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Preparation tips

Anonymous
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Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
Today I passed the SCPJ2 with a score of 90%, not a bad score, not a great score either but I do feel somewhat qualified at this point to be able to offer some study tips.
First download the JDK from Sun then get a copy of Texpad from Textpad.com. (I'm assuming here you're a Windows user). Textpad is a nice editor and has built in features for Java such as keyword highlighting and compilation of source files with simple menu selections or function keys. You can get a trial version for free. I like it a lot.
Then download Thinking in Java from BruceEckel.com. His explanations are clear and thorough. For certification specific training the standard seems to be The Complete Java 2 Certification Study Guide by Roberts, Heller and Ernest. I've looked over this book, it seems reasonable enough for getting started but the last half of the book is not necessary for the purposes of this certification. The book is well written and easy to understand and makes a good starting point but I think more in depth understanding should be sought. Once you have basic understanding of the concepts you might want to try A Programmer's Guide to Java Certification by Mughal and Rasmussen. This book is much harder than the Roberts and Heller book but getting through it will leave you well grounded in understanding the concepts required to pass the exam with a good margin to spare.
Use the JDK and your editor to compile and run the exercises in the books and to test anything that needs further understanding.
Hopefully at this point your clear on the exam objectives and have a firm grasp of the concepts. Now its time for the last minute (or in my case last 2 months) cram. Mosey on over to Tony Alicea's site (http://www.geocities.com/~tony-alicea/JavaCert.html). He has links to some really good last minute preparation materials, Carl Desborough and Dylan Walsh's notes are all really excellent. I also recommend Bill Brogden's Java Exam Cram 2.
Once you've gotten through this you're probably ready to start taking some mock exams. Make careful notes of questions answered in error and test them yourself if possible. (Sometimes the mock tests are wrong which has generated some good discussion on this and Marcus's site.)
And of course make liberal use of this and Marcus's site. Please search past posts before posting any new questions. There's a high probability your question has already been answered in a prior post.
Finally I would like to thank Tony Alicea, Jim Yingst and especially to Paul Wheaton for running such a great site. Java rules and this site rocks! (but boy that moose is ugly)

[This message has been edited by Jim Yingst (edited March 16, 2000).]
Rolf Weasel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 26, 2000
Posts: 82
Dude! Great score!
How did u do on the mocks? Green, Boone, et al? Were u always scoring that high?

May the Moose be with you.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20635
    ∞

The moose is a Kathy Kozel creation. I should be getting another moose this weekend. One that isn't blushing.

permaculture Wood Burning Stoves 2.0 - 4-DVD set
Tony Alicea
Desperado
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 3222
    
    5
Congratulations "Joe Java"! I'm glad that we were of significant help.
And I always thought that the blushing moose must have been created by a "girl" [JOKE]

Tony Alicea
Senior Java Web Application Developer, SCPJ2, SCWCD
Anonymous
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
Hi Rolf. Well what people say about the relative difficulty of the mock tests is probably true. They say that Marcus Green's exam 2 is about the same difficulty as the real exam and based on my experience I would agree with that. Here's a link to a really nice mock test exam simulator: http://209.242.122.83/JavaCertification.html
I found this test really hard, I only scored about 65%. Jamie Jaworski's test is also very hard, I scored around 65% on his test as well. Same for the test in the Mughal/Rasmussem book. Personally, I'd rather fail a hard mock exam and work to get a better grasp of the concepts than to pass an easier test and develop a false sense of confidence.
Actually what I liked most were mock exam questions that were incorrect in their choice of valid answers. Investing the time into digging through it to determine the correct answer was a real learning experience which then became well established in my mind.
Some of the questions on the real exam were shamefully easy. Others seemed so easy that I had to reread them several times to make sure I wasn't missing some subtle point (which maybe I still did since I answered 6 questions incorrectly).
One thing that was annoying, a few of the questions required scrolling up and down the page to get back and forth between the code sample and the answers. This seemed to be the hardest part of some of the questions.
I don't think you will get any questions about CardLayout or the paint methods in the AWT. I did get a few questions on the IO package.
In general, I think your score on the real test is likely to be comparable to the easier mock exams, but please don't hold me to that.
One thing, don't let your nerves get in your way when you sit for the exam, it will only make it harder on yourself. If you've got a good understanding of the basics you can be confident that when you walk out of the testing center you will be a newly minted Sun Java Certified Programmer. Regards, Joe
P.S. to Paul: Acutally the moose reminds of the Rugrats cartoon show that my daughter likes. In my opinion those characters are really ugly but she thinks they're cute. I guess it just takes me a while to warm up to them. So now that I've gotten used to your blushing moose you're going to change it on me? sheesh....

