I took my exam today and passed, its amazing, I failed all my mock exams, even the mock I took yesterday ! I only scored 35 correct (pass was 43!). So its a big surprise to me and very good news.
I would like to share my preparation experience with the community, maybe it can give you some ideas.
I have spent 3-months preparing full-time. I know this is quite a long time - but I was starting from a lowish base in that I have never used Java in great depth before and also I think I could have saved alot of time as I will mention in my later point.
1. I spent 1-month reading through the K&B. I was aiming to cover 30-pages a day including review sections and self-test. I didn't quite manage this schedule and so I think I took 5 or 6 weeks to go through the book. 2. I then spent 2-weeks re-reading all of the end-of-chapter self-tests again. 3. I took the mock exams in the K&B and reviewed them - 1 week - I failed both of these ! 4. I then read some posts here about Whizlabs and looked into this. I decided to buy the product it costs GBP 25 and you can download it directly from the web. I really think its a great tool for helping with the preparation. I would recommend turning-off the timer and to go through all the questions in a test and then review the answers. It comes with 7-tests in total, 1- diagnostic test, 5-practice tests and 1 exam test. The questions in all the tests are of a very high standard and perhaps even a bit more difficult then the real exam, but it really covers the complete syllabus and a bit more. 5. I took 4-Whizlab tests, the last one was yesterday and I failed them all ! but I reviewed all my questions and the answers carefully and made notes on Index cards as recommended in K&B. Slowly I could feel more and more information starting to stick in my mind. I spent on average between 3-4 hours per day studying (occassionally more / some days less) so it was very hard work for quite a while. 6. Because I was failing all my mocks, I decided to save 3 of the exams in Whizlabs until after I took the the exam today. My plan was to take the exam today (expecting to fail) just for the experience, then review the remaining 3 Whizlab exams and then re-sit the exam in 2 weeks time. Because I had a special offer voucher from Sun where I could re-take the exam for free I could think this way. Surprisingly I passed today so that it wont be necessary. I scored 69% and I'm sure if I had done the other practice exams I could have scored even higher, in quite a few topics I was scoring 70-80% unfortunately Concurrency 50% and Scoping 58% pulled me down a bit. 7. My biggest mistake in my preparation was using Eclipse. I read a post here just last week where many people (including Bates) were strongly recommending to prepare without an IDE, and thats what I should have done from the start. I think I could have picked up and remembered the concepts alot quicker if I had done that. I really think Bates should mention this in the books and also it should be point number 1 in the FAQs etc.
So to summarize the steps, 1. read through K&B and do end of chapter questions (approx. 5-weeks) 2. review all the end of chapter self-test questions again (approx 2-weeks) 3. do K&B mock exams and review (approx 1.5 weeks) 4. buy Whizlabs and do mock exams and review and make notes on Index cards (2-weeks) 5. DONT USE AN IDE !! I used Textpad for the past week and it really helped alot.
Usually those who do not pass the mock exams do not make it through the real exam. A grace of about 10-20% more would be expected in the real exam though, since most mock exams are designed to be tougher than the real one.
karthic, you can buy the Whizlabs mock exam on http://www.whizlabs.com/ (it is not freely available). Likewise, it is illegal to copy questions from the real SCJP exam. There are lots of good mock exams available. See the JavaRanch list of mock exams.
Robert, congratulations with passing the exam!
I'm moving this to the Sun Certification Results forum.