This week's book giveaway is in the OO, Patterns, UML and Refactoring forum. We're giving away four copies of Refactoring for Software Design Smells: Managing Technical Debt and have Girish Suryanarayana, Ganesh Samarthyam & Tushar Sharma on-line! See this thread for details.
The subject says it all. Here the details of the preparation:
(Background: Computer science, basic Java knowledge, 5 years C++ development).
Started working on K&B SCJP 1.4 Study Guide in january. In mid february (as soon as it was available), left v1.4 at chapter 5 and continued with chapter 6 on K&B SCJP 5, picking up the missed bits of the prior chapters (autoboxing, for-loops etc.) in between. For each chapter, I extracted questions and put them in Supermemo, a learning tool, for daily practice (handy, since I had the app on a Palm Pilot and could use it everywhere).
Finished the book approx. 2-3 weeks ago. Some pause due to scheduling constraints. Last week, took up the self tests of the book again. Oops, seemed more difficult now! Took holidays in this week. Failed the CD exam of K&B with 52%, then did three Whizlab exams, each between 70 and 80%. Directly prior to the exam, cleared 30 final questions from Whizlabs with 90%.
During the initial phase January to April I spent approx. 2 hours a day weekdays, and half a day each on Saturdays/Sunday.
Concerning Supermemo as an index card replacement, I am not so sure - it "intelligently" repeats known topics less and less often, but directly before the exam, I would prefer to repeat everything.
Anyway, I cannot recommend the K&B book highly enough; and the same goes for the Whizlab simulator! I definitely recommend paying the extra little for the Whizlab exams, or in general to do as many mock exams as one finds.
With hindsight, I should have taken more time on the mock exams, say a full week or even two.
Last note: This is a great website, and an equally great forum! Thanks a lot to everyone in participating!