I have to admit that I was wondering about this issue before as well. Now that I am working on the assignment, it becomes clear that the SCEA exam is much less technology-centered than I initially expected - instead it is a great exercise in architecting a solution using UML, with a strong focus on structure.
Part 1 contains quite a bit of EJB related material, but other than that, there are a lot of questions that deal with the more general topics in software architecture: patterns, integration, security, protocols etc.
Besides, Spring also relies on existing technology (e.g. transactions) to provide its services, so I would not strictly say the efforts are wasted
"The UrlyBird catches the certificate. And he's gonna FlyByNight"<br /> <br />SCJP 1.2/5.0, SCJD, SCBCD, SCWCD, SCEA
If you look at EJB3 you will see a lot of similarities with Spring and especially Hibernate. Furthermore, point of SCEA, beside getting knowledge in Sun oriented technologies, is to show ability to design an application. You always can design it in a technology independend way. So with slight changes you should be able to adapt this design, to plain servlets, EJB, or SpringFW. Although if you decide to take SCEA rember it must be Sun technology