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Opinions on exam format

Ben Wood
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 14, 2001
Posts: 342
Me and another guy at work are currently studying for the SCJP 1.4. We use Java quite a lot and do a lot of varied and interesting work both on traditional and web-based apps working with a variety of data and output types and have probably 4 or 5 years experience between us. We have done a little study and have started doing mock exams to get a feel for the real test questions. We are getting pretty low scores of about 40 - 50% at the moment...and that's with us both doing the exam together so would probably be less than that if we did it individually.
My question is what are people's feelings about the format of the exam? To be honest the way it is structured did surprise me at first because a lot of it seems to be getting you to remember obscure facts and you study by reading through a load of books, which to my mind means you have a good memory rather than an ability to programme in Java...or have I missed the point completely :roll:
Just thought it would be interesting to see what other people think about it...


SCJP 1.4, www.gsi3d.org.uk
Thomas De Vos
stable boy
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 12, 2003
Posts: 425
Ben,
The exam is focused on all areas of the Java programming language. I�m sure yourself and your friend are very good coders, however having years of experiencing does not guarantee you to succeed in the exam. Read on �
Just compare yourself with a builder. A good builder has been doing the roofing for years but might have never done the actual brick work. This is exactly the same with programmers.
You might have programmed threads for a long time, but this doesn�t mean you are an expert in inner classes and the correct terminology. Surely all your code never had a problem and you are good in what you are doing. Probably you are an expert in your field.
The exam tests you on all aspects of the Java language. Normally reading one book is enough to get a fair understanding of the correct terminology or going through the JLS.
The second part is trying to focus on the correct facets of the Java language by doing many concentrated mock-exams. Most of the mock exams try to test you on the individual topics in the exam. Try writing code around these objectives, and yes, apologies, sometimes you will have to think as a compiler.
With your wealth of experience I�m sure you will succeed.
All the best.


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La Vish
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 17, 2002
Posts: 161
Ben,
It is like this.Normally before you start trading in the stock market you are advised to learn all the tricks of the trade by reading books,attending seminars,listening to experienced people and then when once you gain some qualifications in stock trading you gain confidence to leap headlong into the world of bulls and bears. However, there are plenty of stock traders out there who are making millions in the market and they never did any of the above.If you ask them how they do it they just smile at you!
Inspite of this experience if they take an exam on stock trading most of them will fail miserably.
It is a tradition in programming that you first learn the language rules aka JLS and then understand how a compiler compiles the lines of code you have written. SCJP tests just this aspect.Once you master this,so they say by giving you a certificate,you can enter into the exciting world of programming fully confident.
In your case you are the million dollar stock trader. Why do you have to bother about gaining a certification in stock trading?


La Vish
SCJP 1.4, President 60s Club
Ben Wood
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 14, 2001
Posts: 342
I think the reason I have the view that I do is because I am mainly self-taught, so I guess I have traditionally come across a problem, found some way of fixing it and then moved on without ever systematically learning all the basics of Java.
I suppose I don't _need_ certification, but it is nice to 'put a marker down' so to speak, and the organisation I work for are keen for their IT staff to seek accreditation of various forms as it helps when tendering for contracts.
I see that the way the exam is done makes sense in many ways as it represents a level playing field and covers all bases. I think the Developer exam is more what I expected when I set out, although I imagined a cross between the two where you have to write bits of code under exam conditions.
Thanks for your insight guys
Corey McGlone
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 20, 2001
Posts: 3271
If you're interested, here's what I think about the SCJP exam.
Corey


SCJP Tipline, etc.
Ben Wood
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 14, 2001
Posts: 342
Thanks Corey, I like the points you make and have added my own 2 penneth. I'm looking forward to eventually doing the SCJD, so I'm seeing my SCJP study as a necessary stepping stone, although for a person with a very poor memory for technical facts (like me) it may take some time
 
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