I prepared with HFS book. I red it twice & a 3rd time after taking some free mock exams from net. I especially gone through the wrong answers which i thought right, to know why its not right. I think u got it right what i mean to say here.. Righttttt....
Regarding preparation I started seriously from the month of jan 2006.(Becos suddenly it striked me that my voucher is going to expire on Feb 28 2006). I don't know about others but I really felt unwanted pressure having an exam date & trying to make everyday count. That too, last 4 to 5 weekends were fully covered up for the preparation. Comparativly, for my previous 2 exams i prepared fully, then I purchased the voucher & given the exam within a week, i felt more relaxed doing that way.
Coming back to preparation I covered the spec especially after seeing the review questions for EL in HFS. For ex, Which directives & actions only used by Tag Files ? Which made me to open my Spec.. Then I covered up the Tag Files & related JSTL tags like <c:forTokens> which the book accepts it doesn't cover. Even I gone through Servlet Spec for security & Deployment Descriptor chapters.
I did all free mock exams(Stil now I never purchased any commercial mocks for any of my exams). Studied some notes including Mikalai's notes (not very serious attempt but i did gone through). But beware some of the notes & exams are for older version. Try to prepare your own notes it might be as simple as just copying the Bang Box texts into your notebook but it will help you to remember that points.
I did read most of the posts in Ranch(atleast posts from last 100 days) & its very helpful. Regarding Dynamic attributes Bryan's Short tutorial is enough (you can find that by searching the previous posts).
Finally the big Question How much did i scored in Final Mock? . . . . Any Guess? . . . . . . 90% . . 80% . . . 70% . . NOOOOOOOO... Its just 59% But the big problem I faced after taking final mock is there is hardly any time left to modify the exam date or improve myself in my weak areas, becos i took it just the day before exam(that too at 8:00 Pm our time).
Thankfuly, I scored 88% in real exam. My kind advice is prepare well take the final exam atleast 3 days before. So that u'll find some time to improve yourself in the weak areas or atleast to change the exam date.
I thank the authors & every rancher here for my success. Thank youuuuuuuuu alllll
Ya...Surly...Original Exam is easier than Final Mock. The main reason is you will be knowing the number of correct answers. So you can easily score 10 questions more which easily gets you 15% more. Though for many people Final Exam + 20% holds, you can't predict it for all. Few may get 80% in final mock & the same in real exam & few like me may get much higher than what they get in mocks.