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Wrote SCEA Beta Test Exam Today - Feedback on the Sun Certified Architect Exam Part 1

Cameron Wallace McKenzie
author and cow tipper
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Joined: Aug 26, 2006
Posts: 4968
    
    1

Okay, I wrote the BETA today, all 160 questions in four, grueling hours. When I came out of the training center, I was 6 pounds lighter, and two inches shorter - it is truly a grueling experience.

I haven't really gathered my thoughts properly, and I'm still reeling from the experience, so I'm just going to babble on about the exam, without any logical flow to my thoughts. Please don't judge me if I begin to babble.

Well, I'm sure everyone wants to know what it was like, so I'm going to share my experience, but I do respect the 'non-disclosure' agreement you sign when you take the exam, so I won't give away any specifics or questions. It's important to maintain the integrity of the exam.

Good news? NO JAVA CODE!!!

There wasn't one lick of Java. I think at one point there was a comment about an EJB 3.0 bean having a constructor to call, but that was as close as it got. I didn't see a chicken lip, squiggly bracket or an iterative statement on the whole thing. No code at all. In fact, I really thought the whole thing was fairly high level. I actually think someone that had read the server technologies section of my Sun Certified Java Associate Study Guide, yes, the associate book, would have done fairly well on the server technologies parts of exam. Many of those questions revolved around where certain technologies properly fit, all at a very high level.

Other good news? No mention of struts. I mean, I know Struts isn't a Sun own framework, but c'mon, you can't be a Java architect without knowing about the place Struts has in the universe, but alas, no mention of Struts. Of course, you better know your JSF - benefits, disadvantages, look, taste, flavor, how it drives, handling....all that stuff about JSF is important.

There are a few questions they say things like "any standard web framework would be good" which seemed like a veiled reference to Struts.

Also, NO PORTAL. Well, I love portal and JSR-168 programming (check out my signature links for free JSR168 portlet programming tutorials and books). There were a few references to solutions that were 'largely static content with some dynamic features, and content updates delivered through CMS (content management systems).' Anyways, reading through those question I thought the answers were just screaming for a WebSphere Portal Server. I guess I can understand why the Sun exam didn't mention WebSphere, but no mention of a portal at all seemed strange. Instead, the answers used things like 'templatized website with dynamic elements,' which I guess is how you would describe a portal without actually using the word portal, but I digress.

Anyways, I do think it emphasizes the point that really, you're only ever going to get examined on the objectives. If there's no mention of a portal on the exam, well, don't mention the portal.

No UML. I don't recall a single UML question. I think an architect needs to know a bit of UML, but there wasn't any. Not that I'm complaining, but I do think it's mentionable.

NO SPRING Actually, this didn't surprise me, although I did think there might be some, at the very least, veiled references to aspect oriented programming, but I don't recall any. I haven't interviewed for a single architect position in years without having to prove an understanding of AOP and Spring (by the way, if you know of any good architect positions in Canada, let me know. I'm in the mood for a project change). So, I see a place for AOP and/or Spring in an architect certification, although I can certainly understand why Sun Microsystems didn't feel a compelling need to put a reference in there to a framework that isn't their own.

Lots of mention on the exam about teenagers. Whoever wrote the exam worked for GAP or something because half the questions started out "You are maintaining a site for a clothing store geared towards teenagers and young adults...." Personally, I found this, compounded by the pretty young college girls walking past the window of the training center, to be very distracting. Perhaps it was all part of the larger plan of the test designers. Still, after about the 50th question about a 'teenage fashion store' I was shaking my head; it wasn't offensive or anything, just kinda amusing.

Hmmmmm....What else....

Quite a few questions on why inheritance is good, and why interfaces are good. Again, basic questions that seemed more appropriate for the SCJA Exam, and I think any of my SCJA students would have aced them. Probably a dozen about the benefits of inheritance, abstraction and programming to an interface.

