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SCJP motivational problems

J Westland
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 06, 2009
Posts: 40
Hi -

I am getting so fedup studying for the SCJP after still getting scores of 50-60% on the book quizzes after months.

In a way I am unusual as that:
I don't work as a developer
Java is my first programming language had to learn programming from scratch
I learned it using books and with help of colleagues/C++ developer.

So a lot of things in it definitely were not second nature already.
I want to pass SCJP so I can do the SCJD exam. Of course that means writing and learning a lot more, and that is fine.

But the SCJP really starts to annoy me now. I understand the principles now (casting, constructors, Collections etc) and how to use these to write Java programs. I can use the API now and write my own small programs and use them to fix problems (see the project euler site I solved 12 problems there) etc.

But that is not enough I also for some reason need to be able to:

Use command prompt for compiling etc (HELLO? Eclipse, netbeans...)
Memorize a lot of methods (You look these up IRL that's what my colleagues do)

And I really just don't understand WHY I need to know those things, am getting fed-up cramming and a little desperate by now. But I am probably not the only person who has felt that way...so how do you guys keep yourself motivated?

Woohoo passed SCJP 1.6, that's the theory exam passed now for the practice ;)
K. Tsang
Bartender

Joined: Sep 13, 2007
Posts: 2563
    
    9

Well first off, which study guide are you using? Everyone recommends the K&B one.
Based on your current understanding, are there particular areas you feel weak or need more practice eg threading, collections are most people hard hit areas.

It's good that you are writing programs but the goal of such program isn't solving say the Euler project but reinforce the concept you have learned. Eg why overriding works such a way? Or how inner classes can reference outer class variables? It's really exam objective based programming.

For mock exam questions, can you state why such program can't compile for particular reason? Similar for runtime exceptions. The purpose of SCJP is really able to compile and run programs in your head.

Honestly if you really want to learn programming hard-core, use a text editor and compile using the command prompt. However, using eclipse or netbeans is also good because it immediately point out what errors you have. Of course then you should know why and not just let the IDE fix it for you.


K. Tsang JavaRanch SCJP5 SCJD/OCM-JD OCPJP7 OCPWCD5 OCPBCD5
J Westland
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 06, 2009
Posts: 40
Well first off, which study guide are you using? Everyone recommends the K&B one.
>>> That's the one I have for SCJP 1.6

Based on your current understanding, are there particular areas you feel weak or need more practice eg threading, collections are most people hard hit areas.
>>> I have written code for threading, collections etc...I just forget things it seems such as that Calendar does not have a toDate method...things like that.

It's good that you are writing programs but the goal of such program isn't solving say the Euler project but reinforce the concept you have learned. Eg why overriding works such a way? Or how inner classes can reference outer class variables? It's really exam objective based programming.
>>>I wrote lost of little test programs using inner classes etc. I also talked with people WHY things are a certain way how does a Set work, a Linkedmap in memory, why use one or the other etc.
That, for me, is not the problem really, is it seeing how the compiler sees.

For mock exam questions, can you state why such program can't compile for particular reason? Similar for runtime exceptions. The purpose of SCJP is really able to compile and run programs in your head.
>>>That's true be the compiler

Honestly if you really want to learn programming hard-core, use a text editor and compile using the command prompt.
>>>I tried that I find it extremely boring and frustration as I tend to read over typo's etc things take much longer w/o adding much understanding. But maybe I will have no choice.

However, using eclipse or netbeans is also good because it immediately point out what errors you have. Of course then you should know why and not just let the IDE fix it for you.
>>>It's usually small things like typo, forgot an import. Exception too but those I fix myself
K. Tsang
Bartender

Joined: Sep 13, 2007
Posts: 2563
    
    9

Having the K&B book should be enough. Practice makes perfect.

What mocks or simulations are you using? Usually for most (eg Whizlab) tends to be harder than the real exam. If you consistently get like 60% range then is time a factor? or you aren't sure what the question is asking.

I took the SCJP like 3 times to pass back then. The first time failed miserably worst than i expected. The 2nd time failed by like 2-3 questions and the third time the charm. I waited like a year between first and second attempt. But since you are "coding" so it comes down to confidence and familiarity with the question types.

