-Books Used: HFS&JSP, Exam Study Kit by Malavia et all.
Started on certification after I got my HFS book by the end of September. Previously I had Study Kit, the coverage was good and comprehensive but details too dry to gulp down.
The HFS book, I sincerely thank to Kathy Sierra ( She always responded whenever I needed help, Thanks Kathy). The HFS was the book that made me to think and inspired to learn technology. I know it might be redundant to talk about this, as all ranchers know this fact. All is I wish the best to Bert Bates and Baysham and Kathy for their outstanding work.
I focussed on these special topics and tried to read their details as much as possible because of their importance for the exam and confusion.
------ Special Topics -------
All flavours of "include". Read details from specs.
RequestDispatcher and forwards.
sendError and logging.
Used wonderful ppt for Listener interfaces from Javaranch.
Taglibs. Specially classic tags. I read these many times.
JavaBeans, nobody but HFS defined this to its best.
Made my own maps for authorization and tried to implement each and every possible scenario on Tomcat and Weblogic. I never knew how actually <transposrt-guarantee> will work until I used INTEGRAL type and deployed application in Weblogic to actually to see chnaging protocols from 'http' to 'https'.
To be honest, actual test was relatively simpler then Mock exams. I scored 72% in Final Mock exam and was somewhat upset.
------- Mock Exams ------
Tried all the freely available Mock exams, including JWeb+ ( I got three free standard tests with the book CD). I did all the mocks regardsless of their versions whether it was for 1.4 or 1.3. I wouldn't worry about obvious drop out topics. I liked the tests from j2eecertificate.com.
----- Notes --------
Made my own notes and summarised hard to get at one place materials.
----- Preparation Time -------------
I was fairly irregular until the start of this ( November )month. Sometime I would study for 2-3 hours somedays not!. However last two weeks were pretty busy. In the very last week, I took final week off from my office to study it full-time. 5-7 hrs a day.
----- Tip --------
Mock exams are good but try to get a very clear understanding of the subject. This is real important because actual test questions are sometime real brainy. BTW: Design Patterns are very easy to guess--trust me!
At the end , many thanks to all the Javaranch, without your lively presence thinks would have been stalemate.