The exam started off with about 30 very specific design pattern questions. It was kinda fun for me, as I'm pretty comfortable with most of the patterns. It was like a job interview where they lob all these softball questions at you:



Which design pattern provides a simplified interface to a larger body of code? SESSION FACADE

Which design pattern minimizes network traffic - TRANSFER OBJECTS

How do you provide a way to visit every node in a hierarchical data structure such as a tree? HIERARCHIAL VISITOR PATTERN

How do you centralize the decision of factory creation? ABSTRACT FACTORY
How do you decouple an abstraction from its implementation to provide individual variations? BRIDGE PATTERN
How do you best contain requests and parameters? COMMAND PATTERN
How do you provide a common interface to a set of interfaces in a sub system? MEDIATOR PATTERN
Common way to separate complex Al Gore-isms from an object? VISITOR PATTERN
How to remember where you left your keys the last time you put them down? MEMENTO PATTERN


By the way, that blurb may look like I'm revealing questions from the exam, but the exam objectives are quite clear that you need to know those patterns. When the objectives state that you need to know the Memento Pattern, it shouldn't surprise you when I tell you that a question on the exam asks what the Memento pattern is.

Anyways, you had to know all the design patterns, and I mean ALL of them. For the most part, I found these questions to be like shooting fish in a barrel with bazooka, but I did get a few design patterns thrown at me that I actually haven't used or researched. For example, I had no idea what a FlyWeight was. I mean, a question referenced a FlyWeight, and I thought it was a joke. Seriously, I haven't even heard of that pattern, although now I've researched it, I kinda feel like someone who lives in Toronto and has never heard of Tim Hortons, but still.

One thing I will say though is that many questions hit hard on common themes. For example, I didn't know the FlyWeight pattern, but a couple of questions in a row hit on memory management, and saving space in memory, and I quickly figured out that FlyWeight had to do with memory management. It gave me a chance to go back to some previous questions and answer them with more confidence.

Also, I got killed on some of the visual design patterns. I don't do too much on the view side, so I'm not as familiar with benefits and drawbacks of composite view and other visual design patterns. You really gotta know your patterns well.

Lots of JSF. I've been buried in Struts for a long time, so I'm not as familiar with JSF. Lots of questions about benefits and drawbacks of JSF. I'm guessing JSF is bad with search engines, because every JSF question was worded in a way that seemed to say "JSF is the best thing since sliced bread, and will likely take over the world one day, although it may not work well with search engines. "

As I said, I don't know JSF inside out, and I haven't yet created any big, JSF custom components. Many questions seemed to imply that someone has a crazy script based special inheritable HTML visual gold nugget, and you want to do something with it, and somehow, I'm guessing a custom JSF component could do the trick? Again, my lack of JSF knowledge was certainly my Achilles heel on this exam.

Lots of EJB 3.0 stuff towards the end. Again, I do alot of Hibernate, but since IBM and WebSphere have decided that WebSphere 7 is never going to be released, and that EJB 3.0 will probably never be supported in a full release, I just haven't had a chance to work much with EJB 3.0. (Can you tell that I'm a little bitter at IBM's inability to release a 'new product,� and when I say new, I mean a full version product release that supports EJB 3.0, which has now been around for years! I mean, c�mon, the proposed final ballot for EJB 3.0 was revealed in December of 2005).

So, some of the EJB 3.0 stuff I was a little weak on, but I am almost finished a book about Learning Hibernate, so much of the persistence stuff is the same, so I was able to bluff my way through that. Also, there were alot of questions about Stateless/Stateful/Entity beans and Web Services. I'm guessing from the 30 questions on the subject that only a stateless session bean can be easily turned into a web service? Lots of questions about that.

Oh, and back to the friendly, slim, brunette, young-adult, females in fashionable, yet moderately revealing clothes, well, lots of the questions about the fashion store would ask about the architecture:

They only want to use JSPs, and the JSPs will have scriptlets in them that have SQL statements embedded. This is the only way it can be done, and the way everyone wants it done, and if you don't do it this way, it is wrong. What is the suggested approach?
JSPs and Scriptlets
JSPs Servlets and EJBs
JSF and Custom tags
Any web framework with JDBC

Obviously this isn't a real question, but they were sorta like that - I mean, the question would totally steer you towards an answer that was to use JSPs and Scriptlets, and just hit the back end database, so, you'd be using a really JSP based architecture (app server/database) and no real MVC. I mean, I would NEVER recommended a JSP and scriptlet solution, but really, there seemed like a couple of questions where they were steering you towards that as the only correct answer. Purely on principle, I never answered a question as having a 'JSP and scriptlet' solution as the correct answer, but I think in one or two cases, it may have been correct.

Again, that's a common type of question - maybe 20 questions giving you a scenario and asking if you'd use 1,2,3 or a 4 tier arch. Also, similar questions would ask if you would implement with:

JSF
JSF with custom tags
JSP
JSP with standards tags
and stuff like that.

