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Author

How often we will be fooled?

Burkhard Hassel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 25, 2006
Posts: 1274
Hi ranchers,

given the following example:



What will happen?
Correct answer: an exception will be thrown at runtime.
Sooner or later.

I know, what's wrong with this code snippet. So you don't need to post it here!

My question is rather:
How often we will be fooled in the exam with nonsense like this?
What do you think, cowboys?


Curious,
Bu.


all events occur in real time
Matt Russell
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 15, 2006
Posts: 165
I haven't taken the SCJP yet, but K&B includes an "exam watch" note which says,
"Regardless of what the question appears to be testing, the real problem might be the class or interface definition. Before you get caught up in, say, tracing a complex threading flow, check to see if the code will even compile...You'll be impressed by the effort the exam developers put into distracting you from the real problem."

Certainly some of the K&B questions feature misdirection.


Matt
Inquisition: open-source mock exam simulator for SCJP and SCWCD
marc weber
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 31, 2004
Posts: 11343

Originally posted by Burkhard Hassel:
...How often we will be fooled in the exam with nonsense like this? ...

I think it's a good practical question.


"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
sscce.org
Waclav Pshedujko
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 28, 2006
Posts: 7
Correct answer: an exception will be thrown at runtime.
Sooner or later.


Not necessarily, if you are ok with resources, the list will be filled with integers from 5 till Integer.MAX_VALUE and program stops after that.
E.g. try less resource-dependent code:
Burkhard Hassel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 25, 2006
Posts: 1274
Hi ranchers!

You're right, Waclav.

Must be a big system, though. With an Integer, the list takes
roughly 8.6 gigabyte to complete. (4 * 2.15e9).


Yours,
Bu.
Rick Roberts
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 07, 2005
Posts: 59

Almost every question is a trick question.
It makes me wonder about the twisted minds that conceived this punishment.
When they were children, they probably took pleasure in pulling the wings off of flies.


SCJP
"Stay on the path."
Burkhard Hassel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 25, 2006
Posts: 1274
Hi ranchers,

Rick Roberts assumed:

When they were children, they probably took pleasure in pulling the wings off of flies.



without anesthesia!

Bu.
Harshad Khasnis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2006
Posts: 48
In my opinion the exam is becoming more & more logic and analytical skill testing rather that actual Java testing.
Burkhard Hassel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 25, 2006
Posts: 1274
Harshad Khasnis wrote:

In my opinion the exam is becoming more & more logic and analytical skill testing rather than actual Java testing.


That was also my expression. And the reason to start this discussion.


Bu.
Barry Gaunt
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 03, 2002
Posts: 7729
Originally posted by Harshad Khasnis:
In my opinion the exam is becoming more & more logic and analytical skill testing rather that actual Java testing.


That's because of the P-part of Sun Certified Java Programmer.


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

Joined: Feb 07, 2005
Posts: 2367
Originally posted by Barry Gaunt:


That's because of the P-part of Sun Certified Java Programmer.


I agree wholeheartedly. You can't really have an exam on Java without being expected to understand the logic behind the use of constructs.
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8805
    
    5
Here's a little background info, and then a question:

First off, it's very important to remember that a lot of the mock exams don't do a good job of representing the questions in the real exam. So you have to be careful which mocks you pick - it's very easy to write tricky Java questions, but it's much harder to write Java questions that focus on concepts AND match the contents of the real exam.

Second, Sun choice of software it can use to create and administer these tests is highly constrained. Sun has to provide the same tests on a world-wide basis, often on hardware that is several years old. Sun has to provide the tests at a fairly modest price - even at the existing prices Sun gets a lot of complaints about the exams being expensive.

Third, given the tools contraints we're faced with, the exam creation teams have evolved a LOT over the last several years. We have worked very hard to shift away from "tricky" or trivial-based questions as much as possible. On the other hand, Sun wants these certifications to be hard to achieve. They want these certifications to have real value in the world. So, we are charged with making really challenging questions. Every question on the exam undergoes an intense review process before it "makes the cut"...every question is reviewed by the entire exam creation team. One of the things the team looks for is that every question has to be testing at least one important, core Java concept. We try hard to avoid testing on seldom used corner cases, trying instead to focus on the use of popular APIs, the most common Java constructs, and where people tend to get those wrong.

