This week's book giveaway is in the OO, Patterns, UML and Refactoring forum. We're giving away four copies of Refactoring for Software Design Smells: Managing Technical Debt and have Girish Suryanarayana, Ganesh Samarthyam & Tushar Sharma on-line! See this thread for details.
I found the exam to be fairly difficult because it includes many questions covering pointless details such as (1) What package is a certain class in? (Is it javax.servlet or javax.servlet.http) (2) What is the precise tag name of an element in the web.xml file? (Is it <taglib> or <tag-lib> ) In my opinion, this level of detail is not a good way to conduct the exam because these are not things a real developer needs to have memorized. A reference book is always available, and tools like JBuilder will generate the web.xml tags for you anyway. To be fair, about 2/3 of the questions are reasonable and some are very clever because they test more than one concept in a single question. It's the memorization of obscure details involved in the other 1/3 of the questions that I object to. Since the test has a very low pass threshold of only 61%, you can still pass easily without memorizing the web.xml file, although it certainly would help. I will give my opinions on the following study approaches I took: 1. Two years experience coding JSPs and Servlets. (Best preparation, but by itself would not have been enough to pass!) 2. Read "Java Server Pages" by Hans Bergsten. (Great book with a few flaws. I recommend it.) 3. Read the Servlet specification. (Helpful, but any good book on the subject will cover it in a more readable way, with examples.) 4. Took the Java Ranch sample exam. (Very good, but a little easier than the real thing.) 5. Started Eduardo Cobian's mock exam. (Stopped after a few questions because I felt it was unrealistic and contained errors.) 6. Read Ken Zrobok's notes. (These are very good as a supplement to other sources.) 7. Read O'Reilly's Listener tutorial. (Concise. Contains all you will need to know on the topic of listeners for the exam.) 8. Read Sun's White Paper on Filters. (Unnecessary. This topic is not on the exam!) Even thought I think the exam is a bit unfair, the process of preparing for it really strengthened my knowledge of Servlets and JSP, so I think it is a very worthwhile effort. Good luck to all of you.