I finally took the SCJP 1.4 today and passed it with an 83% . I had been studying off and on for a while now. I would have taken the 1.5 exam except when I started studying there wasn't enough material for 1.5. Anyhow here are a few things I would like to share with you:
About The Exam:
1. The exam seemed a bit harder than I expected. Some of it was probably exam anxiety. But a fair warning is that most of the questions on the exam are not a cake walk. To relieve exam anxiety there are some good tips on the Prometric site: http://www.2test.com
2. The exam software was pretty good. The questions were very readable and it was easy to navigate.
3. There was plenty of time to finish the exam. I had about 29 minutes when I completed all 61 questions. Then I revised all the questions in the remaining time.
4. Because of the complexity of the exam I didn't know I had passed till the end of the exam. Even then it didn't say that I had passed. Instead it gave me a section analysis which is a breakdown in percentage of the different sections on the exam. When I left the exam room and got the report from the administrator then the report showed that I had passed.
5. I was surprised that I had not done as well on some sections that I believed I was strong in and scored well on other sections where I thought I was a little weak. For example I thought I was strong in the Garbage collection section and got a 66%. But I got a 100% in other sections like collections framework, flow control, assertions and others.
6. One grievance I have with the testing center is that they gave me a plastic worksheet with two markers and an eraser. The markers were both dry and their tips were like brushes. When I finished the exam I told the administrator and all she said was that "yes, they are cheap markers".
1. I read the K&B book and took all the self tests. First time around I didn't get very high scores. So I re-read the book and took all the self tests again. I did a lot better. So don't get discouraged if you don't do well on tests in the beginning stages of your preparation.
2. I took plenty of mock exams mentioned on the Javaranch site. Questions on most of the mock exams aren't like the actual exam in terms of complexity and format. Some mock tests had incorrect answers as well. Still mock exams are excellent for preparing for the exam and you should take them to improve the overall understanding of the various topics.
3. The 3 Marcus exams and the Java 1.4 application on Marcus's site all are pretty good. I took 2 exams a few weeks before I took the exam and I took the third exam in the last week. The score on these exams is a good reflection on how you will score on the actual exam.
4. Two days before the exam I took both the Master Exams from the K&B book. The Master Exam on the CD has a lot of questions from the book. So if you've taken the self tests a couple of times this exam is a good revision but won't really give you a fair idea of how you'll score on the actual exam. This is why I downloaded the second Master Exam and took it.
5. Finally, actively participate in the posts on the Javaranch forum. It helps a lot.
1. Do lots of mock exams. The help take away a lot of exam anxiety and help you become better test takers.
2. Read the question carefully.
3. In questions where some lines of code is given try to read the answer choices. If the choices have "Compilation error", then read all lines of code carefully. If it doesn't then don't worry about the syntax of the code and work on the solution. This will help save time.
4. When you finish the exam revise all your answers. You will be tempted to change some answers. But be careful about this because you may be over thinking the solution and end up making a mistake. Nevertheless, the revision is still a good idea.
Well that's all my feedback on the exam for now. Thanks to everyone on the javaranch site. Keep up the good work guys.