Hey everyone, I just took the 1.5 Upgrade exam. I'll save my results for "that other forum".
Some (subjective) observations for those contemplating this exam:
As you know, the upgrade is a shortened version of the full SCJP exam (not simply the full exam at a discounted price). There are only 46 questions on the upgrade exam, and you are given 105 minutes to complete them.
Obviously if you're contemplating this exam, you've passed a previous SCJP version. For me, I did SCJP 1.2 in 2001. I did not take the 1.4 exam. Over the years I've learned a lot, and forgotten a lot! (I started Java in 1997.)
I took the exam as a way to force myself to learn 1.5 features. In my work we use JDK 1.4 exclusively due to our app server choice. My next project will be in 1.5 and I wanted to be better prepared.
Since I thought I knew most of the topics already, I only scheduled 5 days to study for this exam. This was too short. I moved back my exam one day, which was barely adequate.
I had a choice of concentrating on the new 1.5 topics (using Sun's online training module), or to review "everything" again. I decided to review everything by reading K&B end-to-end.
Despite adding another day, I had just enough time to read all the K&B chapters without doing any of the self-tests or mock exams. I was planning to "save" the self-tests for the last day, but in reality I just started reviewing the Inner Classes & Threading chapters this morning. Good thing I scheduled the exam for the afternoon.
I did write numerous small programs along the way to "test things out". For me this works best anyway.
2. The Upgrade Exam Itself
There were a good mix of questions between the "new" features (varargs, generics, etc.) vs. "existing" features. I half-expected the exam to focus mainly on new features due to the limited number of questions.
I thought the 1.5 exam asked "better" questions than the old 1.2 exam. There were a few "tricky" questions but I felt they were fair. I felt the old 1.2 exam concentrated too much on syntax, trying to "fool" you rather than test you. Also the 1.5 questions were clear and to the point. Kudos to the 1.5 test team.
Usually I finish Sun exams with tons of time to spare. This time I had just enough time to finish and double-check some questions. I finished the exam with less than 2 minutes remaining. Keep an eye on the clock!
There were quite a lot of "task" based questions (drag & drop, etc.) These were much more time consuming for me than the multiple-choice ones.
I felt there were numerous threading questions, but your exam might be different.
I felt the 1.5 upgrade was easier than the 1.2 exam, perhaps because the exam was better written.
You can miss 19 (!) questions and still pass. As I progressed, I kept track of the number of questions I wasn't sure about, and half-way through the exam I knew that obviously I was going to pass even though time was "tight." This relieved a lot of the pressure; you may want to do the same.
Due to my time constraints I relied on K&B exclusively in my preparation. If you honestly read all of the chapters sequentially, moving ahead only after having a good understanding of each chapter's main objectives, then without any doubt you will pass the exam!
If you get to this line, thanks for reading all my ramblings.