Many times they'd want to know if you'd solve a problem with Servlets and JSPs, JSF, JSF and EJBs, JSPs with direct database access, JSPs & Servlets & JDBC, JSPs Servlets & JDO, JSPs Servlets & EJBs, Servlets & EJB 3.0, Servlets and EJB 2.0, and stuff like that. Again, basic architecture questions to see if you understand how to use the technology to architect a solution that fits the clients needs.

Also, you need to know the benefits of 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 tier technology. For example, they'll say:

You're buying the biggest and best server from Sun. It's the most powerful box in the world, it never fails, it never shuts down, it automatically switches to battery, wind or solar power if the electricity fails, and it comes in a variety of colors. You are going to use this one, single, stand alone box as your web server, sitting in front of your application servers. What is a drawback to this solution?

None: There are no drawbacks to using Sun products
Maintainability
Availability
Maintenance
Scalability
Flexibility
Performance
Deployment
Management
Upgradability
Failover

Anyways, you know the list of things that any type of architecture choice can either impact positively or negatively. Know when one hardware solution presents a problem for scalability, or when another provides a problem for doing maintenance.

Actually, I think many of these questions were somewhat debatable. I mean, I was thinking while doing the exam that if I put a similar question up on JavaRanch, it'd probably start a real thread of flames, with everyone debating on why one thing was or wasn't scalable, or why another was or wasn't maintainable. Still, I think there was an agreeable 'right' answer for the questions they asked.

One thing that did bug me about a few questions was they said things like "design a solution...blah...blah...blah....that non-developers would maintain." So, like, what's a non-developer? Does that mean someone that knows Java, but not Spring and Hibernate and JPA? Does that mean someone that's skilled at HTML but not Java? Is that someone that can do little scriptlets?

I think for these questions, they probably wanted you to choose JSPs with JSTL tags in them, as opposed to big JSF applications. But, isn't JSF with the whole bean backing thing a bit easier to maintain for a non-programmer? Personally, if a non-programmer is the secretary who's skills don't go beyond getting coffee and donuts for his boss, well, I don't want him maintaining anything, be it an EJB, JSP, EJB or HTML page. The references to code that must be maintained by non-programmers, or non-developers, or non-technical people, was probably the biggest thing I didn't like in the exam.

Overall, I'd actually say it was a fairly fun exam. No code, just really high level questions that target your understanding of the popular Java technology in use today. Who knows, maybe I'll write an SCEA Certification Guide or Sun Certified Enterprise Architect Study Guide? It's nice writing books about Java that don't contain any code or UML. That always makes things much easier.

By the way, they don't give you the score at the end of the exam, which is unusual. Usually there's that moment when you click 'Finish' and you wait for that bar graph to come up and see if you passed or failed. This time, you just get a note that says Sun will get in contact with you in 6-8 weeks with your results. Nothing prints off from the machine either. It actually really threw the woman at the testing center off, not having something at least print off. She went to my computer and started clicking away on the machine, sure that I'd done something wrong, but I assured her, this exam didn't come with a result. Also, there's a second part to the SCEA exam. Apparently, Sun will tell me more about doing that part when they send me the results.

Just a reminder to anyone new to the exam to check out the FAQ about the SCEA exam for some answers to common questions. I know everyone's probably real anxious to know all about the exam, but lots of the common questions are answered in the FAQ.

So, I hope that answers alot of your questions about the exam. I also hope I haven't given too much away, although I don't think so. Really, much of what I've said here can be garnered by reading the exam objectives, which really should be used as the cornerstone of any effort to get your Sun Certified Enterprise Architect Certification

-Cameron McKenzie
[ October 08, 2007: Message edited by: Cameron McKenzie ]
anand phulwani
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 10, 2005
Posts: 242
Dear Cameron McKenzie,

Its nice to see someone posting to the ranch after writing the exam,i was expecting lot of posts on 28th but could see none,by the way congrats for writing the exam and lets hope that you do good and there is one more request from my side,will you suggest some books for prepration,i have a good knowledge of jsp/servlets and EJB,will you suggest which side should i concentrate more.


Thanks and Regards, Anand
SCJP 5.0 310-055 73%, SCWCD 1.4 310-081 78%, IBM DB2 9 Fundamentals 000-730 62%
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
author and cow tipper
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 26, 2006
Posts: 4968
    
    1

To be honest, I don't know what books to suggest.

