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SCJP slightly easier than practice papers?

John Summers
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Joined: Oct 06, 2003
Posts: 125
Hi,
Just done SCJP. got 81%. ok this is not amazing, plenty of people here get 90>. Just thought I'd give my opinions of the comparative difficulty level of the sample papers.
Marcus Green:
spot on!
Dan Chisholm:
I think Dans papers are a fabulous resource, and great questions. However, I think they are a tad harder than the real thing, about 10% ish.
Abhilash: Again, great questions, but way way too hard! About 50% too hard, seriously.
JavaPrepare.com: Slightly too easy, about 10-20% so.
Crappy papers I got off braindumps.com:
(duno who wrote them): Bizarrely, these were about right.
I'm also thinking of doing a 'how not to study for the SCJP exam' web page, detailing the rather botched way I went about it..
john
Marlene Miller
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Joined: Mar 05, 2003
Posts: 1391
Congratulations John.
You and me both. I could write a book on how Not to study for the exam.
Cathy Song
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Joined: Aug 24, 2003
Posts: 270
Hey Marlene,
Have you taken your test yet?
Marlene Miller
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Joined: Mar 05, 2003
Posts: 1391
No, not yet. I keep making mistakes on the practice exams.
Cathy Song
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 24, 2003
Posts: 270
Marlene,
I am doing that too.. I tend to misread the question..
I am missing all simple stuff..
Like instead of illegal..I'll read legal..
I hope I improve ..
Marlene Miller
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 05, 2003
Posts: 1391
Well, that sounds familiar.
I started keeping a log of my errors � the exam & question, the general category, the specific error and why I made the error. I wish I had been doing that all along.
The reason why can be technical and/or process - I was distracted by this other piece of code that I am unsure of and did not notice the variable is not assigned. So remember - local variable that is unassigned, beware.
I think we have to teach ourselves strategies that become habits, ways to respond to a given context.
[ October 27, 2003: Message edited by: Marlene Miller ]
Jeff Bosch
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Joined: Jul 30, 2003
Posts: 805
Hi, Cathy and Marlene -
I did the same thing: when I made a mistake, whether from misreading the question or from not knowing the answer, I wrote the question and the choices in a notebook. Then, I analyzed why I answered incorrectly. Also, I analyzed each incorrect answer until I understood why the choice was incorrect, then I studied the correct answer until I knew why it was correct. I continually reviewed this notebook right up to test time.
In the exam, I did the same thing: I not only picked the choice I thought was right, but I also eliminated all of the other choices by making sure they were wrong. By doing that, I caught myself in a few boo-boos, and probably added a good 5 to 10 points to my score.
Hope that helps!


Give a man a fish, he'll eat for one day. Teach a man to fish, he'll drink all your beer.
Cheers, Jeff (SCJP 1.4, SCJD in progress, if you can call that progress...)
Marlene Miller
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Joined: Mar 05, 2003
Posts: 1391
Jeff. I guess you didn't run out of time on the exam doing all of that?
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
I know you want to pass but you don't need 100% to pass. Read the question twice and then answer it. Most questions on the exam are fairly straight forward. I did not have a single question that was written in such a way that it was confusing. It seems to me that a lot of the mock exams try to "get" you rather than try to test your knowledge. Don't be afraid of the mock exams.


Associate Instructor - Hofstra University
Amazon Top 750 reviewer - Blog - Unresolved References - Book Review Blog
Marlene Miller
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Joined: Mar 05, 2003
Posts: 1391
Thank you Tom.
Vad Fogel
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Joined: Aug 25, 2003
Posts: 504
I'm curious how many questions on the real thing can contain small syntax errors like one unclosed single quote, or misplaced double quotes, or some goofy coma, or... you name it. The ability to spot such boo-booes would be invaluable on the exam.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Vad Fogel:
I'm curious how many questions on the real thing can contain small syntax errors like one unclosed single quote, or misplaced double quotes, or some goofy coma, or... you name it. The ability to spot such boo-booes would be invaluable on the exam.

