I actually thought I might have failed the exam, so I was very surprized to see that my score was 84%. That should tell you something about the difficulty of the questions. They are so poorly written that you can never be sure that you got a question correct even if it is on a topic you studied thoroughly. But, luckily the most reasonable guess seems to usually be the correct answer. The test really doesn't go very deep into technical questions, but when it does, it always manages to throw in an aspect of the topic that you wouldn't think was important enough to study carefully. What makes this test so difficult is that almost every question asks for the 2 or 3 "most correct" answers and there are hardly any questions that are really straightforward, so it is very hard to tell how you are doing. Also, time is a big factor. I could not spend as much time on questions as I wanted to and finished with only 2 minutes left. I had marked 14 questions for review, but only had time to quickly look back at 3 of them. So, when the message popped up on the screen saying "Congratulations, You Passed!" I was both surprized and elated. Here's how I prepared: Professional XML 2nd Edition - Chapters 2-6, 8-12, 24, 27 XML Schemas - Chapters 1-9 XSLT - Chapters 1-8 The XSLT book is not necessary, in my opinion. The coverage of XSLT in PXML2 is very good and almost as deep as this book. The XML Schemas book is very good and was essential for me because I thought the coverage of XML Schemas in the PXML2 book was very poor. I also did just about all the mock exams I could find, but none of them were even remotely similar to the style of questions on the real exam. However, they do help a little to get your mind into the mode of analyzing questions. (Please do not waste your money on the WhizLabs exam. Not only are the questions way easy; it consists of a lot of true/false questions and there is not one true/false question on the real exam.) So, the bottom line is that you have to study both broadly and deeply to have a chance at this exam. And then, it almost seems more like a reading comprehension test than a test of your XML knowledge. Although I think the exam is terribly written, I learned a lot about XML from my studies and am very happy with my passing score.
Congrats Jeff... good score, thanks for ur feedback... I'm doing preperations from past 2 weeks and I will be taking exams end of this month... I hope 6 weeks is enough for the prepartions... I will looking forward for javaranchers help... regards -sheki
Jeff: You are the first I saw got over 80%. Is it your first time? Could you tell us more?
"I, a universe of atoms, an atom in the universe." - Richard Feynman
Jeff X Williams
Joined: Sep 28, 2001
It was my first attempt. I studied for about 4 months about 1-2 hours per day. Even with all that preparation I didn't feel confident in a lot of my answers because many of the questions are worded in a confusing way. But, just go with the answer(s) that seem most reasonable and you should be OK. In other words, the questions are hard, but they don't seem to be "trick" questions. Also, be sure to take the IBM practice XML test because it is fairly close to the style of questions on the real exam. Although, the real exam is slightly harder.
Congrats Jeff, I like what you have written about the exam because I am writing it on September 9th. I have been studying for about the last month or so but do not feel incredibly confident because of the style or wording of the questions. How were your scores on the IBM ICE test (practice Exam). Do you have any particular subject(s) that you would suggest to be familiar with the most? Any links you found to be helpful ?! Most of the posts put up about the test are that it's so difficult and all of the scores seem to be generally low (mid 60s) any ideas why?
Once again Congrats and thanks for any advice you may have! Aaron O'Brien SCJP2 [ September 03, 2002: Message edited by: Aaron O'Brien ]
Jeff X Williams
Joined: Sep 28, 2001
My score on the IBM practice test was about the same, 82% I think. I didn't think I had done that well on that on either. There's something about the way IBM writes questions that makes them seem more difficult than other exams. I have also passed SCJP and SCWCD exams and some Microsoft exams and they all had a fairly large number of what I would call simple questions, where you can be certain you got the correct answer. IBM offers very few of these easy ones, so it shakes your confidence. My recommended approach would be to study the sources I listed above very thoroughly. However, the exam still manages to find areas that are not covered by those books. But my strategy is to study a few sources very well rather than many sources lightly. That way you should have a deep enough understanding to sense the correct answer even when they throw in something obscure. Finally, don't spend too long on any one question, because time is a big factor. Since there are 57 questions and 90 minutes, when you have one hour left, you should at least be on question 19 or 20. With 30 minutes left you better be on question 40 or so. If you fall behind from this pace it will be very difficult to catch up and you may start to become careless as you rush to beat the clock. Good luck. Be sure to let us all know how you do on the exam.