The 'preferred' approach to attacking the SCEA exam is to have some experience with architecting solutions, and some knowledge of Java EE technologies.
I know that sounds very simple as an answer. Bear in mind that this exam encompasses a different job-role than the other Sun exams - this one is targeted to those who design software solutions rather than those who implement said solutions. The best way to prepare for the bulk of the exam is to have a solid background in software design.
There's also the factor that the current SCEA Part I exam targets J2EE 1.2 rather than a more recent version, so you're going to need to know EJB 1.1 instead of the version tested on the SCBCD. All that being said, if you search this forum, you'll find references to books that should help you study for that portion of the exam.
Theodore Jonathan Casser
SCJP/SCSNI/SCBCD/SCWCD/SCDJWS/SCMAD/SCEA/MCTS/MCPD... and so many more letters than you can shake a stick at!
What you do need, is a understanding of the entire J2EE platform, of UML, of design patterns - of how they are, their strengths and weaknesses, and when to chose one over the other - and generally a good understanding of software design problems and solutions.
The keyword here is understanding - cramming (which you could do before the SCJP exam - I did) won't help you on this one. It's a reason why Sun has placed it at the top of the Java certificates, as the only "Advanced" one) [ October 04, 2006: Message edited by: �dne Brunborg ]