My journey is very simple. I bought the HFSJ book at the end of Feb, because I like the way the authors explain the topics when I bought their SCJP book. Then I studied through the book in my free time as well as in my free time in my office. I have worked on developing java app for more than 3 years. But trust me, most of the topics are quite new to me. I mean, when I am working, I rarely bother about these servlet stuff. But of course, although they are new, they are not very hard to understand given my working experience.
I finished going through the book in 3 weeks. I also read those jsp, servlet, jstl specifications whenever I need to. I didn't go through all of these specifications, but I just read those parts which I had doubt about or those I met in questions. I went through the HFSJ book again in 4 days in a fast pace to review what I have read and to pick up what I have forgotten.
I write on those debate cards those topics which I am not familiar with and those that need memorization. These cards are better than A4-sized notebooks, which I find very boring to review. I reviewed these cards after the 2nd time i went through the book yesterday, i.e. before the exam day. That's it. I never had doubt about passing it, just about what score I will get. I scored in the mock exam for 87%, 61/69. Although I scored slightly higher in the real exam, I found it harder than the mock exam in the book. In the exam, I actually met quite some typo errors. I think they are typos, unless I am really bad at the topic.
1. really understand what the HFSJ book is talking about. Don't ignore any topics. 2. go through it the second time for review. 3. read those specifications if you have time. Or at least read some important parts as you study. 4. relax the night before. Do some light exercise, and you will do well. It is not hard to pass as long as you studied.
Thank you, Bert. Fantastic book you have written, just that the errata is a little too long. I took hours to correct all of them in my book. But I understand the difficulties of writing such a book, and the time and money one spends on it is well worthy.