I did not have any questions like that. In fact, the one question that looked like a really tough question as far as figuring out what the code was doing had a glaring compiler error that made the question easy if you were paying attention.
qingwu wang
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Joined: Feb 19, 2003
Posts: 147
Sometimes,I cannt understand what the question meaning,all the questions cannt be sure whatever they are too easy or too difficult.perhaps your are good state but encountering the similarity question u begin to doubt your foremost idea.To me,chariness is very important.


Thanks...qingwu<br />When I open my eyes,I see your pretty face.
Marlene Miller
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Joined: Mar 05, 2003
Posts: 1391
My guess is the errors will be reasons such as using an uninitialized local variable, invoking an instance method from a static method, a subclass with a default constructor and a superclass without a no-arg constructor, an if (expression) with expression of type int, invoking a StringBuffer method on a String object, overriding with wrong return type, catch clauses with exceptions listed out of order, array index out of bounds, using a local variable out of scope, assert expression2 of result void, an abstract method in a non-abstract class, InterruptedException not handled. I could be wrong.
[ October 27, 2003: Message edited by: Marlene Miller ]
Zak Nixon
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Joined: Sep 27, 2003
Posts: 126
Congrats on the score.

Zak Nixon
SCJP 1.4
Unni Kainila
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Joined: Jul 26, 2003
Posts: 45
Marlene, from my personal experience with the exam, you are right. The errors are with reasons like un-inialized local variables etc...as you mentioned. It won't be silly errors like braces are missing, end quote is missing...etc. Again, that is what I found in the exam.
But that is not an excuse to not to pay attentions to brances, brackets etc...
Marlene, it looks like you are targeting a century (100%)
cheers
Unni
Marlene Miller
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 05, 2003
Posts: 1391
Thank you Unni for confirming my guess about the nature of the errors.
As for my exam, there is a chance my mind will just stop working!
John, I hope you don't mind that we have gone off on a tangent from your original post.
[ October 28, 2003: Message edited by: Marlene Miller ]
Kathy Sierra
Cowgirl and Author
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Joined: Oct 10, 2002
Posts: 1572
I can tell you with absolute certainty that there will NOT be any questions that simply have a missing semicolon or curly brace in normal syntax, with the exception of PERHAPS anonymous inner class questions (and they won't be like the stupid one that is from our book that Marlene caught!!).
And the exam is old enough now that any potential typos have been long since fixed. If you see something that would not compile, it is *supposed* to be a wrong answer.
We were occasionally a little cruel in the trickiness of the questions, but not *that* mean.
In fact, the only reason the questions have become tricky is because the exam has been out for such a long time, and there are only so many ways in which to ask a particular question, that we had to get awfully creative to figure out a different way to get at the same thing. And sometimes what we *thought* was creative turned out to be a little too convoluted, but that's why the passing percentage is a whole lot lower on this version. So, as the exam gets a little tougher, it is balanced out with a lower passing percentage.
Also, you are not tested on trivia to see if you recognize how a particular JVM implementation reports an error, for example. That is why the questions are worded:
Compilation fails BECAUSE of an error on line...
rather than saying:
Compilation fails AT line ...
because we don't know what line your compiler will use to *report* the error, but we do know for certain where it all went wrong...
So try to relax. Marlene already knows about 10 billion things beyond what is on the exam, but she has expressed in the past that it is important to her to deeply understand how it really works (something that will serve her well both on the exam and forever after in her Java life.) On the other hand, many folks just want to pass the exam with any reasonable score. Everyone has different goals for the exam. Just know that you do not have to achieve absolute complete Java guru status to pass the exam. It is difficult, definitely, but not insanely hard
I know I've said this a lot before, but many of us at Sun were quite happy just to pass, because it was a requirement at the time just to get a job interview and we figured we'd have time to learn the rest later. That was me in 1997 taking the SCJP for Java 1.1 exam, and I won't tell you what I scored, but let's say it wasn't anything I'd be bragging about on javaranch these days... which is why I eventually became a member of the exam development teams.
So that I could avoid actually having to TAKE the tests
Cheers,
Kathy
Marlene Miller
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Joined: Mar 05, 2003
Posts: 1391
Thank you very much Kathy for your insights and point of view.
John Summers
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Joined: Oct 06, 2003
Posts: 125
I dont think there were ANY questions on my exam which had a sneaky { missing or something. All the compiler errors were glaring.
Out of the 61 questions there were about:
- 3 on assertions and about 3-5 on collections (easy).
- The main area to learn I think is inheritance, polymorphism,run-type typing.
- correct declaration of arrays
- correct declaration of float, double, etc
- about 3 questions on the bit shift operators including when you use it with booleans like if ((i==3) | (j > 2).
- be sure to learn the 'short-circuiting' of and/or statements
- about 2 questions on exceptions
- 2-3 questions on garbage collection (no harder than dan chisholm's)
- default initialization of arrays
Marlene, are you really holding off doing it to try and get 100%? wow, thats intense.
john
David Swan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 08, 2003
Posts: 33
Hello
Can anyone tell me where to get these SCJP exams from???
Marcus Green:
Dan Chisholm:
Abhilash:
Thanks dave


