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210 minutes, are you kidding me?

jean-gobert de coster
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 04, 2008
Posts: 49
I'm really very worried about the time limit given for the scjp exam...

210 minutes seems to me like little next to no time to think through the question.

it takes me about one to two minutes to just read most questions on the mock exam, then I yet have to pass through the code for possible compilation errors or exceptions, then only can I begin to think about the result of the execution.

I never managed to do a mock exam in less than 4 hours, and that time when I got close to 4 hours, I made many mistakes because I forced myself to take fast, not thought through, decisions

Are mock exams just a lot harder than the main exam, or am I just desperately slow?
Ankit Garg
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 03, 2008
Posts: 9293
    
  17

Originally posted by jean-gobert de coster:
I never managed to do a mock exam in less than 4 hours,

Are mock exams just a lot harder than the main exam, or am I just desperately slow?


To tell you the truth, I used to complete mock exams in 5-6 hours . I could not concentrate on the questions for more than half an hour, and then I had to do other things and then return back to the mock exam. The mocks are no doubt hard but not that hard. It's just that I used to find it difficult to keep solving questions for 3 hours continuously. I was also worried about this. But in the final exam, I completed the exam in about 100 minutes (less than 2 hours). That's way less than 210 minutes that you get. So don't worry. The real exam isn't that tough. Just make your self a list of compilation error gotchas. I made one for myself too and this eliminates many questions in just 15-20 seconds. I used to check if the line numbers are starting with 1. If yes I used to check for non-imported classes. If line numbers were from something other than 1, then I used to check if main is trying to access any non-static member. If not than I used to check for any syntactical errors. The list goes on and on. It's just a matter of experience. You can get experienced at this by giving as much mock exams as you can.

It takes about 1 minute to check a question for the list of possible errors. If no errors are there, just go for the logic. Believe me dude, you won't find it that difficult...


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Jesus Angeles
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 26, 2005
Posts: 2053
Originally posted by jean-gobert de coster:
I'm really very worried about the time limit given for the scjp exam...

210 minutes seems to me like little next to no time to think through the question.

it takes me about one to two minutes to just read most questions on the mock exam, then I yet have to pass through the code for possible compilation errors or exceptions, then only can I begin to think about the result of the execution.

I never managed to do a mock exam in less than 4 hours, and that time when I got close to 4 hours, I made many mistakes because I forced myself to take fast, not thought through, decisions

Are mock exams just a lot harder than the main exam, or am I just desperately slow?


The time really is a factor. You can do it, just like all of us who passed already.

Quickness in answering the questions comes from 'practice'. You said you are slow in answering them. If your answers are correct, it simply means that you are in the right direction, but the pie is still 25% cooked. You need to practice and study more. If you get the theory already, you still need the speed. But speed is not like a sprint run. The speeds comes out of 'practice' and 'handson'. You cannot improve your speed by reading more lessons. When I say 'practice', I mean, handson, not taking mock exams. Of course, using a good book to start with, like Kathy Sierra's book, is a great help.

First, do your book/s and hands-ons. Dont even go to second step if you havent done this.

Second, improve your speed, using mock exams (timed! if not using a timed software, time yourself!). Do not repeat a mock exam more than once. Learn why you got each answer wrong. When you are getting a consistent high score in mock exams, you are ready; as to what percentage of score in mock exam means 'ready', try search this forum.
[ December 15, 2008: Message edited by: Jesus Angeles ]
krishna pr
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 28, 2008
Posts: 8
Hi Ankit,

Could you share the list. :-)
Ankit Garg
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 03, 2008
Posts: 9293
    
  17

Well I don't remember it completely now (I didn't write it anywhere ), but I'll try

1. Check for line numbers. If they start with 1, then be cautious with use of classes from packages other than java.lang
2. Check for main syntax. Typically I used to check for missing [] after String and reverse position of void and static.
3. Check for number of opening and closing brackets especially with codes with a lot of brackets like if conditions.
4. Check if main is trying to access any non-static members directly. This one is really useful. It eliminates some questions in seconds.
5. Look for methods that throw Checked exceptions. In this check if they are in try-catch block or are in a method which has a throws clause. Look for this error especially in Thread questions with methods like wait, sleep etc.
6. If the question contains anonymous inner classes, look for missing semicolon at the end of the declaration.

I think this is about it. Other than this there are many more things but they are not generic and apply to single questions. For eg



This code will not compile as it misses a call to Super with arguments...

[Edit: Removed a mistake ]
[ December 16, 2008: Message edited by: Ankit Garg ]
jean-gobert de coster
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 04, 2008
Posts: 49
by my books this code does compile :-)

Maybe you intended to say Sub extends Super and then call the new Sub() constructor in the main method, which then indeed won't compile :-)

regarding slowness, I've always been slow to do whatever involves reading stuff. It has not to do with practice, it is just like that. It took me around 100 hours to just read sierra/bates once. Should my slight dyslexia be a factor to say that I am not worthy to be a certified java programmer? I think it makes no sense, but ok I'll do my best. Since the exam is tomorrow there's not much more I can do anyways except review the dark areas (all those pure memorization questions, gah!)
[ December 16, 2008: Message edited by: jean-gobert de coster ]
Ankit Garg
Sheriff

Joined: Aug 03, 2008
Posts: 9293
    
  17

Originally posted by jean-gobert de coster:
by my books this code does compile :-)

Maybe you intended to say Sub extends Super and then call the new Sub() constructor in the main method, which then indeed won't compile :-)


My Mistake. However I don't need to call the Sub() constructor in the main method for the code to fail compilation. I am changing the code in the original post...
KaJun Cheng
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 16, 2008
Posts: 3
Originally posted by Ankit Garg:


My Mistake. However I don't need to call the Sub() constructor in the main method for the code to fail compilation. I am changing the code in the original post...


That code should not compile, because the compiler inserts the default constructor for you, and since the default constructor is a no-arg constructor, it will try to call the no-arg constructor of Super, which doesn't exist.

Ankit, your list of things to check for seems very handy. After doing a few mocks and seeing the ones I get wrong, I found that I missed a lot of syntax-related things. I think a list like that is extremely useful. Just wanted to share my opinion.

Thanks,
KaJun
 
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