This week's book giveaway is in the OCAJP 8 forum. We're giving away four copies of OCA Java SE 8 Programmer I Study Guide and have Edward Finegan & Robert Liguori on-line! See this thread for details.
Just getting started on my SCJP and want to stay focussed
There are so many books, materials , pointers , mocks available , ,
Could you please help me put just the very very basic material that MUST be thoroughly read
1. Kathy Siera and Bert Bates SCJP
2. Headfirst Java
What material and plan of action you need really depends on your familiarity and experience in Java. The following steps should give you a general idea -
Step 1. Get a general java book - If you are an absolute beginner, this step is a must for developing a strong base. I am not sure how current is "Thinking in Java by Bruce Eckel" now, but it is a really great book for this purpose. It is free.
Step 2. Get a book specially written for SCJP - If you are somewhat experienced (say 2-3 yrs), this step is a must to iron out the kinks in your fundamental java concepts that are important for the exam. Head First SCJP is fine and so is the one by Khalid Mughal.
Step 3. Attempt a lot of mock exams. This step is a must for jumping from a pass score to a 90%+ score. If you have time to search, there are tons of free mock exams available. Which ones are absolutely essential is a tough question because you probably won't find a single one that covers everything that is required. If you are short on time, use a commercial one. This will ensure that you have covered everything. You score on a commercial simulator will give you a very sensible picture about your preparation. If you are well experienced in Java, about a week on a good commercial simulator is all you need to get a good score on SCJP.
I cleared SCJP 6 a few days ago with 95%. I read kathie siera for this. I got one Mock exams CD with this book. Book is really very good,it focuses on exam objectives and also provides you with on the job suggestions.