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Prometric Issues (was "Passed with 83%")

Amit Batra
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 04, 2006
Posts: 361
So First the good news, I passed this afternoon with an 83%. Thanks to all ranchers for helping me. Thank you Mr. Bert Bates and a special Thank you to Kathy Sierra, I believe her to be the founder of this forum, without which none of this would�ve happened. Mr Bert Bates and Kathy Sierra You two are rock stars. Thanks to all the bartenders, of this forum you really come up with some stunning examples. You guys also rock. All those wanting to take the exam I would advise just focus on the basics, most commercial exam simulators are overkill. This exam basically is..well basic. Focus your energies on the K&B and thats probably all you need. Also I�m a little puzzled by the exam report. The following is a breakdown of the percentage
Declaration initializing and scoping.................91%
Flow Control........................................................81%
API Contents.......................................................100%
OO Concepts..................................................... 80%
Collections/Generics......................................... 90%

I practiced the whole last week focusing my energies on concurrency and I get a 62 in it, API on the other hand was something I was scoring not more than 70% on it and I end up with a 100. I�m starting to think too many mock exams by way of taking apart each question and experimenting with it is probably not such a good idea, you end up getting to in depth on stuff and learning stuff which is out of scope for the exam. I would compare mock exams to whisky, when taken in too large amounts it starts to lose its beneficial effects. Focusing on the K&B is probably the best thing to do even though compared to that you�d still only be tested on just the basics. Class paths was one area which is really hard for me. I�m a little depressed about this score because I feel I was robbed.
Now the Really tragic part, for all those raising doubt over Prometrics Adherence to a minimum standard of quality, and something in particular for ranchers in the Delhi region.

Get this; I take the exam here in New Delhi at the biggest prometric center NIIT-CP. Right before the exam after Ive signed all the documents and been fingerprinted, I ask for some sheets of paper and the proctor lady goes "oh we don�t allow you to use scratch papers�. She said that prometric had a policy and I wouldn�t be allowed anything on which I could write and carry the questions in a concealed manner. So they were going to provide me with a laminated paper. I said this is ridiculous, I argued with her for about 5 minutes explaining her all the issues with associated with this particular exam, you can count how many sheets I�m using and if you want, you can grab a seat next to me and invigilate to make sure I don�t take anything out, I said. "NO" she said rather rudely, all candidates that take their exams aren�t allowed any paper, all the kids that take the .Net exams etc. I said this is SCJP there are known issues with questions like DND etc. And unlike other exams it really he it would really help if you could write stuff out. she had ,me talk to centre manager who was even ruder and told me I should take the test elsewhere if I wasn�t willing to comply, she added that I had signed a contract when I signed on the form and was now under legal obligation to comply. (This was something I want even told to read just instructed to sign here, sign that). I requested if she could have me speak with someone from prometric (being that she was the center manager),
"No candidate is ever allowed to interact with prometric as they dont speak to you guys" was the reply. They said if I even talked to prometric about this then I should take the test elsewhere, Imagine that being threatened by your exam centre (apparently NIIT believes its obliging people by allowing them to sit for the test). My gut feeling was telling me to not do it, but they said they had already downloaded the exam and if I didn�t take it there I would have to purchase a new voucher and the money on this was lost. So I unwittingly decided to go thru with it. I requested that If you are going to give me this laminated paper at least give me a pen to write with it. I told her markers dont write well on plastic. I walk into the "test room" which was like 5 steps away from the proctor's desk with this dark gray piece plastic paper, and a permanent marker. As I try writing with it turns out it was out of ink. So I then have to leave my test and wait till she finds a new one. The new one I get has the opposite problem, it flows too freely on plastic turning everything I try to write into scrumpdiddly. As expected about 4 DNDs written which were just scarcely readable and both side of this laminated paper (which was smaller then a regular A4) filled! And completely unreadable my Y's looked like Xs. She said there wasn�t anymore as the other test takers were using it so she'll go clean the one I was using, anyway so there I am taking the exam having to do everything in my head and she comes back like 15 minutes later with exactly the same sheet in a worse state and says "the guy that has the cleaning spray thing cant to be found. But I have smudged it with a napkin so you could probably be okay?"
I decided not to use it and ended up doing all the calculations in my head, Because of this I didn�t even review any of my DND questions. Couldn�t write down a single line of code. But this is not even what I�m really mad about, this woman who obviously had a active social life sitting like 5 feet away from me kept yapping on the phone, there was a glass door separating her desk from mine but I could HEAR EVERYTHING LOUD AND CLEAR. FORGET NOT BEING ABLE TO HEAR MYSELF THINK I COULDNT HEAR MYSELF TALK. As you can imagine it�s really difficult to do the fizzylifting in your head whilst listening to all the gobbledygook and with absolutely nothing to write on!!. All in all this was the worst possible experience I had with this test site-I wasn�t even allowed to take in water. It can�t get worse right??? WRONG!! After I get home I check the report, and see that my address was filled up as incomplete, I mean they can�t even transfer data from a written form to an electronic one. I didn�t spot it there when the report was printed and tomorrow�s a Sunday. I�ve written to Prometric to get this rectified. What the heck did I do to deserve this? This is the kinda crapp that makes me wanna leave India, sick of accepting mediocracy as a way of life. Of course some of the blame also lies with prometric. I have reconciled myself to that fact that the exam DOES give you more than enough time, and even if you are being constantly being distracted I DID have a chance to go thru the exam twice to see what I had done incorrectly and thereby should take responsibility for the low score. But a part of me is seething.

