I stumbled across the 90 mark with a score of 91% yesterday!
The first reading was accompanied by rigorous practice - one web app for each chapter. I also searched and read posts related to each topic on JavaRanch. This was very useful - bringing out subtle details that I had missed and highlighting aspects of importance to the exam.
I wrote my notes as documents on Google Docs and Spreadsheets allowing me to access and modify the matter without having to maintain copies that would need to be mailed between my work email id and personal email id. Never had to merge documents and never had to lose a interesting tip!
During the second reading, I studied my notes and consulted Mikalai Zaikin's SCWCD guide (http://java.boot.by/wcd-guide/) - updating my notes where necessary. I also made photocopies of a few summary pages in HFSJ - particularly the ones showing class hierarchies and life cycle events. Tried HFSJ mock and the whizlabs diagnostic mock(expensive!). Scored 75% on both.
On the day of the exam, I only read my notes. The exam did not begin well. The first few questions were alright, I was clueless on the next few. It affected my confidence. I did feel better an hour into the exam, thinking I might pass after all! I went back and made best choices on the tough ones, stretching logic and memory as much as I could.
If I had to do it again, I would: 1. allow more time for mocks - I think that could have added 2-3 percent points. 2. write notes for all chapters during the first reading, I missed some and that slowed the second reading. 3. spend more time on declarative security emphasizing the concepts more than the DD configuration. 4. reflect. extrapolate concepts/concerns of one topic to other topics - e.g. thread safety with filters.
A big thank you to G, the authors of HFSJ, fellow ranchers, Mark Peabody, Mikalai Zaikin and Google.
Thank you, Anu [ April 01, 2007: Message edited by: Anupama Ponnapalli ]