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Please help in studying for SCJP

Matt Chitty
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 24, 2008
Posts: 5
I just purchased the "Sun Certified Programmer for Java 6 - Study Guide" by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates and have started studying to take this exam sometime next year. I have already gone through several CDs that were purchased from Sun (CDJ-275-SE6 and CDJ-110-SE6), but they were a little confusing on certain subjects that I have not used before (Enums, Interfaces, etc.).

I have already looked at the FAQ for this website (that is why I purchased the above Study Guide) about this exam on "What books should..." and "What is the best way to prepare..." along with the rest of the FAQ, but I still have a few questions:
  • How long does it normally take to study for this exam if you know the basics of Java?
  • The book (and the FAQ) mentions that it would be good to do MANY exercises in Java; is there a place that I can get more exercises that would help me prepare for the exam?
  • In the Books (Basic Java) section, it mentions a few older books that may help; are there any newer books that would help learn basic Java? Currently, I have a book titled "Introduction to Java Programming" by Y. Daniel Liang; would this be a good book to start on a "refresher" of some basics?


  • I really appreciate any help that anyone could give me to make sure that I definitely pass this exam,
    Matt
    Jennifer Gamble
    Greenhorn

    Joined: Sep 12, 2008
    Posts: 9
    Hi Matt,

    I have been studying off and on for the exam for close to 10 months now. The Sierra / Bates book helped a lot, but I still felt like I needed more practice. So I purchased the Whizlabs exam simulator. It has also been very helpful and given me some much needed practice. They also guarantee pass or money back. Of course, who is going to go to all this trouble and not pass, right? It is probably a safe bet for them. Anyway, everyone is different so there is no answer for how long it takes to study. I am getting close to scheduling my exam. Good luck!


    Love and Peace
    Matt Chitty
    Greenhorn

    Joined: Oct 24, 2008
    Posts: 5
    Thank you for your response, Jennifer. What kinds of exercises are you doing? Where are you getting them from? Do you have Java experience or are you studying "from scratch"?

    Any responses would be most appreciated,
    Matt
    marc weber
    Sheriff

    Joined: Aug 31, 2004
    Posts: 11343

    Welcome to JavaRanch!

    People often ask how long it takes to study for the SCJP exam. Unfortunately, there are so many variables that it's difficult to give a meaningful answer. Even if I could give you an average, that would come with a high variance.

    The key factors are: How much experience you have with Java (and programming in general, especially object oriented), how much time you're able to devote to preparing, and -- perhaps the biggest variable -- your individual learning process.

    I'm not familiar with the Liang text. (I looked it up on Amazon, and even the "brief version" is expensive!) If it's a current edition and the style suits you, then it will probably be just fine for providing the basics. If you're looking for other suggestions, I would recommend Head First Java by Sierra and Bates.

    This forum can be one of your best resources. When you get stuck on something, post here and someone is sure to help!


    "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
    Matt Chitty
    Greenhorn

    Joined: Oct 24, 2008
    Posts: 5
    Thank you for your response, Marc.

    I looked into the "Head First Java, 2nd Edition" and it's publishing date is February 2005 and it discusses Java 5.0. I am looking to take the SJCP exam for Java 6.0; does this make any difference? I have seen that there are only a few changes from V5.0 to V6.0 (it looks like it is mainly APIs) but is there a "newbie" book that discusses Java V6.0? Is there a good website that has some good Java examples that I can use to test with in actually writing Java code (ALL of the books (and this website) that I have seen say that writing LOTS of code is the best way to learn)?

    Thanks,
    Matt
    marc weber
    Sheriff

    Joined: Aug 31, 2004
    Posts: 11343

    I don't know of any introductory books for Java 6 yet. As you've noticed, the new material for the version 6 exam is mostly API stuff. Since you have a version 6 book for the exam preparation, I think a version 5 book would be fine for getting the fundamentals.
    Marcus Moreno
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Aug 17, 2008
    Posts: 58
    Hi,

    I am studying for the SCJP now for about 13-14 month. pheeew. I have about 3-4 years of pratical java experience, but so far I was "just using Java" - but I never knew things in such a detail as necessary for the SCJP 6.
    Also, how long it takes you depends on how much free time you have - I have to work full time, there's not much time left for studying (weekends, and each day about 30 minutes while going to work...).
    Last but not least, how long it takes you, depends on your own expectations. I guess, I could have just PASSED the exam after a few month. But I want to take the SCJP as a chance, to once and for all learn Java INSIDE OUT - I want a really really solid base I can trust on in my programmer's career.
    Head First Java (5) is good. There are only subtle differences between the SCJP 5 and SCJP 6, actually, when I started last year I was planning to do the SCJP 5, then the SCJP 6 came out, and I decided to learn the few extra things (Console, NavigableMap, NavigableSet) and go with the SCJP 6, to up to date.

