A couple of days ago I finally took my SCJA exam and got 90%. Well, the feelings are kinda bitter-sweet, because I know I could do better, but hey, for a guy who's totally new to IT, never done any programming in his life and taught Java himself, maybe it's not too bad.
A couple of things that might help somebody.
To learn Java and study for the exam I just used 3 things:
1) Head First Java. Man, this book is a jewel. No kidding. I cannot tell you how cool, fun and easy to understand this book is. If you're a Java beginner like myself this one is an absolute must. Hats off to the authors!
2) Two Cameron's SCJA books (theory and questions). More on those later.
3) Practice test from sun.com.
I read many people's testimonies here, and lots of guys used the whole bunch of materials to get ready for the exam, but I'm telling you, those 3 things contain enough information for you to pass with a pretty good, if not perfect, score (well, Head First Java is teaching Java first of all, not SCJA exam stuff, so if you're a Java pro - just the 2nd and 3rd options for you). After taking the exam I checked out some UML pdf's and other stuff other people said they used, but I couldn't find anything in there that's not covered in Cameron's book.
Speaking of UML, there was one question on the exam, that had a UML diagram I've never seen before, maybe it had an error or something, but it looked totally new to me, so answering that one I just guessed. It wasn't in HFJ or Cameron's guide, but it wasn't in those other UML guides I checked later either.
About the exam length. I know that some people are concerned if they will have enough time, and let me tell you, yes you will. If you've been studying enough and feel confident, you can be done with the whole thing in one hour or less. I took A LOT of time answering each question and still had about 35 out of 115 minutes left.
Here's something else to consider. You know how they tell you, drink a lot of water, it'll help your brain work better. Well, do that at your own risk. Exam is pretty long, you know...) Maybe I drank too much, but man, I literally had to leave as soon as I finished with all the questions without even double-checking my answers, still having 30+ minutes left)) Never happened to me before by the way, Java stuff does work miracles)
And finally, a couple of words about Cameron's books. Man, never in my life I've seen a book with that amount of grammatical mistakes! As well as stuff like
a) some answer
b) some answer
c) some answer
d) some answer
Answer c) is correct.
You can tell, hey, it's a technical book and it doesn't bother me if it has a couple of miss-spelled words, and probably you're right. But wait, there's more. There's some false info in the book as well that actually cost me a couple of points on the exam. And in case you're wondering what I'm talking about - yes, javac -version DOES work, and it doesn't matter if the book clearly says it doesn't. Don't get me wrong here, I still think the book is great and would recommend it to anybody studying for the exam, thanks to it I got dozens of questions right, but just be thorough with it, take your time, write some code to see how the stuff it's talking about really works. Besides, coding examples will help you remember everything much better.
Well, that's pretty much it, hope somebody will find this info helpful.