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Method for learning a Head First chapter?

John Summers
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 06, 2003
Posts: 125

This is not specific to this forum but nowhere else to post it.

I'm working through Head First JSP & Servlets and wondering what actual nitty gritty technique people use for learning and absorping a single chapter. Obviously just reading it from start to finish is a start but not much good. So this is really a 'learning science' question.

What I do is to slowly read through the chapter making brief, concise notes using acronyms, diagrams and colours (bit like the book itself!). Then at the end I make a few mind maps ( and a large set of test questions. As I do each successive chapter I go back and practice recalling the mind map and answering the questions.

So just wondering how you guys actually, at the lowest level, work through each chapter. How long does it take? What techniques do you use? Flashcards?

Alexandre Cervieri

Joined: Aug 02, 2005
Posts: 27
Hello John,

I'm just started to study for the SCWCD exam, but I'm trying to follow the same techniques I used ono the SCJP exam preparation (which I scored 98%, so I think it worked).
- First of all I just read from start to finish to take a first glance of the topics included.
- Then, I re-read the chapter taking notes, sometimes just copying tables, method signatures, class diagrams in my own formatting preferences to better memorize them. Similar but a little bit simpler then the mindmaps you mentioned.
- After that I write some code to practice the chapter subjects.
- Finally I answer the chapter questions and other questions related to it on the Internet.
By the way, I'm using the "SCWCD Study Guide, second edition" instead of Head First. I don't have a strong position about which is the better.


[ August 08, 2005: Message edited by: Alexandre Cervieri ]
Jack Gold
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 04, 2005
Posts: 85
I am doing it similarly to Alexandre. Having not done web development before this is a new paradigm. Alot of the SCJP exam was applying C++ concept (object orientation etc) to java language syntax. This webdev is all new and it requires alot of memorization.

I do not think most people could read and absorb in a single pass. I have decided to break the book into two halves. The logical break seems to be ch1-6 / ch7-14. I have just finished ch6 and am going back to make my own notes on chs 1-6. I think if I continued reading through the entire book, I would lose alot of the material from 1-6 so am working on solidifying it now.

SCJP 1.4<br />SCJD <br />SCWCD (Studying)
Jeff Zohrab

Joined: Jul 24, 2002
Posts: 7
While going through the book, I'm implementing the examples in one big example website. For example, I have Pg382UsingParamValues.jsp, src/com/example/, etc.

I have a single index.html that has links to every servlet/jsp example, and the web.xml just grows. I throw all examples into src/, and have a script that redeploys everything to Tomcat.

It works pretty well. I find that I hardly ever have to restart Tomcat, even if I change the web.xml (I thought I'd have to shutdown/restart all the time, but it's such a hassle).

I'm hoping that the "learn by doing" approach will stick. If I'm trying to implement an example after I've read a section, I'll do it without looking at the book, to see if I've kind of got it. The time it takes me to type stuff probably also gives my brain a rest. And I scribble all over the book, cross-referencing everything to/from earlier/later stuff.

Hope this helps,


PS - take lots of breaks!

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