There was ALOT of EJB 3.0, JPA and JSF stuff on there, so the old SCEA books out there, which aren't all that great to begin with, are rendered pretty much useless.

Plus, there's no code on the exam, so reading a whole book about doing JSF development would be a waste, from an exam standpoint (although I don't think learning JSF is in itself, a waste of time at all. JSF is the wave of the present.)

I am actually very seriously thinking of penning a book on the topic myself. Very much of my SCJA Certification Guide covers the high level concepts of the server side technologies and client side technologies. Plus, you needed to know about OOA and OOD as well, which I think my SCJA Guide does better than any other reference out there. Throw in a little bit about JSF, and update some EJB material to cover 3.0, and I think you've got something.

The more I think about it, the more I think I could probably put together a really good learning guide for SCEA. It's a thought.

-Cameron McKenzie
[ September 30, 2007: Message edited by: Cameron McKenzie ]
chris zielinski
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 22, 2007
Posts: 41
Cameron,

Have you previously taken the SCEA (old version) exam? I am curious to know if the questions on topics like applicability, patterns etc are similar in nature to the older exam's questions..
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
author and cow tipper
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 26, 2006
Posts: 4968
    
    1

This was my first ever introduction to SCEA. I can't comment on the evolution of the exam.

-Cameron McKenzie
J Vallejo
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 29, 2007
Posts: 31
Just curious. Don't you feel time pressured at all? Is the 4 hour allotment fair enough in the beta exam? Or was it too long?

Lastly, how long did it take you to come up with a good/confident answer for most of the questions, on average.


J Vallejo<br />SCDJWS 5, SCJP 1.5, SCBCD 1.3
Rodrigo Malara
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 01, 2007
Posts: 9
Cameron,

thanks for posting your experience. It is very valuable for us that are about to do the test.
I would like to ask you about how much of J2EE patterns you saw in the test. How would you rank the amount of J2EE x GoF patterns in the exam? Sth like 25% x 75% ?

Thanks in advance

Rodrigo Malara
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
author and cow tipper
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 26, 2006
Posts: 4968
    
    1

As far as being time pressured, I'd say no, but I'd also say by the end, I wasn't totally concentrating on the whole question. I mean, you'd often have a two or three sentence preamble, followed by some pointed question like:

Which solution would be more scalable?

One Tier
Two Tier
Three Tier
Four Tier


I got to a point where I'd just read the pointed question and look at the possible answers. You often didn't totally need the preamble. If there wasn't a clear answer, then I might read the preamble, but you didn't always have to. Again, this was a free exam, comped by Sun, so the pressure wasn't on me like there is when you've just forked out $200 and you really, really put in the time to study.

As far as time goes, I think I finished it all in just less than 3 hours. By time I got to about the 100th question, I was really more interested in completing the thing than really putting my heart and soul into getting the right answer. Human nature, I guess.

As far as comparison of GOF and J2EE patterns, well, I'd say they were pretty mixed. I mean, there might be a question, and there might be four options, and two options might be GOF patterns, and the other two might be J2EE patterns. There really wasn't a clear separation.

To be honest, it's been so long since I read the GOF book and the J2EE patterns books that I can't remember which patterns come from where. They're all a big, yet important, blended blur to me now. That's probably the best way to approach it. Just know the patterns, don't worry too much about where they come from.

Best of luck!

-Cameron McKenzie
J Vallejo
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 29, 2007
Posts: 31
Thanks Cameron! You are really been helpful with your answers.
amit taneja
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 14, 2003
Posts: 810
Hi... i m wating for question asked by chris zielinski above ....
i.e
Have you previously taken the SCEA (old version) exam? I am curious to know if the questions on topics like applicability, patterns etc are similar in nature to the older exam's questions.. from some one who give the exam in future

thanks


Thanks and Regards, Amit Taneja
Hong Anderson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 05, 2005
Posts: 1936
Thank you. Very detailed and useful feedback


SCJA 1.0, SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.4, SCBCD 1.3, SCJP 5.0, SCEA 5, SCBCD 5; OCUP - Fundamental, Intermediate and Advanced; IBM Certified Solution Designer - OOAD, vUML 2; SpringSource Certified Spring Professional
anand phulwani
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 10, 2005
Posts: 242
Dear Amit Taneja,

I think you missed a post and a part of the other one,so just quoting those for your information.

