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Regarding question 13 in chapter 6 in the SCPJ book

Jimi Svedenholm
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Joined: May 19, 2001
Posts: 53
Is it just me, or does question 13 in chapter 6 in the SCPJ book assume that one should know that the method setMaximumFractionDigits only applies to the formating and not the parsing? Because I can't see it stated anywhere in the book, except as a comment for the answer to that question. The way I see it, the book doesn't have "100% Coverage" as they claim, if some important information is only to be found in question comments.

/Jimi
Kamil Wojcik
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Joined: May 19, 2008
Posts: 78

The way I see it, the book doesn't have "100% Coverage" as they claim, if some important information is only to be found in question comments.

But the SelfTest is the part of Book ;) so it's covers that setMaximumFractionDigits only applies to the formating and not the parsing. Don't count only on the book, it's covers a lot tricks, but self study is also important.


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Wouter Oet
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Joined: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 2700

Well it is mentioned in the book so the coverage is still good


"Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand." --- Martin Fowler
Please correct my English.
Jimi Svedenholm
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Joined: May 19, 2001
Posts: 53
Kamil Wojcik wrote:
But the SelfTest is the part of Book ;) so it's covers that setMaximumFractionDigits only applies to the formating and not the parsing.


Well, ok, you and Wouter Oet have a point, it *is* mentioned in the book. But the way they present it just irritated the hell out of me. It's like they rubbed my nose in it. Like "As we ALL know, setMaximumFractionDigits only applies to the formating and not the parsing. What? You didn't know that?!" even though it had not been mentioned at all before in the book.


Don't count only on the book, it's covers a lot tricks, but self study is also important.


I know. But the knowledge contained in the book should be enough (apart from the BASIC java knowledge per se) to get 100% on the exam. Theoretically. And they way I see it, one should also, theoretically, be able to get 100% on each and every chapter test, from the information one just has collected from the chapter. So you shouldn't be required to read the answer comments *before* being able to answer a question the first time. Its as if a school teacher would give his students a test were some of the questions require you to know information that has not been mentioned in any lecture and is not in the book. And if the students complain afterwards the teacher can just say "Well, I *did* mention it in the answer comments for the test!" (and of course those answers were not provided until *after* the test).

The self tests should only be an extra guide for you. It should not contain any new information not mentioned before. It should not be *required* to read the self tests in order to collect all necessary information to pass the test with 100%.

Actually, the book says:


By taking the Self Test after completing each chapter, you'll reinforcewhat you learned from that chapter, while becoming familiar with the structure of the exam questions.


The important parts marked in bold. First of, the authors doesn't really consider the Self Tests as a part of the chapters, they are considered to be some kind of appendix almost. Secondly, and even more importantly, they say that the Self Test reinforce what you learned from that chapter. You can't reinforce knowledge that you didn't have before the actual reinforcement.

/Jimi
Kamil Wojcik
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Joined: May 19, 2008
Posts: 78

I really don't get it. In my view book covers all the knowledge you need to pass the SCJP exam. I think You're looking book with gives you all possible questions that can be on the exam, it's impossible! To cover all the possible questions the book should have ~1mln pages. K&B just shows you the way you should go during preparation to the exam.
Jimi Svedenholm
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Joined: May 19, 2001
Posts: 53
Kamil Wojcik wrote:I really don't get it. In my view book covers all the knowledge you need to pass the SCJP exam.


Well, that might be so. But I really think that all of this knowledge should be available even if all the self tests were taken out. The self tests should only be an extra reminder of knowledge already available in the other parts of the book. If the real SCJP test contains questions that relies on knowledge that is only available in the answer comments of the self tests of this book, then I think that is just plain wrong.

I think You're looking book with gives you all possible questions that can be on the exam [...]


No. The opposite, actually. I was "looking for" a book that gives me all the needed knowledge/facts for the exam, even when all the example questions and answers (ie the Self Tests) were taken out. Apparently, this book isn't the one.
Ankit Garg
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Joined: Aug 03, 2008
Posts: 9293
    
  17

Jimi, IMHO you are overreacting. The book didn't just add something to a question and didn't even explain what it is, the explanation is there to make your concepts clear.
Jimi Svedenholm wrote:It's like they rubbed my nose in it. Like "As we ALL know, setMaximumFractionDigits only applies to the formating and not the parsing. What? You didn't know that?!" even though it had not been mentioned at all before in the book.

The book never says what you interpreted. The book never used the work "As we ALL know".
Jimi Svedenholm wrote:the knowledge contained in the book should be enough (apart from the BASIC java knowledge per se) to get 100% on the exam.

No book can guarantee you a 100% score in the exam. And no book can cover enough details that you'll know everything that might be asked in SCJP exam.
Jimi Svedenholm wrote:the book doesn't have "100% Coverage" as they claim, if some important information is only to be found in question comments.

As others said, as it is in the book, it is a part of the "100% coverage" thing, although I don't remember where the authors claim that the book covers 100%. The book covers all the concepts needed for the exam. The book is not meant to be the java documentation. If you read a chapter, then you are free to go through the Docs of the classes covered in the chapter before you attempt the self test...


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Bert Bates
author
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Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8813
    
    5
Hi Jimi,

First off, I'm sorry that this question was upsetting!

I went back thru the chapter, and I agree that we never explicitly said that setMaximumFractionDigits() was only for formatting and not for parsing...

With that said, I'd like to share our perspective on the exam and the book:

As far as the API is concerned, the exam's creator's goal was for candidates to spend time getting to know how to use some of the more commonly used packages and classes (and concepts), in the API. The goal was never to force candidates to memorize a bunch of API trivia.

(This *memorization* topic has always been a bit of a slippery slope. I would contend that the exam creators attempt to enforce memorization ONLY of those language aspects that are used heavily.)


Older versions of the exam had a reputation for being 'tricky'. The newer exams were built to try to avoid 'trickiness'. I would urge you to take the perspective that if a mock question feels 'tricky', it probably points to an area whose fundamentals you might need to reinforce. In other words, the exam creators want you to build for yourself a basic toolkit, and to be able to extrapolate from there. Yet another way of saying this is that, as I reviewed the question in question, I felt that given everything we discussed in the book about parsing and formatting, you could make a pretty safe bet about how to answer that question.

You might argue that "make a safe bet" isn't good enough, but I'd say that that's the spirit of the actual exam. You won't find questions on the exam that rely on inconsistently named methods that require memorization of obscure facts.


In a nutshell, build a toolkit and learn how to use it and extrapolate from it!

hth,

Bert


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