Yesterday I passed the SCJP 1.4 examen with a score of 75%
Here's the path I took:
First of all I decided to take the 1.4 exam and not the 1.5, I have no experience with 1.5 as the company I work for only recently upgraded to 1.4 (IBM Websphere). I have around 4 years of experience with Java programming.
After that I went to the local bookstore to compare the study guides that are available. The book by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates appealed most to me. I like the set-up of the book (chapter summaries, '2 minute drills' after each chapter and the self tests after each chapter. Also the writing style is vivid which makes reading much easier.
Then in one month I spent about 80-100 hours of studying and making summaries of the chapters as I went through the book. When studying I took the self tests, they were really helpful in pinpointing things I overlooked. Also, as it seems now, the self-test questions were quite simular to the actual exam questions.
At a certain point I started playing the JavaRanch round-up game, a very fun thing to do and a really helpful tool. After getting good scores with the round-up game I bought a subscription to Sun's ePractice exams. This offers three realistic 61 question exams. The main reason I did this was that the ePractice exams offer the possibility to view the correct answers with comments at every question in the test. Also I could be sure that the questions were simular to the exam questions and relating to the 1.4 requirements. All in all I spent 8 hours of practicing mock exams on-line.
Finally I took the test and I was really happy to find out that the questions seemed easier than those of the ePractice exams.
Good luck to all who want to take the test! If you give yourself enough time and practice a while using mock exams you should be able to do it!