Has anyone else had an experience like this? I suggest we make a list of centers that should be avoided like the plague for the benefit of everyone here. I think this is a problem particularly with this side of the world being that consumer rights are something that companies apparently get to dictate. Tragic!!
[ September 09, 2006: Message edited by: marc weber ]
marc weber

Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

Originally posted by Amitabha Batranab:
...Has anyone else had an experience like this? ...

Don't get me started (again) on Prometric.

I was going to move this to our Results forum, but if this thread can stay on topic as a constructive discussion of testing center practices...

"We're kind of on the level of crossword puzzle writers... And no one ever goes to them and gives them an award." ~Joe Strummer
Barry Gaunt
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 03, 2002
Posts: 7729
I agree marc. Congratulations Amitabha!

Ask a Meaningful Question and HowToAskQuestionsOnJavaRanch
Getting someone to think and try something out is much more useful than just telling them the answer.
Shang Lee

Joined: Aug 17, 2006
Posts: 20
Congrats Amitabha!

Best Wishes,<br />Shang
Deepak Bala

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6662

Cool you finally took it ! Congrats. Yes i was a bit taken aback about the laminated pad thing but i figured no use arguing. I also had to maintain a list of all questions i had answered and what answer i chose just in case the software screws up ( like it does for drag and drops ). I prayed to god that i would not accidentally swipe my hand over the laminated thing and erase my list. Anyway... i suggest that we have a stick thread or a seperate area in our web site to warn people that take the SCJP about such problems. Sure you can figure it out when you read a couple of threads but it is possible that some candidates may miss this out and be in for a rude shock. Let me add some tips and others can pitch in and when it is complete we can may be add a link on top of this forum saying "Those taking tests through prometric read this". May be if Amitabha had read something like that he would have been ready for it so here goes.

1. Before you take the exam you are given some sample questions to help you get used to the interface. The time alloted for this is not inclusive of the time given to you to finish the exam.

2. The test has an initial round where you are asked about how confident you are with topics such as generics, flow control etc. You are given a certain amount of time to finish this but this time is not inclusive of the time given to you to finish the exam.

3. if you revisit the drag and drop questions to answer them again your previous answer will be lost. Make sure you write down the previous answer somewhere before you attempt to re answer drag and drop type of questions.

4. You will only be provided with a laminated sheet and a sketch pen to answer your questions. No exceptions.

5. You may leave for the toilet in the middle of the exam. I did

6. Drag and drop questions cannot be marked for review properly. This means that after you finish answering all questions, if you had marked a drag and drop type of question for review it wont be marked for review on the "Review my answers screen".

Thats about it from me. If anyone finds something else to add please do. Then we can point to this thread or create a new page for people to read through before they take the test. This is not the first time some one is complaining about prometric

SCJP 6 articles - SCJP 5/6 mock exams - More SCJP Mocks
Dibbo Khan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 19, 2004
Posts: 147
I have taken many prometric exams here in the UK and I have to tell you that the policy on scratch paper is a consistent one. Prometric always gives you laminated paper and never lets you take in scratch or any other sheets of paper whatsoever.

The lady there, although perhaps rude, was not applying policies in an inconsistent manner with you.

MCPD (Enterprise Application Developer, Windows Developer, Web Developer - .NET 2.0), MCTS (Windows Apps, Web Apps and Disbributed Applications - .NET 2.0), MCITP (Database Developer & Business Intelligence Developer - SQL Server 2005), MCAD,, SCJP 5, SCWCD 1.4, SCBCD, SCMAD, SCDJWS, SCJA
Deepak Bala

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6662

The lady there, although perhaps rude, was not applying policies in an inconsistent manner with you.

True. But no one expects it when they go to take the test and are thus, a bit shocked
Matt Russell
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 15, 2006
Posts: 165
Congrats on passing, Amitabha, and sorry you had a crummy experience.

Inquisition: open-source mock exam simulator for SCJP and SCWCD
Amit Batra
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 04, 2006
Posts: 361
Thanks guys for all the congrats I feel happy to have this all behind me. My anger has cooled down a bit. i guess having something is better than having nothing..dont mean to go off another rant but I just wish prometric would if it were serious about protecting its questions wake up to the reality of modern technology and realize that if somoene was bent on taking their questions out they will find a way to do it no matter what. Dont get the point of making making people write with permanent markers which are meant for classroom whiteboards and which cant even be then cleaned.Itd be better if they increased their question bank to thousands of questions and have dozens of variations of a particular question so that no two people could receive the same questions or buy the "answers" from some of the websites. Until prometric has a competitor I guess we will have to continue to comply no matter how mindless some of their policies may be or their lack of enforcement of codes of conducts of their respective exam centres and its employees. I just wish a sound proof test room or at least a low noise atmosphere while testing could be made mandatory.
Thanks once again to everyone I wish everyone best of luck in their prep and hope to see you guys in the cd forums soon for those going that route.
Vaibhav Chauhan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 16, 2006
Posts: 115
congrats amitabha.....

as you have scored 100% in API, now it becomes very obvious to take suggestions from you regarding API so please guide me how to make this section strong. please refer me the best possible study material for this section ..
ranchers,please refer me some very good stuff for API.

Amit Batra
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 04, 2006
Posts: 361
Hi vaibhav. For the API I think ch-6 of the K&B is sufficient. try to learn the tables there on p436 and p471. know that the methods in StringBuffer/Builder are. An acronymn to remember them is "All Ranchers Do Is Talk". A-for append(), R-for reverse() etc. Ofcourse remeber that all three(String, Buffer and Builder) share a common method which is length() and File also has this method, though that is probably going out of scope.

If you are confused about exceptions see this link
this link

Vaibhav Chauhan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 16, 2006
Posts: 115
thanks amitabha....
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Prometric Issues (was "Passed with 83%")
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