[This message has been edited by Tony Alicea (edited March 11, 2000).]
[This message has been edited by Joe Java (edited March 11, 2000).]
[This message has been edited by Joe Java (edited March 12, 2000).]
[This message has been edited by Joe Java (edited March 16, 2000).]
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20635
    ∞

Joe,
Thanks for taking the time to help folks out. This is how all the newbies learn - when the guys who have taken the test can help guide us in the areas of Java that need to be studied.
The only thing you need to be careful of is posting real questions. Sun has made it clear that while they encourage study groups, they'll get ugly if they find real questions. I'm not sure what flavor of ugly they might get, but better safe than sorry.
Tony thought he saw some real life questions in your post, so he jumped in and used his "bartender" authority to take those out so Sun won't be coming here to demonstrate "ugly". I'm sure you don't mind.
Anonymous
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
Actually I had changed the question a little but you're right. The others were only references to topics that have already been well discussed. The last thing I want to do is create any problems for the people who have helped me so much. Regards, Joe
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20635
    ∞

The moose: The new image being worked on today is a moose head mounted on a wall with one eye missing and fly buzzing around it.
This will be a moose that doesn threaten my masculinity so much.
Divakar
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 01, 2000
Posts: 25
Congrats Joe,
In java.io what and all we have to study?? How was your preparation in io and awt.
Thanx in advance
Divakar

Rolf Weasel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 26, 2000
Posts: 82
thanks, joe. texpad is really cool. especially after notepad!
i tried to follow your link to the tough test u mentioned: http://209.242.122.83/javacert/images/
seems to be dead. could u tell me the name of the test? maybe i've seen it before.
maha anna
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 31, 2000
Posts: 1467
Rolf,
It is here http://209.242.122.83/JavaCertification.html
regds
maha anna
Anonymous
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
Hi Rolf, here is the link to the mock test I mentioned, I just went there and it worked for me. http://209.242.122.83/JavaCertification.html
yeah, isn't Textpad great? I relied on it quite heavily and without it there is no way I would have passed the test.
Divakar, I had created a "cheat sheet" to help out with categorizing the various I/O classes. Let me refine it some and I will post it here for you. Regards, Joe
Anonymous
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
Divakar: I posted a new topic titled "I/O package" which may be of some value to you. Its not formatted as well as I would have liked. I used the information there to at least build up my confidence a little bit before appearing for the test. I got at least 2 questions on the I/O package so your time invested in the study of this area will be well spent.
As far as the AWT package goes I got a few questions in this area. Just remember what listeners are associated with what events, which is pretty easy really and get familiar with what flowlayout, borderlayout, gridlayout and gridbaglayout do and how they are used. Everybody says you should know what the getId method does and I can confirm that.
Hope this helps. Regards, Joe
Anonymous
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
Congrats Joe !
Your views & tips are very useful. I checked the above exam. I think it is pretty tough like you mentioned. But i think some of the answers are incorrect. Can anyone check / clarify the following ?
1) Is strictfp a valid keyword. The answer is Yes ???
2) Is cardLayout covered in SCJP2. There is a question from cardLayout
3)System.out.println(null + null). The answer is correct. But I get a compile time error.
4)System.out.println(true + null); The answer is correct. But I get a compile time error.
5)Default layout manager for window is BorderLayout True/False
Thanks.

