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Fast Track Strategy for Passing SCJP!

Jack Gold
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 04, 2005
Posts: 85
Just passed the SCJP exam. Have a background in C++ development but have not done much java professional development -- mostly applets for personal use. I wanted to pass the SCJP so I could begin working on the SCJD certification.

1) Purchased and worked through SUN Java Training CD. This CD assumes some programming knowledge, yet is too easy for anyone with a Computer Science background. The module on threading is good and there are some other highlights. This costs ~300 and I would NOT recommend it unless your company will buy it for you. This is the only "mistake" I made in my training. Not deep enough to be of ANY use in passing the exam.

2) Searched on Amazon. Bought the K&B book based on glowing reviews.

3) Found this site.

4) Read K&B cover-to-cover

5) Read K&B again, this time doing ALL the examples and creating my own "study notes". Worked slowly with compiler to test and explore concepts. This step took about a month.

6) Did first "open book" practice exam to challenge the strengh of my notes. Made additions to notes.

7) Downloaded and took second "closed book" practice exam. Despite it closing out my session without givin me a chance to review some questions I had skipped, I passed with a decent margin.

8) Did the rules roundup. Did it again til I was getting ~90%.

9) Went through 2nd exam again in "open book" mode to make sure I understood all the concepts I had missed.

10) Two days later I passed the SCJP with a good margin.


Summary: The K&B book and the exams provided are enough to pass the SCJP with a healthy margin. The difficulty of the actual test questions are similar in difficulty to the questions in the book and the practice exams. However, the breadth of the actual exam is greater than the sum of the questions in the book and practice exams. There were some questions on the actual exam that I had brushed upon but had not had a chance to test with the compiler, so they weren't solid in my my mind. My impression is that if you want a score in the 80%s or 90%s (very admirable BTW), that you would need additional resources beyond the K&B book, you would need several years of hands on industry experience, plus you would need to take additional mock exams.

OK, so this was not exactly a "fast track". It took a few months. Hopefully this will be of use to someone who is preparing or thinking of preparing for the SCJP.


SCJP 1.4<br />SCJD <br />SCWCD (Studying)
Alex Gibson
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 10, 2005
Posts: 4
Thanks for the information. I can't help wondering, though, that the K&B book is always at the heart of every preparation program... To the point where the presence of the book makes the test that much easier.

I'm not implying that they're giving away answers, but I have to think that when the book is released for the 5.0 exam, the value of the certification will drop.

Aside from the beta folks, is anyone planning on taking the 5.0 exam without the updated K&B book?

Any thoughts?
Jack Gold
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 04, 2005
Posts: 85
Originally posted by Alex Lerxst:

I'm not implying that they're giving away answers, but I have to think that when the book is released for the 5.0 exam, the value of the certification will drop.


Not sure I understand this statement. The abilty to answer the questions correctly shows mastery of the content. Having additional preparation materials for 5.0 will help to gain that knowledge but will not diminish the value of the cert. Passing still implies a certain level of mastery no matter how you got the knowledge.


IMO, in order to get a top score, you need to do MORE than K&B, because they dont cover all the material. As I mentioned there were a few questions that I had not explored in my reading of K&B or in the two practice exams.
Alex Gibson
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 10, 2005
Posts: 4
My point is that the K&B book is a unique resource, in that it is written by actual test authors. Sure, there are other ways to get a hold of the information, but the quality of information in this one book *I believe* is sufficient to pass the exam.

This is not to disparage the authors or the process. I'm simply saying this one book can get you past the exam, and everyone pretty much knows it.

As far as passing high vs. passing low, it's like that old joke:

Q: "What do you call the guy who finishes at the bottom of his class in Medical School?"

A: "Doctor"

Nobody cares what score you got. It's a pass/fail exam.
Mark Spritzler
ranger
Sheriff

Joined: Feb 05, 2001
Posts: 17257
    
    6

"Alex Lerxst"

Please change your display name to match the JavaRanch Naming Policy, which states using your real first and real last names.

Thanks

If you have any questions you can send an email to my bytor e-mail address.

Mark


Perfect World Programming, LLC - Two Laptop Bag - Tube Organizer
How to Ask Questions the Smart Way FAQ
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Seems a bogus account to discredit Kathy and Bert's book. I doubt we'll hear much more from the user.


42
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8829
    
    5
Here's our orientation when we create a cert. book: We absolutely want to cover all of the topics that are on the exam, and then maybe a few more. It is distressing to hear that we missed topics, and I'd like for anyone who thinks that's the case to please email us!

From my perspective, the real advantage of a good study guide is to focus your studies on the topics being tested, and I'm not sure how our books do more than that? We do try to make *learning* the topics as easy as possible, but every author has that opportunity, and it seems like few take it In the end, you still have to lean the topics to pass the test


Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
Jack Gold
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 04, 2005
Posts: 85
Bert,
Its a very good book and allowed me to pass the SCJP exam.

I tried sending you a PM but your box is full. Several of the questions revolved around the behaviour of objects explicitly cast to their parents type. I checked sections in your book on casting and polymorphism and didnt find anything that resembled the test questions. I should have experimented with this on my own regardless. Maybe I missed some material?

Chris
Alex Gibson
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 10, 2005
Posts: 4
Seems a bogus account to discredit Kathy and Bert's book. I doubt we'll hear much more from the user.


Hmmm... read my posts again. I basically said:

1. The K&B book is sufficient to pass the exam
2. Everyone pretty much knows it

How is this discrediting Kathy and Bert's book? If anything, it's a rave review!

The point, (since you seemed to miss it completely) is this: Does having a book -- a single source of information -- that allows someone to pass the exam cheapen the overall value of the certification?

Here's a thought experiment for you -- take a Java newbie, give him/her the K&B book, and 1 to 2 months to study. If he fails, I pay his fee. If he passes, you pay the fee.

Any takers? I thought not.
Joe Sondow
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 10, 2005
Posts: 195
Originally posted by Alex Lerxst:

Does having a book -- a single source of information -- that allows someone to pass the exam cheapen the overall value of the certification?


No, not if the person used that book to learn enough detail about Java that they were able to pass the exam. I fail to see why learning the material from multiple incomplete sources makes someone a better candidate for the title of "Certified Java Programmer" than learning the same material from one complete source. The certification is only a testament to the person's knowledge of the material on the exam. Either you know the material or you don't. A good study guide simply accelerates one's ability to learn the material.
[ April 13, 2005: Message edited by: Joe Sanowitz ]

SCJA 1.0 (98%), SCJP 1.4 (98%)
 
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