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 passed my SCWCD exam today with a score of 95%. Thanks to all on this forum, I haven't posted here before, but reading what other people have written was a great help to me.
To prepare I read the Head First... book through, taking notes as I went, I then went through the guide at http://java.boot.by/wcd-guide/ . I was also lucky enough to have access to 3 different exam simulators, which really helped - I have seen a number of posts asking which is the best simulator to use, so I have done a short comparative review (see below).
A few notes about the exam itself: The questions were all quite well written - on my SCJP exam I found the wording in a few of the questions to be a bit ambiguous, but no such problems here. The drag and drop questions (I had 4) are very badly designed, in that when you go back to review a question you can't see what your answer was, you either have to start again from scratch, or trust that you didn't make a mistake when you answered it the first time round - they really need to sort this issue out, very sloppy! The design patterns questions were all fairly easy, and there were at least 6 on my exam - I think the trick is to look out for certain keywords/phrases that are associated with each pattern (eg 'workflow' = Front Controller, 'JNDI lookup' = Service Locator etc) There wasn't much EL on my exam, maybe only 4 questions Make sure you not only know the methods of all the various classes, but also which package they belong to - especially on the request/response - which are in HttpServlet... and which are in Servlet... There were a number of questions on jsp:useBean and jsp:get/setProperty - its important to know the attributes, and what combinations are valid for useBean Several questions about listeners - ensure that you know which events go with which listeners, and also what all the listeners actually do
I think that careful study of the HFJS book on its own will get you a good mark, but there was definitely the odd question that wasn't covered in there - I highly recommend using one of the simulators if you can - they seem to cover all the topics quite nicely.
SCWCD Simulators I used the following simulators while preparing for this exam:
Whizlabs [http://www.whizlabs.com/products/scwcd/scwcd.html] 5 exams of 69 questions each, and a set of 'quiz' questions for each topic (ie just short 1-liners, generally easier than 'real' exam questions) The questions are harder than those on the Sun exam, so this is a good work-out for the real thing. A number of the questions are quite poorly written, the language used does not always make clear what is required, and I found several mistakes in the answers. The answers have quite good explanations, although many of them do sound like they were written by someone for whom English is a second language. The user interface is fine, and the drag-and-drop works better than on the real exam! All in all this simulator is a great way to prepare for the exam, and I would recommend it.
Enthuware JWebPlus http://www.enthuware.com/jwebplus/index.html 7 exams of 69 questions each - the questions are similar in difficulty to those on Whizlabs, perhaps a shade easier, but still tougher than the real thing. Once again there were quite a few mistakes in the answers - some were just badly worded and some were plain wrong, although this is made up for to some extent by the 'Discuss' button, which can take you to a page on the forum of the Enthuware website dedicated to each particular question. Looking in the forum I found that most of the mistakes had already been spotted by others, and it is reassuring to see that you're not the only one to think that you have found something wrong. I liked the user-interface for this simulator - tidy, and with some useful features. Once again, a great simulator which I would recommend.
Certgear SCWCD http://www.certgear.com/products/info/scwcd.htm 4 exams of about 90 questions each - the questions are generally shorter than those on the other simulators, and considerably easier - this simulator would be fine for checking that you know the basics early on in your preparation, but I could not recommend this as a means of preparing for the final exam. Some of the questions could be guessed by someone who has never written a line of code in their lives, and its easy to eliminate some of the multiple choice answers just using common sense (eg. questions where you are asked to pick 2 correct answers, and one of the options is 'none of the above'...)
In conclusion, either the Whizlabs or Enthuware JWebPlus simulators would make fine preparation tools for the exam, but with JWebPlus at nearly half the price of Whizlabs ($35 instead of $65), and with more 'exam style' questions, this one was the clear winner for me. If you can afford it buy both, but if you have to pick I would say go with JWebPlus.