Just took the exam this morning and thought I'd let you know my story...
Took the SCJP last Sept (SCJP Story) and was slightly disappointed with my 69% pass mark after all the studying I did.
After I joined a new employer last Nov, they suggested that I study for SCWCD, and kindly gave me an hour per week study time and paid for the exam. For me, it was also an area of interest as it was something I knew little about - I would have struggled to describe a Servlet!
I started with my first HeadFirst book - HFSJ. I found it to provide a totally different style to what I was used to - but very refreshing and kept the subjects exciting.
After, I moved on to Charles Lyon's Study Companion, which I found gave me the depth in the different subject areas that I needed.
I would recommend this order though. HFSJ is excellent at getting across those 'core concepts', but I am one of these people who can't just be told "this wont work" - I need to know *why* it wont work, and that's where Charles' book came in. My perception is that the HF authors treat certification as a study route and are happy for people to start with no knowledge, so their book was ideal for me as a beginner. Where as Charles Lyon treats certification as something to be studied for by people who have already been using the technology for some time, and so his book expects a certain level of knowledge which as a beginner I just didn't have.
Anyhow - I studied for about 6mths (lunchtimes and evenings), writing notes and doing online tests. Spent yesterday and the weekend studying full time, re-covering topics and writing out notes on bits I'd forgotten.
Took the HFSJ test - 72% Then took the test with Charles Lyon's book - 75%.
Finally, on the day of the exam, read through Frederic Esnault's notes and Marc Peabody's design pattern notes. Took the exam this morning. I went in saying "if I could get 75%, I'd be a happy man" and walked out with 92%! I couldn't believe it when the guy handed me the sheet....
The Servlet Technology Model ..... 83% The Structure and Development of Web Applications ..... 100% The Web Container Model ..... 85% Session Management ..... 85% Web Application Security ..... 100% The JavaServer Pages (JSP) Technology Model ..... 100% Building JSP Pages Using the Expression Language (EL) ..... 100% Building JSP Pages Using Standard Actions ..... 75% Building JSP Pages Using Tag Libraries ..... 87% Building a Custom Tag Library ..... 100% J2EE Patterns ..... 100%
Total : 92%
Just wanted to say a big thanks to all the above mentioned authors and other ranchers.
Gonna go get ready and take the girlfriend out for a meal to celebrate.
[ June 05, 2007: Message edited by: Mark Garland ] [ June 05, 2007: Message edited by: Mark Garland ]
I'm glad to see that you used Charles' book and found it helpful - I imagine the sales he receives aren't nearly as large as he deserves for his high quality work. I'm glad that your employer sacrificed time to help you accomplish this. I'm also very glad to see your high score and that you achieved 100% on patterns! Above all, I appreciate your approach to the certification that you really wanted to educate yourself and gain a full understanding of the material. I can tell by this thread alone that you're the kind of person I'd want on my team.
Thanks for taking the time to share your story, Mark. Feel free to add yourself to the WallOfFame or dropping me a message to request that I add you.