In a few months I will be taking the 1.4 exam for my college course, and I have been studying with the 5.0 Study Guide by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates. I have a fairly simple, but important question for you:
Throughout the book, certain things are referenced that "used to be on the exam, but aren't anymore" etc. Are statements like this implying the different between the 1.4 exam and the 5.0 exam, or are they saying, in short, that all exams have been rewritten to reflect said change.
To summarize my question, if I was to purchase the Sierra/Bates guide to the 1.4 exam, would everything covered in it still be relevant to the 1.4 exam I would be taking today? (even though it was published 6 years ago)?
If you have been studying with a book for SCJP 5, then why are you going to so SCJP 1.4? You'd better do SCJP 5.
There are some topics that are in the SCJP 1.4 exam but that are not in the SCJP 5 exam. One example is bit-shift operators, which were dropped in SCJP 5.
Note that Java 5 contains new features that are not present in Java 1.4, such as generics, autoboxing, new for-loop syntax, varargs, etc. Note that it's not a good idea to study for Java 5, and then do the exam for Java 1.4. The answer to a question might be different between Java 1.4 and Java 5. For example, some programs do compile on Java 5 just fine, while they will give you a compiler error on Java 1.4 (for example, if autoboxing is used). If one of the choices of an exam question is "This code does not compile", then that might be the correct answer for SCJP 1.4, but the wrong answer for SCJP 5.
If you buy the book for SCJP 1.4, then it will still be relevant for doing SCJP 1.4 today.