1)Regarding your question about whether Mr McKenzie had appeared on the earlier SCEA exam.

This was my first ever introduction to SCEA. I can't comment on the evolution of the exam.


2)Regarding your question regarding whether topics match older SCEA books.

There was ALOT of EJB 3.0, JPA and JSF stuff on there, so the old SCEA books out there, which aren't all that great to begin with, are rendered pretty much useless.

Plus, there's no code on the exam, so reading a whole book about doing JSF development would be a waste, from an exam standpoint (although I don't think learning JSF is in itself, a waste of time at all. JSF is the wave of the present.)


Hope for the best.
Paul Croarkin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 30, 2004
Posts: 106
Cameron,

Thank you for your insights.

Were there any questions on security? Applet or servlet based?


Thanks,<br /> <br />Paul Croarkin<br />SCEA 5, SCWCD, SCJP
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
author and cow tipper
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Joined: Aug 26, 2006
Posts: 4968
    
    1

Indeed, security came up a few times, but out of 160 questions, I don't think I can even recall five.

One question asked about when you might need to use programmatic security, as opposed to role based. Another was asking about what options you had for security, such as user constraints, web constraints, role constraints, etc. I think something else wondered exactly what it was you could secure. So, could you secure a URL? A JSP that's unmapped in the web.xml file? A JSP that is mapped in the web.xml file? A filter? A SLSB? A SFSB?

I personally felt that the security questions were softball pitches if you've ever secured a J2EE application. Of course, that's part of my admin/application assembler background, which I've done alot of. Perhaps an architect that doesn't do quite so much application assembly might not be quite as comfortable with it.

I've certainly seen harder security questions on the SCWCD and SCBCD exams.

-Cameron McKenzie
Paul Croarkin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 30, 2004
Posts: 106
Thanks, Cameron. I think I've got web security down. I was wondering more about applet security.
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
author and cow tipper
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 26, 2006
Posts: 4968
    
    1

Honestly, I don't recall anything about Applet security. I mean, there were 160 questions, and my mind did go numb after about question 95, but applet security doesn't ring any bells with me.

-Cameron McKenzie
eduardo ferreira
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 01, 2007
Posts: 16
Anything about Java web start?
Jignesh Patel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 03, 2001
Posts: 626

Cameron,
Awesome, inputs.

How do you provide a way to visit every node in a hierarchical data structure such as a tree?

Don't you think this is applies to Composite Pattern. In a GOF there is nothing call hierarchical Visitor Pattern.
[ October 03, 2007: Message edited by: Jignesh Patel ]
Leonardo Rafaeli
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 12, 2005
Posts: 58
Cameron

How many questions did you answered correctly?

regards
Leo
[ October 04, 2007: Message edited by: Leonardo Rafaeli ]

SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.4, SCBCD 5, OCUP, SCEA 5 (I), Oracle SOA Implementation Specialist, IBM Websphere Lombardi 7.1 Fundamentals
Blog: [url]http://www.leozin.com.br/blog[/url]
nagu madras
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 04, 2007
Posts: 3
Hi Cameron,

Thanks for posting valuable information you have gathered from the exam. I am new to design patterns. I have taken a line from your initial posting and request you to help me clarify it:

Common way to separate complex Al Gore-isms from an object? VISITOR PATTERN

I feel it's Strategy pattern and visitor pattern adds new operation to a already existing class without changing its structure. Please correct if I am wrong.

Thanks
Nagu.
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
author and cow tipper
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 26, 2006
Posts: 4968
    
    1

Actually, that definition of the Visitor pattern was a quote from the documentation. Sounds about right to me.

-Cameron McKenzie
Jignesh Patel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 03, 2001
Posts: 626

How many questions did you aswered correctly?


Are you going to give marks???
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
author and cow tipper
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 26, 2006
Posts: 4968
    
    1

Well, I think I got 100%. But Sun may think differently.

As I said in the note above, you don't get your score when you finish. It's a beta, so Sun must decide which questions go into the real exam pool, which questions are incorrect, which question are too easy, which questions are too hard, etc. Once they figure that out, they evaluate the scores appropriately and send the results back to the people who took part.

They said 6-8 weeks.

