I just passed the SCJP exam, and I decided to prepare for the developers certification. I'm wondering if you have any advice on what book should I get that would prepare me best for this exam. I have not a lot of experience with Java, though I'm familiar with the terms, and have done some programming, but never a big project with threads, or database integration. I would appreciate any advice you can give me.
although the advice of Darya would probably work out I recommend a different learning approach: Get experience with software develoment in Java first. Finish a couple of projects, including at least one with 80 kB source code or more. While working on your projects, read chapter 16 and following of "Thinking in Java", "Effective Java" (Bloch) and "Design Patterns" (GoF).
My first projects that are comparable to the SCJD assignment had major flaws in design and implementation. However, I learned a lot while I developed crappy projects, and the problems that occured helped me to appreciate and understand the literature.
Based on that, I finished my SCJD project within 17 days (100 - 200 hours, counting time of download of assignment to taking the essay exam). I got 96 % (24 / 40 for the GUI, 100 % for the rest). However, the SCJD score is quite random.