If you have time to code, try those Cattle Drive assignments. I did those on my own without paying
S Ali
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 23, 2009
Posts: 129
you are just like me ,I've been preparing for say 4 months now and still getting low marks in mocks. Now as I should be revising everything and getting it all together I am badly loosing motivation. I cant sit still for more than 30 minutes on my PC .


SCJP 6
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18914
    
  40

J Westland wrote:
I am getting so fedup studying for the SCJP after still getting scores of 50-60% on the book quizzes after months.

In a way I am unusual as that:
I don't work as a developer
Java is my first programming language had to learn programming from scratch
I learned it using books and with help of colleagues/C++ developer.



Question... is your goal to pass the SCJP test? or is there a larger goal of being a professional developer?

If it is the later, I really recommend that you get some projects under your belt. Pick something that you are interested in, and develop something for it. The reason is, if you get lucky and pass the test ... if you don't actually use the skill, you will lose it. After a while, you will forget stuff, and all the SCJP will be, is a piece of paper that states that at one point you knew enough Java to pass a test.


J Westland wrote:
Use command prompt for compiling etc (HELLO? Eclipse, netbeans...)
Memorize a lot of methods (You look these up IRL that's what my colleagues do)

And I really just don't understand WHY I need to know those things, am getting fed-up cramming and a little desperate by now. But I am probably not the only person who has felt that way...so how do you guys keep yourself motivated?


Sometimes, you don't get to choose the environment. Eclipse and NetBeans is nice in the ivory tower, but what if you have to go on site (maybe to gather data), wouldn't it be good to do a quick change, compile, and test? Or even be able to run simple Java programs to test stuff? It's kinda embarrassing to be a Java developer, who can't use a basic compiler, right?

As for memorizing stuff, I am not a fan of that either... in fact, this may not be the intent of the test. I believe the goal is to test how much of the API, that you know, because someone with more experience tend to know more of the API by heart. The problem is someone with no experience can take the memorization route to know the API too. Oh well, hopefully, the new SCJP will fix this issue.

Henry


Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
Ernesto Elias-Nieland
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 01, 2005
Posts: 53

Of course memorizing a bunch of methods can be very frustrating and also time consuming.
However, in real life this will make you much faster and effective than looking up every second command in the javadoc. I am programming for a long time and since I know tons of commands with their signature and also know exactly what they do, I am just ten times faster than other people I know that have to look up everything.
The same is the case for these syntax trick questions of the SCJP. If you see on the first glance what is wrong with some code you do not have to go through the build and deploy circle, which can take a couple of minutes even with Eclipse. While other people build ten times a good programmer builds maybe only twice. In my current project a full build and deploy takes about 15 minutes. So you see that you save a lot of time if you can handle most errors of your code by simply looking at it.

Cheers,
Ernie

0x2B | ~0x2B
SCJD, SCJP 1.5, SCJP 1.4, SCBCD 1.3, SCWCD 1.4, SCJA, IBM Test 150, 142, 700, 701, Oracle Test 1Z0-51
Deepak Bala
Bartender

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6662
    
    5

Well dont give up. Give it your best shot. Mock exams are meant to be hard and restrict your score. I found the real exam a little easier than the mock exam. Good luck


SCJP 6 articles - SCJP 5/6 mock exams - More SCJP Mocks
Harsh Pensi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 05, 2009
Posts: 67
J Westland wrote:
I am getting so fedup studying for the SCJP after still getting scores of 50-60% on the book quizzes after months.


Give the main exam now, will ya!


SCJP6 - 93% SCWCD5 - 97%
Fritz Guerilus
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 20, 2009
Posts: 65
Henry Wong wrote:
J Westland wrote:
I am getting so fedup studying for the SCJP after still getting scores of 50-60% on the book quizzes after months.

In a way I am unusual as that:
I don't work as a developer
Java is my first programming language had to learn programming from scratch
I learned it using books and with help of colleagues/C++ developer.



Question... is your goal to pass the SCJP test? or is there a larger goal of being a professional developer?