-Cameron McKenzie
J Vallejo
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 29, 2007
Posts: 31
Does it mean all of us who took the beta exam will receive the results at the same time regardless whether one took it as early as Sept or as late as Oct. 22?
Lorenz Baylon
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 04, 2006
Posts: 99
Hi Cameron, how long did you wait until you heard from Sun regarding your exam results? Does the results info contain details like percentages for every exam objective? Thanks
[ October 05, 2007: Message edited by: lhorenz baylon ]

I just cant look, its killing me.
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
author and cow tipper
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 26, 2006
Posts: 4968
    
    1

As I've said a few times in this thread, Sun tells you the results will come back in 6-8 weeks. You don't get the results in the testing center.

I should probably have mentioned that I wrote on September 29th to give viewers of this thread an idea of when that would be. It's difficult to tell how old the thread is.

I don't expect any results until the end of November to the middle of December.

I'll post my results when I get them back.

-Cameron McKenzie
[ October 05, 2007: Message edited by: Cameron McKenzie ]
Leonardo Rafaeli
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 12, 2005
Posts: 58
Thanks cameron

I will do my SCEA 5 beta test in next October, 18th

I did my SCBCD5 last tuesday

if what you said is correct, I think I will get a good score because I work with JPA and I'm a JSF specialist hehehe
Baskar Tiruchy
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 30, 2007
Posts: 7
Hi Cameron

How do you provide a common interface to a set of interfaces in a sub system?

guess the answer should be FACADE pattern but I find in your documentation it is mentioned as MEDIATOR.

Appreciate your response
Akshay Kiran
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 18, 2005
Posts: 220
Could you direct me to the SCEA "FAQ" that you mentioned?

regards,
Akshay


"It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do<br />what's required."<br /> <br />-- Sir Winston Churchill
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
author and cow tipper
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 26, 2006
Posts: 4968
    
    1

Heh...Starting to think a new thread should be started for some of these discussions.....

With regards to the mediator pattern, here's a quote:

Definition

Define an object that encapsulates details and other objects interact with such object. The relationships are loosely decoupled.
Where to use & benefits

* Partition a system into pieces or small objects.
* Centralize control to manipulate participating objects(a.k.a colleagues)
* Clarify the complex relationship by providing a board committee.
* Limit subclasses.
* Improve objects reusabilities.
* Simplify object protocols.
* The relationship between the control class and other participating classes is multidirectional.
* Related patterns include
o Facade, which abstracts a subsystem to provide a more convenient interface, and its protocol is unidirectional, whereas a mediator enables cooperative behavior and its protocol is multidirectional.
o Command, which is used to coordinate functionality.
o Observer, which is used in mediator pattern to enhance communication.


JavaCamp.org

-Cameron McKenzie
janaka chandrajith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 04, 2007
Posts: 35
Cameron McKenzie

Thanks a lot for the very valubale informations.
it will be very helful

janaka
Darya Akbari
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 21, 2004
Posts: 1855
Originally posted by Cameron McKenzie:
Also, there were alot of questions about Stateless/Stateful/Entity beans and Web Services. I'm guessing from the 30 questions on the subject that only a stateless session bean can be easily turned into a web service? Lots of questions about that.


Hi Cameron,

Thanks for your great insight of what expect us, who still have to go through it.

Concerning Entity Beans, where there really lots of questions about them . On the other hand Objectives 4.1 and 4.2 clearly state that they are being tested.

Maybe because its all the BETA version


SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD
Bryan Basham
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 30, 2001
Posts: 199
Hello Cameron,

Very interesting post. As one of the SCEA team, I would like to comment on a few of your comments.

First, I worked on the web tier questions and I can tell you that the scenarios are very important in my questions. Very often the scenario creates a few constraints on the problem being solved. If you ignore these constraints and just answer "what would I do with today's technology" you will get a few questions wrong. The reason for this is that every architect will be faced with problems that don't have easy or quick solutions; this is especially true for consultants. I remember one of my scenarios was that the architect has inherited an old webapp with *lots* of architectural problems. The architect was faced with so many possible ways of cleaning up the architecture of that webapp, but in the scenario the critical item that the architect *had* to fix. All of the options were valid things to fix, but only one fixed the immediate problem posed by the scenario. So... do not skip the scenarios.

There were other sets of question that I worked on in which the scenario was too distracting. In these cases, the team during technical review decided to remove the scenario.

Second, I hope you were not offended by the fake companies I (and a few others) created, such as "Sparkle and Bling". We did this because and few other members of the team were using such generic company names, like Xyz Bank, that we felt it was boring. So I spiced the scenarios up a bit to make it more fun. Sorry if you didn't appreciate the "fun".

