I passed the SCJP 5 today with a 76%. Here are the steps I took - I hope you Ranchers find it useful.
------------------------ Start: December 1, 2006
1. Study the K&B book: Studied 1-2 hours every weekday morning at my favorite coffee shop. (the coffee shop gig helped a lot with motivation - it became my routine.) Studied about 8 hours total on weekends. - Took notes. - Made "flash cards". - Experimented with most of the code examples in the book. - Made LOTS of drawings - tried to illustrate ideas.
I hoped I would do a chapter a week, but it didn't turn out that way. It was more like a chapter every 1.5-2 weeks.
2. Turn to Java Ranch for information, answers to my questions and general motivation. I REALLY liked the articles about the cups and "getting to know your inner class" on Java Ranch. The cups one helped me immensely - illustrating a fundamental idea.
3. After I finished the K&B book (its probably the biggest book I've ever read!) I did the practice test that came with the book - failed it with 51%.
4. Purchased the Enthuware software. (In retrospect I should have purchased this a whole lot earlier, while I was still reading the K&B book) This has some great questions and the exam format was good to practice. I took 3 of these practice tests. Failed the first, passed the second, failed the third. Reviewed all the questions I got wrong. Enthuware has great question explanations.
5. 3 days before the exam - went through the check lists in the K&B book. (In retrospect I should have been going over these everyday before I began my normal study routine)
6. 1 hour before the test - stopped all liquid intake and took a brisk walk.
I also went over my flash cards at night every now and again during my studies, just when I felt like it.
Exam Passed: April 25, 2007 ------------------------------
It was difficult to know what to concentrate my energy on. There's alot of information to retain. Memorization is not my strong point. Going over things again and again - coming up with songs and sayings is entertaining and helps quite a bit.
What did I get out of it besides a nice lapel pin (we do get a lapel pin... right?) and a piece of paper? I think I got a deeper understanding of the language. I'm a professional Java Developer (5 years now) and before I began studying, I definitely took the language for granted. Now I have more confidence and a better understanding in what I do - this means I'll write better code, right?
I wish my score was a little higher - but I kinda got sick of studying.
Thanks Java Ranch for your support! Thanks Bert and Kathy for your awesome book! Thanks Enthuware for your great product!
Richard [ April 25, 2007: Message edited by: Richard Parker ]
"...it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. <br />If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!" <br />~ Through the Looking-Glass