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5 days before the exam. Any last minute stuff I should look out for?

Harry Kong
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 06, 2002
Posts: 41
My exam is 5 days away. Any last minute pointers you guys can give me I would greatly appreciate it.

SCJP 1.4
Kathy Sierra
Cowgirl and Author

Joined: Oct 10, 2002
Posts: 1589

I'm going to give you tips from a 'brain' perspective, based on some of the latest studies of 'memory' (human, not computer) and neurobiologiy and cognitive science.
* Make Java the LAST thing you study before you go to bed. In other words, if you study or review some Java material in the evening, do NOT try to learn anything else in between Java and going to sleep. It can make a big difference.
* During these five days, try to study / review Java in different rooms and environments. Do not just stay in the same room all the time, because part of your memory will be linked to that environment, and this makes it harder when you're in the exam room, because the environment is so different. Changing rooms and environments while you study makes your memory less dependent on the environment.
* In contrast to that -- and you might think this one is REALLY dumb, but it's been proven to help -- wear the same *shirt* or something familiar for the next five days, while you're studying / reviewing. (Ok, you're on your own for when you do the laundry -- I didn't say you had to spend ALL your time in that one shirt -- just the time that you are studying / reviewing.
The reason for this is the same reason why you don't want to stay in the same room: your memory becomes somewhat linked to the other things in your environment. So if you wear the same shirt and THEN -- this is the key -- wear the SAME shirt while you take the real exam, you will improve your chances of remembering things. (This is obviously not a tip about understanding; it is a tip about memory/recall.
* Drink lots and lots and lots of water for the next five days, and especially on exam day. It is a fact -- your brain works better the more hydrated it is, and most people walk around dehydrated. You're dehydrated *before* you notice that you are thirsty. If you're doing it right, you won't ever BE thirsty.
* Of course get plenty of sleep*
* Back to my first tip, about not trying to learn / review / study anything else in between java and going to sleep, it's even better if you don't try to learn anything new for the next five days, unless it is a physical skill. Working on your latest hip-hop dance routine won't hurt your Java studying
* Focus on your weak areas, but relax. Five days is enough time to try to gain more understanding. Much of this exam cannot be won by rote-memorization. If you find yourself having trouble remembering something, it could be that you need to work on understanding it more deeply, so that when you see questions on the real exam that are different from the mock exam questions on the same topic, you will still be able to answer it.
* For goodness sakes, do NOT worry about getting a "good" score. Unless you've been told by your employer to "score a 90 or you're out", then ANY passing score makes your a Sun Certified Java Programmer. I've ranted on that point enough in these forums
* Of course, do ask questions -- as many as you need to -- on javaranch.

We'll all be cheering for you; all of us HAVE been -- or WILL be -- in the same spot.
Good luck!
Harry Kong
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 06, 2002
Posts: 41
Thanks a lot Kathy for the great tips and words of encouragement! These are truely great tips.
I am not worried about the score. I'll be happy with 53% (52% is passing greade right?). I have no company or boss to worry about. I am trying to use the certification to help be find a job.
Any other tips. I welcome any tips Thanks.
[ January 06, 2003: Message edited by: Harry Kong ]
John Lee
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 05, 2001
Posts: 2545
Relax, 5 days is aweful long time.
Jessica Sant

Joined: Oct 17, 2001
Posts: 4313

continuing on the trend that Kathy started -- here's one thing that could have gone very wrong for me -->
While practicing for the exam, and I came to a question where there was a chunk of source code -- I would often read the code outloud to myself to walk through the problem. Well thank God that there was no one else in the exam room when I took my test -- so I was able to read the stuff outloud during the real thing. 'Cause if I hadn't been able to -- it would have been tough. I'd trained myself to work through them by talking outloud.
So my tip -- practice being quiet! Don't listen to music while you're practicing either. 'cause it'll be darned silent in that room (unless of course you're stuck in there with some geek like me who insists on reading the code outloud).

- Jess
Blog:KnitClimbJava | Twitter: jsant | Ravelry: wingedsheep
Kathy Sierra
Cowgirl and Author

Joined: Oct 10, 2002
Posts: 1589
Oooohhh Jessica has a good one! The tough part of it is that talking out loud while studying REALLY can help your memory! (and understanding, too -- that's how my dog learned polymorphism, after all).
But yes, as you ramp toward the finish line, that's excellent advice to practice being silent and in a silent room.
She reminded me of my first exam, though, where I *thought* I was alone in the room. I was at one of those exam centers at an airport, and the facility was a huge shop where pilots came and bought equipment, jet fuel, whatever. So there I am in the room, finally ready to submit my answers. I pressed the 'done' button (which will be longest 2.5 seconds of your life waiting for the results). I DID pass (although just barely, that was 1997 and I was still DARN proud of my little lapel pin).
So I of course got up in the middle of the room and began doing that little 'victory' dance routine (I'm sure it varies from culture to culture, but let's just say that unless you're a pro football player, you probably don't want anyone to SEE you doing it). Well of COURSE the exam center has got you on video cameras (to make sure you're not cheating). So after 5 minutes of my little personal 'performance', I compose myself, straighten my clothes and walk out of the exam room and into the lobby... where about 20 people start cheering for me (having 'witnessed' my little dance on the large video monitor in the lobby ).
The moral of this story: spend some time now, practicing your "I just passed" dance. You WILL have an audience
shweta mathur
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 23, 2002
Posts: 109
After some great tips from Kathy & Jessica, this is something from my side.
Read the following pdf if you have time. It has all the things u need to know for the exam. Itz an excellent doc for last week revision !
u can download the pdf from
The file name is ""
I read only this doc in my lask week & cud revise the whole stuff I had studied in 2 months.

--Shweta<br />SCJP 1.4 <br />SCWCD
Valentin Crettaz
Gold Digger

Joined: Aug 26, 2001
Posts: 7610
That link will be deprecated soon
Please use the following one on my, well, uhm..., website
Thank you

[Blog] [Blogroll] [My Reviews] My Linked In
Jim Crawford
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 08, 2002
Posts: 127
Very good thread I thought.
Worth a BuMP!

<img src="cool.gif" border="0"> <img src="graemlins/beerchug.gif" border="0" alt="[beerchug]" /> <br />SCJP 1.4
Manish Hatwalne
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 22, 2001
Posts: 2591

Have a look at this, and see if it is of any help.
- Manish
Harry Kong
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 06, 2002
Posts: 41
Thanks Jessica for your advice. I usually whisper what I am reading. But I bet whispering can be more annoiying sometimes to some people.
Kathy, that's some funny stuff I don't have any victory dance or happy dance. I guess I am not as passionate as you are
shweta and Valentin, I already got the document. I think I found the link from shweta's thread over at Result forum. Printed it and put it in a three rind binder. This is great! Thanks!
Thanks for that link Manish!
I hope this topic helps other people who will be taking the exam soon.
mrudul joshi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 12, 2003
Posts: 54
All the last minute revision stuff is great.I was thinking of preparing something like that for me for revising just before I go to exam.But thank God I found it!
Thanks a lot to all of you,
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: 5 days before the exam. Any last minute stuff I should look out for?
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