About no code... It was decided very early on that we would not have any code in the Part I exam. I cannot talk about the Part II (assignment) exam because I was not part of that effort. The goal of Part I is to test your (a) knowledge of Java EE technologies, (b) knowledge of OO Design and patterns, and (c) knowledge of how to organize a Java EE application into logical and physical tiers and how those choices affect systemic qualities.

You made an interesting comment that (I paraphrase) someone who can pass the Java Associate exam can pass the SCEA exam. If this is true then our team has grossly missed the mark. Fortunately, the Beta test will tell us if this is the case. The psychometric analysis of the exam items will tell us (well, tell Sun/Evelyn) if any given test item is too easy.

Lastly, about no UML... I was not involved in the item writing for Section One which is the section that covers most of the UML and OO Design questions; so I cannot comment on this. However, I do know that UML will be an essential element of the assignment (Part II) of the exam.

Best regards,
Bryan
Ashu Sharma
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2001
Posts: 53
You made an interesting comment that (I paraphrase) someone who can pass the Java Associate exam can pass the SCEA exam. If this is true then our team has grossly missed the mark.


And that is true to some extent. I think the SCJA exam has been overdone for the level of an associate.
arvin ramon
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 04, 2007
Posts: 31
First of all, Thank you very much Cameron for the wonderful review and the tips.

After reading your review, I figured, I might as well borrow the SCJA Examscam book from my friend who recently passed the SCJA exam after reading your book. I still found that the topics in that book were of associate level and lots of topics covered for SCEA 5 exam are not in that book. I was able to finish the server technologies portion in a couple of hours and I am very sure that though the book might help in few areas, there will be a lot of topics like Design Patterns, Security which will not be sufficient after reading the book.

Just wanted to share this with fellow ranchers who might falsely think that the SCJA book will help folks pass SCEA.
Srikanth Kanagaratnam
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 29, 2004
Posts: 23
I did the exam on last Saturday. Its very tuf...155 question for 41/2 hrs


Srikanth MBCS, SCJA, SCJP, SCWCD, SCBCD
Srinivasa Raghavan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 1228
Originally posted by Srikanth Kanagaratnam:
I did the exam on last Saturday. Its very tuf...155 question for 41/2 hrs



Even I tried this last saturday. I got 153 questions fro 4.5 hrs. No UML, more question on EJB, JSF,JPA & handling two and three tire architectures.


Thanks & regards, Srini
MCP, SCJP-1.4, NCFM (Financial Markets), Oracle 9i - SQL ( 1Z0-007 ), ITIL Certified
ankur rathi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 11, 2004
Posts: 3830
Originally posted by Cameron McKenzie:

I actually think someone that had read the server technologies section of my Sun Certified Java Associate Study Guide, yes, the associate book, would have done fairly well on the exam. Many of the questions revolved around where certain technologies properly fit, all at a very high level.


Thanks a ton Cameron for your valuable feedback.

Just hoping if you would have published this chapter online, can we have link of that???

Lorenz Baylon
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 04, 2006
Posts: 99
Hi Bryan, is it possible to share with us your ideas on how the exam's result will be assessed? I mean, I didnt see any 'Passing score' details in Sun's SCEA webpage. Also, any ideas on why does it take 6-8 weeks before the aspirants will be able to know their results? Thanks
Bryan Basham
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 30, 2001
Posts: 199
Hello lhorenz,

The purpose of the Beta exam is manifold. As I mentioned, one purpose is to evaluate how well an individual item performs; is it too easy or too hard?

Another is: How many items should be on each "form" (a specific instance of the exam) and how many correct answers are required to pass? We don't know the answer to these questions until after the Beta.

Some tests are very difficult and thus you might only need to get 50% of the items correct to pass. Other tests (even for the same subject) might be easier and you might need to get 75% of the items correct to pass.

Make sense? That is why you do not get a pass/fail result after a Beta test.

BTW, all of this analysis is handled by a professional psychometric organization. Neither Sun nor the SCEA team is involved during that effort; so please do not ask how its going. BTW, when Sun gets this information most of it is kept secret; even the item writing team (me included) will not know this information.

HTH,
Bryan
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: Wrote SCEA Beta Test Exam Today - Feedback on the Sun Certified Architect Exam Part 1