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please compare SCJP1.4 real exam vs J@Whiz

Sudd Ghosh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 23, 2002
Posts: 187
Hi -
I am posting this here because this is targeted to someone who has done the J@Whiz and then passed the SCJP1.4 exam.
I am planning to appear for SCJP1.4 in the first week of Nov. I am a C programmer, attended a Java class 2 years back, and have been fiddling with Java ever since. For the past 3 months, I'm studying mainly Roberts and Heller book, the JLS and the relevant API pages. I completed all the mocks in Javaranch. Initially I was scoring less but that improved (went to around 85%) at the end. I was totally impressed by Dan Chisholm's mocks.
Currently I am doing the J@Whiz (1.4) mocks. I am consistently scoring around 90% in J@Whiz. Regarding J@Whiz I have the following questions :
1. How is the difficulty level as compared to J@Whiz ? I find that the different choices in J@Whiz questions give proper explanations, which is sometimes helpful and makes it a little easy in the sense that it reminded me of the correct approach. Does the real exam also gives explanation in its choices, like "It gives a compile time error because so and so....." OR just "It gives a compile time error." ?. Do the number of choices go very large (like Dan's mocks) or do they stay within 4 or 5 options ?
2. I am doing the J@Whiz mocks well within the time limit. I realized that this I am able to do because it has a mixture of quickies (one liner questions) and elaborate codes. How is the real exam compared to this? What can be the percentage of quickies versus questions with long codes ? I find going thru these codes can be quite time consuming. I am finding myself ok with the conceptual parts, but it gets worse if the code is unneccessarily long where I have to spend a lot of time in going thru it.
3. I find it difficult to remember the signatures of the various APIs methods. I am doing ok in the commonly used methods, but not all the methods, specifically the ones in the collection and wrapper classes. For example, only today I realized that Byte and Short have one form of parseByte and valueOf with parameter radix, whereas it's static toString doesn't have a signature with radix. This is different as compared to Integer and Long. Also sometimes I go wrong in recalling if some method is an instance or static method. Somehow I can't rote so well. Does the real exam calls for this? I am doing much better in the conceptual questions as compared to the API related ones.
I will really appreciate any help in this regard. Initially while completing the J@Whiz mocks with good marks, I was feeling quite exam confident, but once I went thru the emails in the Javaranch regarding Sun's endeavor in making this exam more and more difficult, I think I am becoming a little nervous.
I want to convey my heartfelt thanks to all the people contributing to this site and making this exam preparation such a nice experience.
Thanks, Sudd


SCJP 1.4, SCWCD, SCBCD 1.3
Jessica Sant
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 17, 2001
Posts: 4313

Moving to Programmer's Certification Study. Please continue the discussion there.
Manish Hatwalne
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2578

I can not answer your completely, but I can share what I know.
The real exam does have question which gives you options like "Compilation error on line so and so", at the same time it also has only one option such as "Compilation error".
HTH,
- Manish
Dan Chisholm
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 02, 2002
Posts: 1865
Sudd,
Thank you for using my mock exams.
The number of answer options for my mock exam questions often greatly exceeds what you will find on the real exam. My goal was to build a set of single topic exams that can be used along with an exam study guide. The questions are intended to function more like study exercises rather than as examples of what might be found on the real exam. That's why I always encourage people to use my exam during the early phases of the study process rather than immediately before taking the real exam.
The real exam will require you to remember the signatures of some methods such as the wrapper methods that you mentioned. I suggest making a set of flash cards that cover those methods and use the flash cards immediately before taking the exam. You will also want to memorize the Math class methods mentioned in the objectives: abs, ceil, floor, max, min, random, round, sin, cos, tan, sqrt. You will also want to make flash cards that cover the constructors for the Thread class. You should also make sure that you memorize the runtime options for assertions such as -ea, -da, -esa, and -dsa.
The 1.4 exam has a variety of questions concerning compile time errors. Some answer options will ask if a compile time error occurs at a particular line of code but sometimes there might be an answer option for any compiler error. Kathy provided a good example in another thread here at the Saloon. An anonymous class was declared but the semicolon was missing from the end of the declaration statement. One of the answer options was something like "The code does not compile". Obviously, that question would have been far less effective if it had specifically pointed out the missing semicolon.
You also asked about "quick" questions and those with long code examples. The real exam does have a lot of quick questions. The code examples in my exam tend to be much longer that what will be found on the real exam. That's because my exam questions are primarily intended to be learning exercises. For example, most of the code examples on my Thread exam are much longer that what you will find on the real exam. That's because many of thread questions contain code that is intended to produce a specific result if the program is run. In contrast, there is no expectation that you will cut a code example from the real exam and paste it into a text editor for compilation and testing. Since Sun knows that you won't be running the code during the exam they did not design the questions for testing at home.
Similarly, my garbage collection questions often make use of the finalize method to demonstrate when objects become eligible for garbage collection. (Of course, there is no guarantee that the garbage collector will actually run.) For that reason, my garbage collection questions often contain a large amount of thread synchronization code. Of course, you won't find anything similar on the real exam. Even so, I think that my garbage collection questions are an interesting learning tool even though they are often dissimilar to what you will actually encounter on the real exam. My hope is that you can use my exam to learn the fundamental concepts and then use other exams such as the Marcus Green exam or Kathy's exam or some of the commercial exams to get practice with questions that are more representative of what will actually be encountered on the real exam.
I hope the above is helpful.
[ October 27, 2002: Message edited by: Dan Chisholm ]

Dan Chisholm<br />SCJP 1.4<br /> <br /><a href="http://www.danchisholm.net/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Try my mock exam.</a>
Sabrina Williams
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 20, 2001
Posts: 15
Hi,
Dan has given a good description of the exam you are going to face.
I've personally used J@Whiz1.4 for my preparation and I am more than satisifed with the quality of questions and my exam score. You can refer to my post; http://www.coderanch.com/t/136751/sr/certification/Passed
Good luck
Sabrina
Eric Fletcher
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 26, 2000
Posts: 188
Hi,
I agree with Sabrina, Dan gives a very accurate account of what you need to know.
I also used J@Whiz as my primary mock exam source the last few weeks before the exam, and I found it to be a great tool to prepare. The best thing about it, IMO, were the explanations of the questions, they really helped me clarify some questions I had. Make sure you read the explanations of ALL the questions, not just the ones you got wrong. I found there were some of the questions I got right were not always correct for the reasons I thought!
All in all, I thought the questions on the real exam were comparable or slightly harder than the J@Whiz questions, but if you are scoring better than 90%, you should do very well on the real thing.
I also recommend using Dan's exams. They are an excellent resource and I feel I did not make as much use of them as I should have, and I believe my score would have been improved if I had.
Good luck,
Eric


My theory of evolution is that Darwin was adopted. - Steven Wright
Sudd Ghosh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 23, 2002
Posts: 187
Thanks a lot to everyone. It is really good to know where I stand in my exam preparation.
Also just for everyone's information, I came across the three mocks in www.jiris.com, and I find them VERY challenging, something comparable to Valentin's mock. In the first one I scored 78%, I have to complete two more. This mock had some questions with nulls (like toString returning null, null.length(), String s=null, s.length(), etc... ) which helped me in clarifying where we get a compilation error and where it gives a NullPointerException.
Again thanks to all, and especially to Dan.
Barkat Mardhani
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 05, 2002
Posts: 787
Two questions:
1. Has some put together any electronic flash cards that Dan is describing above?
2. How much is Jwhize?
Thanks
Barkat
 
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