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Is Time a Factor for SCJP 1.4 Exam?

Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8801
    
    5
Howdy Folks! I'm new at Java Ranch, but I've been poking around for a few days... I passed the 1.4 Beta back in May, and helped create Sun's ePractice exam for 1.4.
I found that the Beta put me under tremendous time pressure. Maybe I've missed some earlier discussions on this point, but it seems to me that if you're trying to decide how to equate Dan's tests (which rock!), to Sun's ePractice, or the ePractice to the real McCoy, you ought to figure in a time factor. The real test gives you an average of 2 minutes / question... to me that's a big deal. There are quite a few questions that are pretty easy if you have the time to map out all code, but those same questions get pretty hard if you have only two minutes to do so.
Anyway my advice when you're taking the ePractice is to do at least some of it 'under the clock', just to get a feel for your pace.
So, I'm curious, did anyone else feel time pressure when they took the test, or is my brain just too slow?


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Valentin Crettaz
Gold Digger
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 26, 2001
Posts: 7610
In my humble opinion, time shouldn't be an important factor if you are well-prepared. An average of 2 minutes per questions is, in my sense, enough (some questions take onyl a few seconds while others a little more than 2 minutes).
The biggest problem, I guess, is concentration during the exam. It's throughout possible to be very short on time due to concentration issues.
Bottom line (after the exam): if you feel you were well-focused but suffered from a time pressure, it means in most cases that you were not enough prepared to take the exam.
This leads me to one of the most important requirement of the SCJP exam:
DO NOT SCHEDULE YOUR EXAM UNTIL YOU FEEL READY.
This deadline pressure may be the cause of your failure.


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Kathy Sierra
Cowgirl and Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 10, 2002
Posts: 1572
I agree with Bert that time might be a factor on this one, even though for the last four years I've been saying it wasn't. The 1.4 exam has more intricate code, although you're right if you're really, really, really prepared you can spot the ones that aren't legal anyway, and then just move on without working through the logic.
But in the beta, this was the first exam where people did complain about time (granted, there were about 2 million questions on the beta, but you had 4 hours to do it!)
I think its worth considering when you take your practice exams. If anything, that can help you recognize that you *are* ready.
cheers,
Kathy


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Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8801
    
    5
Hmmm... let me clarify. I've seen people say that Sun's ePractice exam isn't hard enough - for instance not as hard as Dan's exam. I don't Dan expects you to try to do his questions in two minutes, it's kind of apples and oranges. So I guess I'm saying that you have to factor time limits in when you talk about how 'hard' a question is.
We worked hard to make Sun's ePractice exam as much like the real exam as we could. I agree the questions aren't as hard as some of Dan's, but try both out at two minutes per!
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8801
    
    5
Hmmm... let me clarify. I've seen people say that Sun's ePractice exam isn't hard enough - for instance not as hard as Dan's exam. I don't Dan expects you to try to do his questions in two minutes, it's kind of apples and oranges. So I guess I'm saying that you have to factor time limits in when you talk about how 'hard' a question is.
We worked hard to make Sun's ePractice exam as much like the real exam as we could. I agree the questions aren't as hard as some of Dan's, but try both out at two minutes per!
Steve Moore
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 15, 2002
Posts: 4
Kathy is right in saying that time could be a factor... especially given the fact that the code samples and such are more complex. Time really was an issue in the beta, as we had loads of questions in there. But we calculated the time for the final version based on the average length it took those who passed the exam to take the questions ending up on the published tests, plus a fudge factor to be fair... so the time issue is not something to worry nights about if your well prepared.
The ePractice test have the same number of questions as the exam, with the ratio of questions per topic area exactly the same -- so timing yourself taking the ePractice tests is a good idea.


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