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Passed SCJA with 94%

Rob Poulos
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 21, 2009
Posts: 49
Oddly enough i am a bit disappointed because the subjects i knew the most about i scored the worst on. I wish there was a way for me to go back and see which ones i got wrong. oh well.

Overall Score: 94% (48 of 51 scored correctly)

Section Analysis

Fundamental Object-Oriented Concepts.........................100%
UML Representation of Object-Oriented Concepts...........66%
Java Implementation of Object-Oriented Concepts..........87%
Algorithm Design and Implementation............................100%
Java Development Fundamentals...................................100%
Java Platforms and Integration Technologies.................100%
Client Technologies........................................................100%
Server Technologies.......................................................100%

Personal Background
I dropped out of college after my freshman year (Computer Science) to pursue my career in IT. I have been working in the IT field now for about 10 years and am currently the Supervisor of Computer Operations for a large health care company. My previous development experience includes perl, shell, and VERY entry level VB and C++ but never worked as an actual developer.

Preparation
In 2006 i attended the Object-Oriented Analysis and Design Using UML (OO-226) bootcamp course provided by Sun. This course didnt come with anything extra and I really only took it because my manager suggested i learn about UML. At this point in time i had no interest in obtaining my SCJA but in the long run it helped out. for the purposes of the SCJA exam you dont really need to take this class. the UML document provided on this site is sufficient

In December of 2008 i atteneded the Fundamentals of the Java Programming Language (SL-110-SE6) bootcamp course provided by Sun. This course came packaged with 3 free mock exams and a free exam voucher which was set to expire in December of 2009. A fair warning to all, even though this class comes packaged (PK-CSPJ-IL1) with mock tests and an exam voucher it doesnt come anywhere close to teaching what you need to know. I was going to schedule my test for right after the class but after taking the mock exams and doing some research about the test i quickly learned that i more studying to do.

My initial method for studying was to do a cold run of the mock exams and take note of everything i didnt know. Once i compiled a list (which was about 3 pages worth) i went through it one technology at a time, researched, and logged all the important information (read: googled). I studied like this off and on from December till about July. So for instance, at the time i really knew nothing about Servlets. So i googled Servlets which led me to java tutorials, developer blogs, etc... This method of studying however overloaded me with information that did not pertain to the scope of SCJA.

So around August i decided to get my butt into gear and start really studying for the test. The first thing i did was to schedule the test for the furthest possible date. Prometric will only schedule you out a maximum of 2 months. so 2 months it was. This gave me the motivation i needed. I began looking for discussion forums relating to SCJA and this is how i fell up Java Ranch. I followed a lot of suggestions for preparation on the site and ordered Cameron McKenzie's SCJA Study Guide and SCJA Mock Exam Questions. I highly suggest ordering both books as they will prep you for ANY scenario. The Mock Exam Question book not only tests your knowledge of Java but also clues you into the games that are played on the actual SCJA exam, for example: for(i=0; k<10; i++) . On average i probably studied 4 days a week, 3 to 4 hours per day over the 2 month period.

I read through Cameron's study guide once, taking lots of notes. I then went through his Mock exam book once. My average scores was around 80%. From this i determined my weak points and studied up on them. about 2 days before the exam i ran through the Mock Exam book again. this time scoring an average of 95% on all the questions. I followed that up by taking the 3 mock exams provided by Sun and i scored in the 90's on those as well. . A this point i knew i was ready for the test.

The Test
My test was schedule for 2PM on Saturday. I arrived at the testing facility (Prometric) about 1.5 hours early so i had some time to sit in my car and do some last minute studying. I checked in at 1:15 and they gave me the option to wait till 2PM or take the test early. I obviously chose to take the test early and get it over with. The provided me with a calculator, 2 dry erase boards, markers, an eraser, and a pair of noise cancelling head phones. There was about 10 people in the room taking other tests and the room was set up in typical office cubical fashion.

