This week's book giveaway is in the OCAJP 8 forum. We're giving away four copies of OCA Java SE 8 Programmer I Study Guide and have Edward Finegan & Robert Liguori on-line! See this thread for details.
boy.. that was a hell of a beating.. for sure the most dificult exam I've ever had. It was harder than I thought it could be. Score wasn't what I expected to have.. 68%.
Also, timing was too short.. now before I took the test, when I read people mentioning that on some topics here, it might have gone thru my mind the idea that they could've been overreacting or something.. now please do not make the same mistake I made and listen to this.. THE TIME IS REALLY SHORT!!! I think that maybe they decided to make it that way to turn it almost impossible to get a high score or something. By the time I finished the whole exam, I had about 3 and a half minutes to review the questions and I still had 4 left blank!
Some advices: know your patterns well, (and by well I mean inside out) do not ignore even the most ignorable property of a pattern, know scenarios where you can use every single one of them. They'll give you a scenario and ask which pattern might be suitable to implement such solution.
Prepare for some dynamic speed reading, you really have to read and understand scenarios really fast.
Many people have said that but just in case you haven't read it yet. There'll be no code or UML on it.
Don't expect easy straighforward questions like.. which of the following patterns allow you to have only one instance of an object? nooo! wake up! you're not in disneyland! It's not gonna be that easy... most of questions will be scenario based and will focus on that detail of the pattern that you thought it wasn't so important.
Getting a question right by eliminating the obviously wrong ones won't exactly work for this exam. There will be no obviously wrong questions! Most of the answers are really close to solve the problem.
Be prepared to understand many different jargons.. and to make lots of assumptions (specially on the common architecture questions), they won't make it easy for you!
Despite some forum topics here say that questions are high level, you will be asked about details of technologies, so don't assume you'll be fine if you think JMS is for asynchronous message only and that's it.. be sure you know details of it (not code).
Be prepared for some scope change as well.. many questions will start by guiding you towards a direction and all of a sudden they give you one small unnoticeable detail that can change the whole thing. So read the whole question carefully (but don't waste too much doing it).
Know applicability and details of Dispatch API, JAXP, JAXB, JAXR and many other Webservice related technologies/APIs.. as well as details and applicability of JSF components, you'll be asked for it (inside a tough description scenario).
Don't expect mock exams to help you a lot. Even if they say they cover SCEA 5, you'll find many questions on the old exam, and a few highlevel questions that won't help you much in the real thing.
Oh, and speaking of mock exams, I decided to go over this subject a bit differently. I have acquired 2 mock exams to prepare for the test and I'm gonna give you my opinion on them comparing to what you'll face in the real thing, as follows:
Why should you buy Sun epractice: - It will give you some direction on the areas you need to focus. But only directions, don't even think it will give you a slightly idea of what you'll face in the exam because it won't. Questions on the real thing are a lot harder. - It will give you some references to start looking at.
Why should you NOT buy it: - really really easy compared to the real thing. I finished the second form with 89% in a bit more than half an hour. - poor explanation of questions, you'll see things like.. question A is right, question B, C and D are wrong because they don't address the requirements (no s t! I thought it would be totally the oposite..)
Why should you buy Epractize Labs: - it will help you understand (when not confusing you) some of the topics on the old exam in a very high level way. - they say they guarantee your money back if you don't pass.
Why should you NOT: - questions were not even close to what you face in the real exam (regarding difficulty). Too many straighforward questions. - lots of question on the old exam (by not saying the majority of it): and here I really had the impression that they've collected most of their questions from the old exam. - really poor english (you really have a hard time understanding what they want to say in some questions/answers). You'll see quite some freakiness here. - misleading explanations (this is what p****d me off the most! some of the questions were opposite to what you have in the specification) - poor questions on jsf, webservices and new technologies (and very few of them.. ) - lots of wrong questions (that can really confuse you - specially on the common architecture questions where a scenario is introduced and even the most fine detail can make a huge difference in the correct answer.) - lots of repeated questions (not including the ones they had an statement denied and considered a whole new question) - you can find CODE in the mock exam (even though the test does NOT have any CODE) - really malformed questions and here I include: * questions with duplicate answers (2 choices w/ exact same verbiage) * questions pointing out a wrong answer as right and having the right answer on the explanation). - hard to report errors; All of this made me believe that this mock exam wasn't reviewed for SURE and made me regret of spending my money on it.
Well, I guess that's about it.. I'd like to wish you all prospective SCEA exam takers good luck!