If it is the later, I really recommend that you get some projects under your belt. Pick something that you are interested in, and develop something for it. The reason is, if you get lucky and pass the test ... if you don't actually use the skill, you will lose it. After a while, you will forget stuff, and all the SCJP will be, is a piece of paper that states that at one point you knew enough Java to pass a test.


J Westland,
Henry is right, find a project and work on it.
I'm on a similar boat as you are and studying for this exam is both stressful and fustrating, not to mention boring.
You don't necessary need to pass or ace all of the mock exams before you can take the real exam.
My source of motivation is a career change to being a professional developer.
I view this exam as the 1st step to a rewarding career.
Don't rush, take a break, and find a project that can be fun and enjoyable.


SCJP 6.0
J Westland
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 06, 2009
Posts: 40
@K. Tsang I do have a free retry...so I could risking taking the exam now.
@Henry: The idea is indeed to learn for a possible career change, the job market where I am is quite limited. Also, in programming there's always new things to learn
You're right at a site you might have to use the command prompt. Yay!
@Ernesto Elias-Nieland I totally agree it helps with reading code and spotting errors faster I already noticed that. As for methods I tend to remember them better when I code something and look them up, had to learn BigInteger for example to solve a problem and now I remember how it works, just like Iterator.
@Harsh Pensi haha you say just go for it?
@Fritz Guerilus might start doing a darts program soon, I saw people using a program to keep scores but you could not correct scores or save them etc...well something like that I can do.

Well thanks for all the kind replies I'll struggle on. Yesterday 50% again waaaaaah! So much details to remember ;)
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8875
    
    5
Hi Guys,

Here are some of the principles that the exam creators used when writing the questions for the actual exam:

1 - Don't make candidates memorize trivial methods.

I can't speak for the mock exams I didn't write, but I can say that on the real exam, the methods you need to know are really the core methods of the most commonly used classes. The methods we test for are the 80/20 methods - the few methods in every class that get used the most. If you compare the methods we talk about in K & B against the methods in the API you'll see that we almost never list all of the API methods in the book. If you think about why we talk about the methods we talk about and skip the ones we skip, my guess is that you'll have a good understanding of the class itself.

2 - Make sure the candidates can use the command line.

When the exam is created, every question is written and tested without the use of an IDE. When we work on K & B, the same is true. It's really important to know what's going on 'under the covers'. It's very important to know what the IDE is doing for you!

3 - Don't make candidates find trivial syntax errors.

For instance, on the real exam we won't leave out a semicolon randomly. (But we might leave one out for unusual examples like with inner classes.)

I guess in summary, the exam creators had a certain 'spirit' in mind. The 'spirit' of the exam is that if you pass the exam you'll have demonstrated a solid understanding of the language's core ideas and how the language's most common API packages are used. Not trivia, just the good stuff.

hth,

Bert

hth,

Bert


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

Joined: Jun 26, 2009
Posts: 11
J Westland wrote:Hi -

I am getting so fedup studying for the SCJP after still getting scores of 50-60% on the book quizzes after months.

In a way I am unusual as that:
I don't work as a developer
Java is my first programming language had to learn programming from scratch
I learned it using books and with help of colleagues/C++ developer.

So a lot of things in it definitely were not second nature already.
I want to pass SCJP so I can do the SCJD exam. Of course that means writing and learning a lot more, and that is fine.

But the SCJP really starts to annoy me now. I understand the principles now (casting, constructors, Collections etc) and how to use these to write Java programs. I can use the API now and write my own small programs and use them to fix problems (see the project euler site I solved 12 problems there) etc.

But that is not enough I also for some reason need to be able to:

Use command prompt for compiling etc (HELLO? Eclipse, netbeans...)
Memorize a lot of methods (You look these up IRL that's what my colleagues do)

And I really just don't understand WHY I need to know those things, am getting fed-up cramming and a little desperate by now. But I am probably not the only person who has felt that way...so how do you guys keep yourself motivated?


