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Kathy Sierra, big problems

Raef Kandeel
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Joined: Aug 05, 2007
Posts: 87
Hi Guys,

I am using Kathy Sierra to prepare for my certification and I am facing big, big problems. Namely, I study the chapter really well, underline all the important concepts and make notes. And then when it comes to self-tests, I don't seam to be able to perform all that well. Actually, I perform incredibly poorly. Does anybody know why that is? Did anybody face similar experience? Does it have to the nature of the questions because I make a lot of effort to capture all the concepts. The scores I am getting in the self-tests are discouraging me from ever attempting the exam. Thanks in advance.

christian combarel
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Joined: Aug 04, 2007
Posts: 47
Yes, at first the questions are quite disconcerting but don't get discouraged !
The important thing is to understand yours mistakes and above all, practice is the key to success. Did you try to code and execute the examples from the book and questions from the tests that you failed ?
Then, when you'll get more self-confident do as mock exams as you can.

Bob Ruth
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Joined: Jun 04, 2007
Posts: 320
First, and I mean it, I am NOT trying to be funny.....but welcome to the world of Java testing.... or at least I think so. I have had the same problem working my way along the path and I have come to "my version" of a realization:

Reading the chapter..... teaches you the very basic mechanics of how a certain piece of Java works.

Failing the tests, teaches how how those principles are applied and how you need to be thinking of them.

I find that it works well for me to:
1) take the self test first, to assess weaknesses
2) read then entire chapter, then
3) take the test again.

Now, if I still do not do well, I take the qeustions that I didn't do well on, go back to the section, and totally dissect the question asking myself "why did I not see this? what did I miss about the "application of the basic lesson?". If I do that, I often catch some tiny little point that threw me off. I spend extra time studying that point for general application. Later, I will go grab the question again, do my very best to act like I have never seen it before, and work my way through it. There does come a point that you see it easier. Be encouraged.

A part of it too, I think, is getting used to the manner of "testing". Those questions are designed to do one of two things.... test you on some particlar part of the language, or ..... trip you up mis-applying or not recognizing misuse of that part of the language. You kind of have to get used to the feel to have your head in the right place.

SCJP - 86% - June 11, 2009
Bert Bates

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8898
Hi Guys,

My two cents.

First off, Sun wants this exam to be really challenging - Sun wants it to really mean something when you pass - so this shouldn't be considered a trivial undertaking. The good news is that once you've put in the effort, and passed the exam, you'll be a pretty solid Java programmer, AND a lot of people think that this particular certification has some real value in the world!

Second, one of Sun's goals is that the topics that are on the exam should be as meaningful as possible in the real world. There might be times (like when you're studying the DateFormat class :roll: ), when the topics might feel obscure, but there are unstated goals like "knowing how to use the API", that you'll have a good handle on, once you complete the exam.

Finally, remember that the exam doesn't come close to covering everything that's in the Java specification - it really covers only a fraction of the spec. Our goal in the book is to cover about 110% of what's on the real exam. Overall, the feedback we get is that we come pretty close to that goal. I'm sure you could argue that we might be a little inconsistent from topic to topic, but the message here is that overall, the questions in the book are, hopefully, just a tiny bit trickier than the ones on the real exam. As always, we welcome candidates feedback if they feel this isn't case.

Good luck in your studies - JavaRanch is a great place to help you over the rough spots!


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

Joined: Jun 04, 2007
Posts: 320
You have an Amen!
Raef Kandeel
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Joined: Aug 05, 2007
Posts: 87

Thank you all for giving me hope. I used what you guys told me and what I learned in Chess to come up with a plan:-

I will read the chapters, attempt the questions. I will then go over the weak concepts for half an hour and then attempt the questions again. Answering the questions again should not talk more than half an hour as they are fourteen questions and the exam gives 2 minutes per question roughly. I will repeat these steps until I get a passing score: 55%. I will be sure not to read the explanation for the questions until after I get the 55%. This is because I don't won't to spoil my fun of reaching the answer myself. As I learned in chess, if I make a series of best moves, I can always maximize my chance of winning.

As I learned in chess, "only play what you say". Some chessmaster said that, although I don't remember his name. This means that I don't see a logical path that makes me answer a particular choice, I would never answer this choice. Note that "A" is correct because I remember seeing A as the answer is not a good logical path.

Chess rule number "3": never gain material at the cost of losing position. I don't know how this applies to the certification, although I am sure I can come up with something.

Last but not least. If you don't watch your clock you would lose. This whole business should not take me more than a day. If it takes more time than that, I would just move on to the next chapter.

....Am I just the only one in the ranch who finds this funny.
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Kathy Sierra, big problems
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