I logged in and began the test. Right away i thought i was in trouble. The first few questions used such twisted wording that i became scared i wasnt going to pass. There was a button at the bottom of the screen that i could use as my personal notepad. I followed the suggestion that someone else on here made, and that was to note which answers were incorrect and why. This gets you thinking about what the question is really asking and can narrow down the correct answer for you. I think this is what really saved me. All multiple choice questions will tell you how many you need to select so this helps. Single choice questions only allow you to chose 1 option via radio button. When you have finished the 51 questions you will see and overview screen which will display your letter choice for all 51 questions. It will highlight which ones you have marked for review and which questions you did not answer. At this point i went back through the test and made sure i select the right amount of answers for each question. Then i went back through the test slowly and re-read the questions along with my comments to ensure i had the correct answer. By doing this i had found 2 or 3 mistakes that would have cost me additional points. I clicked End and that was what.


and thats really it. One thing i HAVE to clue everyone in on is the fact that variable/class names used in the actual exam are rediculous. When reading Cameron's books i was under the impressions that the Sun Exam would relate its questions to real world examples and use real world variable names, for example: public class QuantumPhysics extends Science{}... ooooooh no. I was sadly mistaken and probably should have known better. instead i was confronted with something like public class Xy extends Yx{}. This got extremely confusing when dealing with a bunch of code that looked like this.

Suggestions and Notes
During the test, convert the confusing class/variable names into something that makes sense to you. instead of Xy -> Yx write as Veyron -> Car.
Run through the test 3 times; first to answer questions and take notes, second to ensure you selected the correct amount of options, and third to re-rewiew in detail the questions and the answers you choose. you will have plenty of time to do this.
When taking notes, start by writing which answers are wrong and WHY. WHY is the most important part here.
Arrive at the testing facility early so you can do some last minute studying
Dont drink a Venti Quad Iced Mocha from Starbucks before the exam. I was nervous as hell when i started the test and the espresso sent my nerves into overdrive
Purchase Cameron's SCJA books. I attribute at least 50% of my success to those books.
Take as many mock exams as you can and log what answers you got wrong. Study what you dont know.
Taking a mock exam over and over again gives you a false sense of knowledge. beware. you may only score a 90% on a particular mock exam because you've seen the question 3 times already. its a whole different ball game when given a fresh set of questions.
Stay away from Wizlabs and Ucertify. They are laced with mistakes and questions geared for SCJP, not SCJA.

References
Oliver Chua's SCJA Reviewer: http://www.jroller.com/oliverchua/entry/scja_reviewer_fundamental_object_oriented
Java Abstract Classes FAQ: http://www.codestyle.org/java/faq-Abstract.shtml
SCJA Tips: http://www.javabeat.net/qna/699-scja-tips/
More SCJA Tips/Links: http://celikalper.wordpress.com/scja-sun-certified-java-associate-study-guide/
Tiers: http://www.coderanch.com/t/156082/Architect-Certification-SCEA/certification/SCEA-Multitier-architecture-vs-Three
Tiers again: http://www.information-management.com/infodirect/20050225/1020766-1.html
UML: http://dogangokhan.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/uml_gokhanscja.pdf
Sun's Java Tutorials: http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/




If i can think of anything else i will update this post. I have a few links saved on my work PC that i will add on monday.

Thank you all! I am going for my ITIL certification Oct26th and then AIX training Nov 2nd. After that i think i am going to get A+ certified which shouldn't be too hard. then i might set my sights on SCJP. I think i need a little more real world experience before i can delve into that though. Warning to all: Getting certified can become and addiction.






SCJA, ITIL V3 Foudation, Studying for SCJP6
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
author and cow tipper
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 26, 2006
Posts: 4968
    
    1

Wow! What a GREAT review! We haven't seen a detailed analysis like that in this forum for a long time. Thanks so much for putting so much time and effort into putting that together.

And I'm so glad my books could play a small part in your success. I'm always so happy when someone uses my materials to get such a killer score.