Okay, that's the background Now the question is, what suggestions do you guys have for how to improve the exams? I know one question I have is how do you guys know which mocks provide the most accurate view of the real exam?


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

Joined: Aug 25, 2006
Posts: 1274
Hi ranchers,

thanks for all the replies so far - and don't take this wing-pulling-off-of-flies-people remarks toooo earnest.



Bert Bates wrote
First off, it's very important to remember that a lot of the mock exams don't do a good job of representing the questions in the real exam.

Hopefully you're right. Probably I feel a little uncertain now from too many too tricky questions that are probably not the style of the real exam.

With this view, perhaps I'd better complained about some questions of mock exams rather than the actual exam, I admit.
The example on top of the thread is not from any of these mock exams. It's on my own and I exaggerated a bit to provoce a discussion.

and Bert asked also
Now the question is, what suggestions do you guys have for how to improve the exams? I know one question I have is how do you guys know which mocks provide the most accurate view of the real exam?



For the first question: Sorry, I cannot tell, as I didn't try the exam yet.
For the second:
I wish it were Marcus Green's questions (question of the day).
Simply because they are the easiest...


Yours,
Bu.


---

Flies can be anesthisized either with diethyl ether or carbon dioxide, btw.
Harshad Khasnis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2006
Posts: 48

Bu wrote:

Hopefully you're right. Probably I feel a little uncertain now from too many too tricky questions that are probably not the style of the real exam.

With this view, perhaps I'd better complained about some questions of mock exams rather than the actual exam, I admit.
The example on top of the thread is not from any of these mock exams. It's on my own and I exaggerated a bit to provoce a discussion.



I think i should have remembered that nobody is allowed to post real exam quetions here and then only commented about the original quesion.
So me too Sorry for that.

But yes some of the mock exams those i have been through have some questions much like the one in the discussion.


Originally posted by Barry Gaunt:

That's because of the P-part of Sun Certified Java Programmer.


Agreed Barry, but the thing is that, I think that when these types of questions are in place then they totally take you away from Java.
Means P gets more emphasis than J.


now you also asked:

Okay, that's the background Now the question is, what suggestions do you guys have for how to improve the exams? I know one question I have is how do you guys know which mocks provide the most accurate view of the real exam?


Regarding first question the answer lies in your post itself:

We have worked very hard to shift away from "tricky" or trivial-based questions as much as possible. On the other hand, Sun wants these certifications to be hard to achieve. They want these certifications to have real value in the world. So, we are charged with making really challenging questions. Every question on the exam undergoes an intense review process before it "makes the cut"...every question is reviewed by the entire exam creation team. One of the things the team looks for is that every question has to be testing at least one important, core Java concept. We try hard to avoid testing on seldom used corner cases, trying instead to focus on the use of popular APIs, the most common Java constructs, and where people tend to get those wrong.

I know it must be very difficult task to achieve these standards, but these standards makes Java exams stand out of the crowd.

And regarding the second question:
I really cannot say which mock exam gives the most accurate view of the real exam becuase i havent yet taken the real exam,
Most of the mock exam are just putting more emphasis on how many question they have rather than what type of questions they have.
So it is basically trial and error issue.
Matt Russell
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 15, 2006
Posts: 165
Originally posted by Bert Bates:
Okay, that's the background Now the question is, what suggestions do you guys have for how to improve the exams? I know one question I have is how do you guys know which mocks provide the most accurate view of the real exam?

Having not taken the real exam yet, I can't really answer the first question. For the second, I find it very difficult to tell. However, for me, it's not essential that a mock exam be an accurate emulation of the actual exam to be worthwhile. If a mock question helps me to memorise something that I need to memorise for the real exam, then that's still useful, even if the question is quite different in style or difficulty to what would be on the real thing.
 
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