This week's book giveaway is in the OO, Patterns, UML and Refactoring forum. We're giving away four copies of Refactoring for Software Design Smells: Managing Technical Debt and have Girish Suryanarayana, Ganesh Samarthyam & Tushar Sharma on-line! See this thread for details.
I passed the test with 67% in Sydney/AUS today. I didn't get a good score because I underestimated it. It is tough, although everyone is saying it, I just want to say it again. If you haven't taken the exam yet, please be prepared. In my case the toughness can be interpreted in two aspects. Firstly there are quite a few questions that I was just now sure. Secondly I was confident with most of the questions and the mark was much lower than I expected. (which means I probably have made a lot mistakes in those 'confident' questions)
I'm a Chinese so I had to do a lot of exams during primary and high school. I'm like some other Chinese who think we are good at exams(which is actually wrong). This is one reason that I underestimated it. I accidently received some good scores in my previous certification test which also makes me think it's not as hard as people described.
I've seen some people saying high level understanding of some technologies (such as JSF) would be enough. I think it is enough for passing. However if you want to get 85%+ you just have to have detailed understanding(or lots of real experience) of them. I have about 4 years J2EE experience. I've never used JSF and EJB 3 as the company I worked for never had a clear plan to upgrade.
Design patterns (both classic patterns and the enterprise patters) are really really important. I'm lucky that I realised it when reading other people's experience. For any one who is going to this test, you'll never regret if you spent lots of time on design patterns. You should be knowing every single patterns (23 classic + 21 enterprise). A good practice I did was writing down every patterns(without looking the book) on a piece of paper and try to think of their pros & cons.
There are some patterns that I've never used (or even known) before preparing for this exam. I think they are definitely worth to be known. I guess some of you are like me, who bought the GoF book long time ago but never went through the pattern catalog. This is another reason I highlight the design patterns.
Studying JSF and EJB3 properly if you don't have or have few experience with them. Make simple application using JSF and EJB3. That will definitely secure you some questions.
The mark of my security section is quite low (33%) and I thought I did well in security. This is quite annoying. I found it's quite normal to get surprised after taking SCEA part 1. So if you want to get 70%, you must feel like you are going to get 85%.
I did find some questions very similar to those in mock exam. When you're doing mock exam please don't assume the provided answer is correct. Use your knowledge to judge.
It is a tough exam and I think basically does its job - qualifying a Java EE architect. However I don't think certain questions in the exam are as good as others. It must be very hard to create those questions so I don't complain.
Good luck to everyone else who's going to take this exam.