SCJP, SCWCD, SCBCD
Jessica Sant
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 17, 2001
Posts: 4313

check out our FAQ: What are the mock exams available?
Marlene Miller
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 05, 2003
Posts: 1391
John, thank you for the summary. Your list is very close to the content of the Sun ePractice exams.
John, every now and then someone says something about me and 100%. I don't know where they got that idea. I try to suppress that rumor by confessing that I actually failed an exam on OO fundamentals and turned in a empty piece of paper. I am going to be so embarrassed when I have to tell people I got a bad score. But I am not asking for sympathy. I have decided whatever score I get, that is where I am at this point in time.
John Summers
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Joined: Oct 06, 2003
Posts: 125
Marlene,
If you can pass Marcus' paper with 75> and likewise with Dan Chisholm's I would just do the freaking exam and get it over with.
Are you a student, Marlene? or a programmer or what? not anything in your profile.
j
Vad Fogel
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Joined: Aug 25, 2003
Posts: 504
Marlene is one of the most knowledgeble and, more importantly, most helpful members of this forum. When I first ran across her posts, I was pretty sure that she was one of the bartenders or bartender-to-be. Her maximalistic approach to taking SCJP is rather rare as most people see that stage as a jump off point to get new certifications or secure career. Few really think about scoring 100%. Even fewer actually score 100%. And yet fewer actually know the material at the 100% mark. My only concern on this forum is when Marlene passes the exam, she'll move off to SCJD or SCWCD section to that effect. So I'm trying to keep up with the tempo and to synchronized myself as to switch there as well.
[ October 30, 2003: Message edited by: Vad Fogel ]
Marlene Miller
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Joined: Mar 05, 2003
Posts: 1391
Thank you very much Vad for the very nice things you said about.
Say John, are We still going to write that book on how Not to prepare for the exam? Just kidding. I am a Tandem programmer. Tandem? What's that? Well, to begin with, it's not Unix or Windows or OO. But it is a multi-processor, multi-process machine with nowait I/O. So that has helped me tremendously with understanding threads intuitively.
Alton Hernandez
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Joined: May 30, 2003
Posts: 443
Originally posted by Marlene Miller:
I am a Tandem programmer. Tandem? What's that?

Hi Marlene,
I remember I used Tandem back in College. Is that the one made by Radio Shack?
Marlene Miller
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 05, 2003
Posts: 1391
Alton, maybe you are thinking of the Tandy.
Tandem is known for it's hardware and software fault tolerance. Every processor, device, and disk has a backup. If one component fails, the other one takes over. Every process can have a backup if you want to write your program to recover from failures.
Applications often run month after month without ever stopping unless you need to change the version. Data communications networks are one application. A lot of banks use them for their ATM networks.
[ October 31, 2003: Message edited by: Marlene Miller ]
John Summers
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Joined: Oct 06, 2003
Posts: 125
i've got a feeling Tandem is used at the London Stock Exchange. i had an interview with Accenture recently and I think they mentioned it.
j
Marlene Miller
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Joined: Mar 05, 2003
Posts: 1391
John, that sounds reasonable. I have also heard Tandems are used for stock exchanges. Any application where you cannot afford to be down for even a second. Maybe it's not so impressive now. In the old days, computers were always crashing.
 
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