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Difficulty of Dan Chisholm Mock Exams

Eric Michael
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 07, 2002
Posts: 9
I've started taking the Dan Chisholm comprehensive mock exams and found them very instructive:
http://www.danchisholm.net/sept01/comprehensive/index.html
However, I have found them much, much harder than the tests in the Mike Meyers book, the Sybex book, and many of the other mock exams I have seen online. Are they harder than the actual Sun 1.4 exam? I was confident before, but now I'm getting nervous.
Dan Chisholm
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 02, 2002
Posts: 1865
The feedback that I have received suggests that my exams are difficult.
You mentioned that you have already completed an exam study guide. I believe that my mock exams are most effective when the single topic exams are used as you work through an exam study guide chapter-by-chapter. In other words, the single topic exams can be used to supplement any study guide.
I have noticed that the developers of some the commercial exams will advertise the fact that their questions are designed to closely resemble the questions on the real exam. In contrast, the majority of my exam tends to be a collection of complete programs that can be compiled and tested. For that reason, my exam is unique. I believe that it provides a great learning experience. However, it probably does not provide the best tool for predicting your performance on the real exam.
I encourage people to start using my single topic exams at the very beginning of the study process. Since my exam is designed to provide a learning experience I suggest working through a single topic exam as soon as you complete a related chapter in any study guide. You can ignore the score on my exam and just focus on learning what you can as you work through each question. After you have completed my single topic exam, then try the exam at the end of the chapter in the study guide. My expectation is that you will do very well on the exam in your book.
At the end of the study process you should search for mock exams that are designed to closely resemble the real exam. The Marcus Green exams are a good example.
Another reason for suggesting the use of other mock exams is the fact that my exam is not yet complete. For example, I have not yet started working on the garbage collection topic and the thread exam is only now being developed. A beta version is available for threads, but I really should have called it an alpha version since I have not yet covered all of the material.
Please don't allow yourself to be discouraged by your score on my exam. My exam should be viewed as a learning experience and not a measurement tool.


Dan Chisholm<br />SCJP 1.4<br /> <br /><a href="http://www.danchisholm.net/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Try my mock exam.</a>
Barry Gaunt
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 03, 2002
Posts: 7729
Dan hits the mark here.
My Process: I try one of Dan's exam problems. If I get it wrong, I grab a book, tutorial, specification, and read up on the topic.
When I think I understand the topic, I retry the problem. Maybe I reiterate a bit...
I nearly always find that the next problem on that topic seems much easier.
Working that way takes time, but I believe that I am almost 95% guaranteed to pick up all the knowledge I need to pass the real exam, and much, much more.
Once again thanks, Dan
-Barry


Ask a Meaningful Question and HowToAskQuestionsOnJavaRanch
Getting someone to think and try something out is much more useful than just telling them the answer.
Dan Chisholm
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 02, 2002
Posts: 1865
Thank you Barry.
Eric Michael
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 07, 2002
Posts: 9
Dan,
Thanks for the insight into your intentions behind the exams. They really are a great resource. What I find especially useful is that they delve deep into each topic, showing that there is more to these concepts than one would pick up just reading through a review book once.
I think that what makes the tests seem particularly hard is that there are often two very similar questions on the same exam. If one hasn't mastered the topic, that will mean two questions wrong instead of just one. On a 19-question test, that's 10.5%. However, as a study aide, seeing two variations on a theme definitely helps drill in a point.
For example, I was unsure under what circumstances a bad method argument produces a run-time error and under what circumstances it produces a compile-time error. One of your exams had questions covering both, and it helped to crystalize the distinction.
-- Eric
Dan Chisholm
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 02, 2002
Posts: 1865
Thank you Eric.
 
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