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JavaRanch » Java Forums » Certification » Architect Certification (SCEA/OCMJEA)
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Old exam part 1... my experience

John Summers
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 06, 2003
Posts: 125
Hi Ranchers,

This post may be already out of date but damn it I did the work, I passed this morning with 91% and I've always wanted to do a 'my experience' post!

I initially decided to finally do the exam after reading Peter Cook's post here:

This post really inspired me to get my arse in gear and do the exam I'd toyed with doing for years. In hindsight I would say Peter is probably a quicker learner than me as I could not have passed doing as little studying as he did. A few points in reference to Peter's post:

-Peter must have a superb memory. When he says 'read' stuff for me I had to 'read and really learn' the stuff i.e. write notes.. wait a bit, see if I could remember it.
-Learn different types of UML arrow well!
-You need to learn all the design patterns well. Just learning DAO is not enough. I used the Head First book.
-Learning EJB lifecycle is not enough. You need to learn plenty of other EJB stuff, too.
-You need to learn the different protocols and what they are capable of.. you can't just skim this bit.
-For most people doing this little preparation will result in a failure.

For my preparation I did the following:

-Made notes on the Cade book and also extensively used Peter Morgan's notes
-Used GOF and Head First design patterns book. Read the HF one really well. God I love patterns.
-Used several chapters of the O'Reilly EJB book as reference
-Used a big collection of random websites to research various topics e.g. ACID, cold/warm/hot backups, active replication, DNS Round Robin.

Did the following mock exams:
-Both Moelholm exams (what a beautiful applet)
-HarishRamChandani exam
-Obtained a 'cheat' style 'real questions' exam and did that (more as a mock than a cheating thing)
-Did the first 180 questions on Gireesh's monster 288 question exam (I did it as 3 sets of 60 at a time)

My observations:
-In total I did 7 mocks. You don't need to do more than this. 7 sets of around 50 questions is plenty
-Gireesh's exam is an excellent resource. You will learn a lot doing it as the explanations are excellent. However, a very few of the answers are wrong so be careful.
-The GOF design patterns book is not so easy to read. Get the Head First one instead.
-The Cade book is a disgrace. I don't know how useful it is for part 2 but as for part 1 I was disgusted. How can they sell this thing? He must have spent like 2 days writing it. Half the stuff is missing. He doesn't even bother including the Entity Bean lifecycle even though it's a requirement. Huge chunks of stuff are missing. What a crock. Do NOT buy this for part one. All you need are:
a)Peter Morgan's notes or another set of quality notes
b)Head First design patterns
c)Quality EJB book
d)The internet
e)5 or more quality mocks (ps. You don't need to do any cheat paper you can pass the exam easily without it)

Approx total time spent:
-Learning design patterns: 12 hrs
-Learning EJB stuff: 10 hrs
-Learning Cade and Peter Morgan:15 hrs
-Mocks: around 2 hours each (each one around 1 hour to do, 1 hour to revise) so around 14 hours
-Random re-learning stuff: 6 hrs
Total: about 60 hours.

Good luck

[ March 16, 2008: Message edited by: John Summers ]
rania ferrag
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 04, 2004
Posts: 88
Hi John,

Congratulation for your pass for the Part 1 !! and wish you the best for the next exams

Thank you for sharing with us your experience even it's related with the old version of SCEA, but still some topics in the old version are included in the new SCEA 5, so it's useful to read your post even for those will prepare for the new SCEA.


Joe Harry
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 26, 2006
Posts: 9752


SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.4 - Hints for you, Certified Scrum Master
Did a rm -R / to find out that I lost my entire Linux installation!
ShahzadGul Khan

Joined: Mar 18, 2008
Posts: 2
Dear John Summers,

Congratulation on your success.

I am also preparing for SCEA5 Part 1 exam. Can you please share your mock exams and other study stuff. Thanks
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subject: Old exam part 1... my experience