. can be deceptively simple. I lost all my points on 3 basic sections and now feel like I lost a golden chance to post a score around 95%.
5) If you understand references well enough and draw diagrams, every question on Garbage collection can be nailed.
6) In case prep time is not a factor, I recommend that you give yourself atleast 2-3 months (assuming you know programming but are new to Java AND have a full-time job). Java is very intuitive and as you go along and practice, you will need to remember less and less. Anything less than 2 months, be prepared to spend very long hours.
Next, I wish to take the EJB or the IBM XML test next. Can someone recommend good XML books on the lines of the head first series?