    And now, it FINALLY FINALLY seems like I am almost there. It now seems like I understand every nitpicking detail of Java. Anyway, I found out there's just another SCJP book I have not yet read
    ( SCJP Exam for J2SE 5: A Concise and Comprehensive Study Guide for the Sun Certified Java Programmer Exam by Paul Sanghera), I am even going for that one (I've read ALL others and more already...)Then
    Then, I will do 3 more mock exams and repeat everything. , in about 2 weeks, I am sure I will do the (damn) exam...
    Matt Chitty
    Greenhorn

    Joined: Oct 24, 2008
    Posts: 5
    For practicing Java coding, what examples do people use? I see that there are a few in the "Sun Certified Programmer for Java 6 - Study Guide" and there are a few in the "Introduction to Java Programming - 6th Edition" book that I am using. Since I am not a Java programmer, are there any good websites that have application projects, etc. that would help in studying for the SCJP 6 exam?

    Thank you for everyone's response. Most forums that I am a member of, no one hardly ever responds to any question that I may have. This website is WAY better than I expected. This is the first question that I have posted to this website's forums and I am receiving many answers. Sorry, I just felt like I needed to say something about how pleased I am with this website.

    Matt
    Bert Bates
    author
    Sheriff

    Joined: Oct 14, 2002
    Posts: 8883
        
        5
    Hi Matt,

    It might be helpful to think of the SCJP exam as focusing on "grammer" and the SCJD exam as focusing on "short stories". For the purpose of learning the "grammer" of the language, which is probably a good first step, we recommend that you write a lot of small (5 to 30 lines), programs to test out the grammer. To that end, if you're using our book, or probably most any SCJP reference, you can use the mock questions and small programs as jumping off points.

    In other words, type in the code from a question, compile it, and test it. Now make some changes to it, try different arguments, or access levels,s or substitute different methods, or try taking away the error handling - whatever the topic is.

    At the same time, if you want to start writing larger programs, we do have a few larger projects in Head First Java (shameless plug .

    I'd say that if you go to a bookstore and flip through a few books (maybe game programming?), you'll find books with larger projects. But I do think that you should be at least part way through your SCJP studies because if your "grammer" is weak you won't get as much from the larger projects.

    hth,

    Bert


    Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
    (If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
    Matt Chitty
    Greenhorn

    Joined: Oct 24, 2008
    Posts: 5
    Wow, I never actually expected to get the author of the very book that I am reading to post a reply to my questions...

    Anyway, thank you for the advice. I am still reading through your book "...Java 6 - Study Guide", but I wanted to make sure that I did not miss anything that I should study up on for the SCJP exam. I will take your advice and just go through this book and use the small programs to test the "grammar".

    Actually, I wanted to do game programming, but studying for this exam and going to school is taking up a lot of my time. Eventually, I would like to look into doing some game development (in my spare time - who has a lot of that now-a-days, huh?).

    Well, thanks to everyone for the advice,
    Matt
    Jennifer Gamble
    Greenhorn

    Joined: Sep 12, 2008
    Posts: 9
    Hi Matt,

    I just thought I should reply to your questions, sorry for the delay...

    What kinds of exercises are you doing? Where are you getting them from? Do you have Java experience or are you studying "from scratch"?


    Fortunately, Java was the language of choice at my University. So I learned Java 5 while getting my Computer Science degree. I have since been employed at a small IT company and am developing in Java 1.4. We have not made the upgrade yet. So, yes, I have some experience. However, there are many topics that I haven't worked with since graduating. For example, concurrency and generics are not part of my daily routine.

    I think our infamous author, Bert, has made a good suggestion. Compile the code from the examples in the book and play around with them. Use a text editor and the command line so you don't have any help from an IDE. I have done a bit of this myself and it does help.

    Marcus, good luck on your exam. I am waiting to see how you do, having read some of your struggles. Still struggling along valiantly myself.

    Jennifer
    Bert Bates
    author
    Sheriff

    Joined: Oct 14, 2002
    Posts: 8883
        
        5
    infamous ?! :roll:
    Marcus Moreno
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Aug 17, 2008
    Posts: 58
    LOL! No Bert, you'r the one and only (author) for me!





    ... now go and fix the bugs I posted about the SCJP 6 master exams!
    Jennifer Gamble
    Greenhorn

    Joined: Sep 12, 2008
    Posts: 9
    I was teasing, Bert. We all respect you !
     
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