I'm suffering the same problems too. I failed the 1st take and still preparing for the 2nd take. it's been 8 months now since I started to put my time and effort into nailing this exam. It really is frustrating.. Good thing I print and post a big motivational words in my wall saying "If Winning Was Easy then Everyone Would Do It" and that what keeps me going
Jonathon Stride
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 06, 2009
Posts: 34
im having similar problems too lol
after reading K&B like 3times now still not sure whether i wont waste my 5k XD
some mocks i can get 80-90% and others like ExamLab like 50% or so


2 interviews failed cause of not having SCJP ( and counting...)
not anymore !

SCJP 6 (70%)

now ready to count other reasons :P...
Dave Brown
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 08, 2005
Posts: 301
I'm trying my best right now to get the SCJP also, in fact to be honest I bought a SCJP 1.4 book years ago, only to be replaced years after by the 1.5 book and kept trying to commit the time to going through learning everything to do the exams, but whenever I'd attempt a mock exam, or even the cattle drive I was a little disheartened how poorly I'd fair.. But on the other hand I would too easily get drawn away from 'quality' studying time and work commitments would take over leaving the book back on the shelf for a day, then a week, then months... Then I'd try again.

This time however, I'm not looking at the book in it's large form and thinking I have to go through from start to finish rather I've been working in one particular chapter, and really trying a few things out in my IDE at the same time. Whilst also taking the mock exams, 10 questions at a time, seeing which bits I'm weakest at and reverting to the book to look at those areas. For me this way of working really seems to be paying off, doing it chunk by chunk. Concepts are finally starting to really sink in and I'm now better able to 'spot' those little quirks in the code that will cause compiler errors.

So that's lifted my confidence now and I do feel better and want to book an exam before too long.

I think if you concentrate on the area's you're failing in, and do little tests like I did, at 10 questions at a time.. You will quickly improve your weaker areas and your scores will creep up.. and as soon as you see that, you're confidence will return.

There's nothing worse than trying to study something when you feel demotivated and up against a mammoth task.


Regards, Dave Brown
SCJP 6 - [url]http://www.dbws.net/[/url] - Check out Grails Forum
Petar Thomas
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 11, 2009
Posts: 234
Maybe...
try to separate understandment from programming.
stop whenever you can at the most stupid thing, allmost not important which one, and think about it in depth.
That's what i s most important to irationally spend way too much time thinking about unimportant things.
But the most important is
to stay concentrated on it,
on the most unimportant thing.

Then... when you learn how to loose youre time,
the next step is to learn
how to loose it with a style



Harsh Pensi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 05, 2009
Posts: 67
J Westland wrote:
@Harsh Pensi haha you say just go for it?

Yes definitely. And even more positively since you've got a free retry.
Here in India we dont get a free retake. I wonder why that is so.
Prithvi Sehgal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 13, 2009
Posts: 774
Hello,

Followed this thread completely. I started reading K&B for preparing SCJP and give the exam and thats when i got the most
horrible accident my life and was completely on bed for an year now. I am back on my toes somehow. I am low in strength though,
but i have this mission in mind to accomplish SCJP and SCWCD within two weeks gap. I will take full 2 months to prepare for the
exams and appear for SCJP and after two weeks SCWCD. I have already bought the vouchers for the two exams. I know many of
the ranchers will say, its foolish to step into two boats and appear but i need this moral boast to gain my self confidence i suppose.
I have a lot of frustation when i can't think properly because of my accident. I can't concentrate properly. I have lost that edge to
think like a good programmer. I am still surviving and have that urge to get back into market. I think so, possible with the fellow
ranchers and this forum and strong will, we all can make it happen together.

We all can do one thing, read K&B chapter, revisit the concepts, then pick up Sun's tutorial, understand it. Solve the mock related
to every exam objective and then once we feel comfortable, hit the master exam. I have this theory in mind, still not sure though.
Lets see. Anyhow best of luck guys and lets make it happen. As it is rightly said

Trust that still, small voice that says, "This might work and I'll try it."
Mariechild, Diane

Cheers,
Prithvi


Prithvi,
My Blog, Follow me on Twitter,Scjp Tips, When you score low in mocks, Generics,Scjp Notes, JavaStudyGroup
J Westland
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 06, 2009
Posts: 40
@Prithvi:

Real sorry to hear that, hope you will pass your exams
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
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