maha anna
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 31, 2000
Posts: 1467
1) strictfp is a valid keyword in Java 1.2.
In can be added as a modifier for package level class , both static inner class and non-static inner class , both static and instance method declarations. vars/constructors/static or instance floating blocks can't have this strictfp modifier. I tested with JDK 1.2.2 version in WIN98.
<pre>
ex. strictfp class Test {
strictfp static class StaticInnerclass {}
strictfp class Innerclass {}
strictfp static void m1() {}
strictfp void m2() {}
}</pre>
2) I am not sure if cardLayout is covered in SCJP2.
3) System.out.println(null + null). I also get compile error.
This is with JDK1.2.2. What is done with this kind of statement is , the '+' operator is overloaded in Java. It can be applied to numeric operands and objects(atleaset one operand MUST be String object). For numbers it is just arithmetic addition. For objects to be added using '+' operand, one of the operands MUST be a String object for this operation to be successful. In this case , the other object's toString() method is called these 2 String are concatenated. If one operand is String and the other is a numeric type then the corresponding Wrapper objects are created and their toString() method is called and the returned String is added.
Since here in System.out.println(null+null); neither of the operand is a String object, the '+' operation goes for arithmetic addition and binary numeric promotion takes place.Applying the rules, it tries to convert 'null' literal to int, since null/true/false CAN NOT be converted to int , the compiler complains.
But I am not sure what happens in JDK 1.3.
4)System.out.println(true + null);
Same expln. as given in ans 3)
5)Default layout manager for window is BorderLayout . True

[This message has been edited by maha anna (edited March 12, 2000).]
Anonymous
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
Hi Dadi, yeah that test is really tough, I took it about 2 days before sitting for the real exam. My confidence was so badly shaken that I was thinking about rescheduling my exam for another week later.
Apparently strictfp IS a reserved word, so say Bill Brogden in his Java 2 Exam Cram, and I think Dylan Walsh's notes say the same thing. Odds are though you won't run into it on the real exam.
I don't think CardLayout is covered at all. Nobody has ever metntioned seeing it on the exam.
Yeah, i got the same error when I attempted to compile null + null and true + null. But if I put a String literal in the println call then I did get null and true printed out. I thought that was really interesting. Apparently Chris, the author of the test, said that on his Visual Age development environment it worked okay but not when he tried it out on a Sun 1.2 VM, which is probably what most of us use.
I think he's right about BorderLayout being the default layout for a Window. We know that BorderLayout is the default for Frame and since Frame descends from Window it would follow that BorderLayout is the dafault for a Window.
I think I saw one other question in error in his exam, I don't remember what number it was but there was a blank final specified as a local variable in a method. The question covered what variables may be passed to an inner local class. I haven't tested it out myself yet but I don't think thats legal. ( I got that question marked wrong.)
Well, I just tested it and he's right, you can even assign a value to final variable defined inside a method. I guess the idea of not allowing final values to be changed applies only to variable defined as instance or static class members?
Also on a few questions he had multiple public classes specified within a single file. That threw me a little because thats not really legal either. I guess we should assume he was referring to multiple files or just ignore it in the context of the question.
Now that I've bashed him a little, I'd like to say that overall though his test was very good and the applet that he created to deliver the test was the best I've seen. Lets hope he keeps it up.
[This message has been edited by Joe Java (edited March 12, 2000).]
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
Dadi- you can post these questions in our new Mock Exam Errata forum. Be sure to read the announcement at the top of the page, "READ THIS BEFORE YOU POST HERE". Thanks.


"I'm not back." - Bill Harding, Twister
Anonymous
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
Thanks Joe, Anna & Jim !
I also agree that most of the questions were very testing & also the applet was one of the best.
 
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subject: Preparation tips