And I agree with you on the UCertify and Whizlabs stuff. They go beyond SCJA, and tend to really scare people before the exam. There's nothing wrong with learning too much, but you always want to stay focussed on the prize.

Bugatti -> Car.


I think you meant to say:

Viper -> Car


Congratulations! You're going to go far in this industry.

-Cameron McKenzie
Rob Poulos
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 21, 2009
Posts: 49
Thank you Cameron for the kind words


Cameron Wallace McKenzie wrote:
Bugatti -> Car.


I think you meant to say:

Viper -> Car


you are correct. i modified the original...
Vijitha Kumara
Bartender

Joined: Mar 24, 2008
Posts: 3860

Congratulations


SCJP 5 | SCWCD 5
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Yasin Kothia
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 25, 2009
Posts: 39
Congrats

Excellent review, appreciate you spending time writing this so others like me, can gain knowledge from your experience.

I'm hoping to the SCJA soon, this helped a lot.
Prashanth Nellutla
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 08, 2009
Posts: 8
Hi Rob,
Congrats, great score. Thanks a lot for sharing your experience. Looking forward for your links.

Rob Poulos
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 21, 2009
Posts: 49
Thank you all for the kind words. I have updated the original post with the links i used while preparing for the SCJA test. Obviously there were a whole slew of google searches i did not include. but that should be enough information to keep you busy for a while
Sharma Ritu
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 25, 2007
Posts: 261
Congratulations!

Java Certification Exam Mock Tests

SCJA  SCJP 5.0  SCJP 6.0  SCJP 6.0 (Online Training)  SCJP 6.0 Instructor Led Training)   SCWCD 5   SCBCD 5.0  SCEA 5

Roberto Perillo
Bartender

Joined: Dec 28, 2007
Posts: 2268
    
    3

Congrats, Rob!


Cheers, Bob "John Lennon" Perillo
SCJP, SCWCD, SCJD, SCBCD - Daileon: A Tool for Enabling Domain Annotations
Chintan B Shah
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 23, 2008
Posts: 83
Congratulations!!

Best regards,
Chintan


SCJA 1.0
Roberto Perillo
Bartender

Joined: Dec 28, 2007
Posts: 2268
    
    3

Congratulations, champion!
Joe Harry
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 26, 2006
Posts: 9622
    
    2

Congrats!


SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.4 - Hints for you, Certified Scrum Master
Did a rm -R / to find out that I lost my entire Linux installation!
Paul Anilprem
Enthuware Software Support
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 23, 2000
Posts: 3336
    
    8
Congratulations!!!


Enthuware - Best Mock Exams and Questions for Oracle/Sun Java Certifications
Quality Guaranteed - Pass or Full Refund!
Jessica Ngui
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 24, 2004
Posts: 57
Hi Rob, Congrats on the *great* score!


http://www.jessicajournal.com/
Glen McAfee
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 28, 2009
Posts: 1
Rob, you mentioned that the 3 day Sun course didn't really prepare you for what was on the test. So, in your opinion, is the Sun training (whether web based or classroom) worth the investment? or would you just recommend book study & mock testing prior to taking the exam?


Glen M
"Testing is the unregulated art of evaluating the invisible against the ambiguous so as to avoid the unthinkable." author unknown
Seetharaman Venkatasamy
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 28, 2008
Posts: 5575

Good post . Congratulations
Rob Poulos
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 21, 2009
Posts: 49
Glen McAfee wrote:Rob, you mentioned that the 3 day Sun course didn't really prepare you for what was on the test. So, in your opinion, is the Sun training (whether web based or classroom) worth the investment? or would you just recommend book study & mock testing prior to taking the exam?


If you are paying for it? No, get Head First Java and both of Cameron's books to prepare

If your company is paying for it? why not, go for it! . but in addition to this class you will still need additional study aids in order for you to pass the test.

the Fundamentals course i took back in 2008 was a 5 day bootcamp course and really only covered the absolute basics. "Hello World" if you will. doesnt even hint at RMI, EJB's, etc...

