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General Thoughts I found this exam more difficult than the SCJP, but I was brand new to Servlets/JSPs when I started preparing. (I am now using it at work.)
Studying techniques I used the normal prep materials (HFSJ, Whizlabs, Peabody patterns, Green's examulator site, Zaikin notes) so not much to add there. Something that I haven't seen discussed as much in these posts are specific studying techniques, so here is a little on that topic (I understand these are VERY individual based on how you learn):
- After I had studied all the materials in HFSJ and written some sample apps for each objective, I started taking mock exams. I specifically tried to identify my biggest weaknesses, and then turn them into strengths. One of my first weaknesses was deployment, so I found a posting in this forum with a complete Web.xml and memorized it. I practiced several times writing one from scratch, and it helped with the deployment questions (plus it helped me make sense of a lot of the concepts).
- Another initial area of weakness related to tag files and tag handlers. So practiced writing a TLD from scratch (also from another forum post). When I got into the exam room, the first thing I did was write an outline of the web.xml and TLD on the little whiteboard they gave me. Those were handy references as I went along.
- As I started taking the mock exams, I kept a notebook of questions that I missed and concepts I didn't understand (this was a good recommendation from several others). I went back frequently and made sure I understood all the answers (although that doesn't mean I always remembered them.)
- In the last week and a half I started primarily using "flash cards" on 3x5 note cards. Every time I missed a mock exam question, I wrote the question on a flash card with the answer on the back. I carried a stack of these cards with me everywhere and practiced them repeatedly. When I was consistently answering a particular question correctly, I took it out of the stack of cards and saved it. I went through a couple hundred note cards during my final preparation. Other things that I put on the flashcards included standard actions, JSTL tags, directives, the various lifecycles, and implicit objects in the various contexts.
Comparison to Mock exams HFSJ - I got 64% on the HF final mock exam two days prior, so I guess it was +24% on the real thing.
Whizlabs - I got a 78% on the final Whizlabs exam last week, although that was my second try. In general I would say their final exam (and probably initial exam, although I didn't re-take that one) are pretty similar in difficulty to the real thing.
Examulator (Marcus Green) I got a 77% on Marcus Green's exam white a while ago, when I was getting much lower scores on the Whizlabs. So I would say that one was probably easier than the others.
Last remarks Keep your spirits up when you are preparing, you'll get there! I got discouraged on a couple of occasions when I failed a practice exam. But it worked out in the end....
[ May 11, 2007: Message edited by: Ryan Day ] [ May 12, 2007: Message edited by: Ryan Day ]