Oh, and I passed that ITIL V3 Foundation course yesterday with a 95%! I'm on a roll!

and thank you all for your kind words... I cant wait to start the training/studying for the SCJP. I have to find some place in my current work environment or maybe a personal project where i can begin coding frequently

I've seen a lot of people asking what you get once you pass the SCJA. My packet came last week, roughly 2 weeks after passing the test. In the package was my certificate (which does NOT display your score), a congratulations letter, and a plastic card the size of a credit card which states "Sun Certified Professional" on the front with your name, what your certified in "Sun Certified Associate for the Java Platform, Standard Edition", the date in which you passed the exam, and the signature of VP/CLO of Sun.
Chintan B Shah
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 23, 2008
Posts: 83
and a plastic card the size of a credit card which states "Sun Certified Professional" on the front with your name, what your certified in "Sun Certified Associate for the Java Platform, Standard Edition", the date in which you passed the exam, and the signature of VP/CLO of Sun.


Interesting, I did not receive this. I gave SAI version of SCJA. I am going to email them and ask.


Thanks
Chintan.
Santiago Bravo
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 25, 2008
Posts: 226
congrats


Santiago
My Path to SCJP Certification My Path to SCWCD Certification
Chintan B Shah
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 23, 2008
Posts: 83
Just an FYI, here's answer from SUN

However, when taking the exam at the discounted price, you do not receive the lapel pin, logo, and the wallet card. These items do not prove your certification status, they are extras. Your certification status is verified by publishing your certification status through the Sun CertManager website at http://www.certmanager.net/sun; or an employer or other party may verify your certification status by emailing us at who2contact@sun.com.


So, anyone giving SAI version of SCJA..wont be getting logo, wallet card and pin.

Thanks
Chintan.
Sharmila Punde
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 26, 2007
Posts: 133
Congratulations Rob,
You scored very well. And thank you very much for such detail information on how you prepared. That will help me.
Regards



Regards, Sharmila.
We will have a future if we save Nature!
S Sandy
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 14, 2006
Posts: 18
Thank You Rob for the great details that you mentioned. It's an enormous help for anyone planning to give the SCJA certification. Well, atleast for me
Congratulations on your achievement - SCJA, ITIL
Wishing you all the best for SCJP

Take Care


ITIL V3 Foundation, OCUP Foundation, IBM Certified SOA Associate, IBM.Certified.Solution.D'signer, SCSA, SCJA, SCJP6 & now thinking abt going for SCWCD
James Elsey
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 21, 2007
Posts: 228

Fantastic write-up Rob,

Congrats


Kind Regards, James. OCPJP 1.6 || My SCJP / OCJCP Study Notes
Interested in : SCJP, Google App Engine, Stripes, Android;|| My Bite-Size SCJP Study Blog
S Sandy
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 14, 2006
Posts: 18
Once again Rob, thank you very much for the information that you provided.
It was a great analysis that you put up here. All the references that you provided have been of enormous help to me for my exams.
In fact, the write up, the references, not to forget your experience, were of great assistance and helped me to pass the SCJA exam with flying colors.
Thank you

I passed my SCJA exam yesterday with 96% marks (just missed out on 2 questions ). Like you said, I wish I could go back and solve them too

Take Care.

God Bless.

-Sandy
Rob Poulos
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 21, 2009
Posts: 49
Sandy Shetty wrote:Once again Rob, thank you very much for the information that you provided.
It was a great analysis that you put up here. All the references that you provided have been of enormous help to me for my exams.
In fact, the write up, the references, not to forget your experience, were of great assistance and helped me to pass the SCJA exam with flying colors.
Thank you

I passed my SCJA exam yesterday with 96% marks (just missed out on 2 questions ). Like you said, I wish I could go back and solve them too

Take Care.

God Bless.

-Sandy


Sandy,

I am super excited for you and thrilled that my write up played a part in your excellent score!

EDIT: Nevermind the sticky post... i just noticed that this post was moved from the SCJA forum. If stickied, it should go there
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
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