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Passed SCJP by the skin of my teeth

Larry Chung
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 02, 2010
Posts: 247
For those who are unfamiliar with the American expression, "by the skin of my teeth", I passed the SCJP by a thin margin.

My story: I programmed in Java for 10 years and then became a Java 1.4 instructor in the recent two years. Then I started working on learning Java 6 in order to stay current and marketable. As a great study aid, I signed up for membership to JavaRanch where I got reliable Java 6 tips and great practice with reading Java 6 coding problems posted by members. There, I was encouraged to take the SCJP exam. As an incentive, I decided to register and make today as my SCJP exam date. (I have big projects coming up in April anyway and can't drag on the study period for too long a time). Nothing prepared me for the eye-opening SCJP exam questions that have the kind of Java code not commonly used in application development. Working those exam questions is like trying Java programming with my IDE tied behind my back.

My Java workout: Actually, K&B and ExamLab prepared me a great deal for the SCJP exam. If I am allowed only two resources for exam preparation, they would be what I would choose. I did not and could not have time to read the entire K&B book even once (congrats to some candidates who read it twice or more). Instead I read all the "Exam Watch" text in the book several times. Also, I took the self-tests in K&B, trying to spend not more than 1 minute per question. For real test-taking practice, ExamLab is the best. ExamLab's purpose is not to teach the arcane points of Java, although it does. ExamLab is like the gym exercise equipment that Olympic athletes use because it toughens up your brain if you try working 72 very hard Java questions in less than 3 hours. I had time only to do ExamLab's diagnostic exam and two practice exams yet I found that I improved my focus and speed each time.

I can confirm what other members have suggested. Your actual SCJP exam score will 20 to 30 points higher than your ExamLab scores. For example, if you consistently get 45% on ExamLab, you have a good chance of getting 65% to 75% on Sun's exam, which are passing grades.

One supreme bit of advice. Be sure to get to sleep early in the several nights before the exam. I've been staying up very late working ever since Daylight Saving Time started (in USA). Then I couldn't sleep well on the last night before the exam because of the excitement and felt very tired during the three hours.

Well anyway, I did not get a perfect 100% but I'm proud that I passed. So, please don't ask my score, because I won't tell.


SCJP 6
Deepak Bala
Bartender

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6662
    
    5

Congrats !


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Anupam Jain
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 16, 2010
Posts: 61

congratulations Larry

however, In my personal opinion the exam wasn't very tough. Though I didn't get 100%, still I can say that the exam wasn't very tough... 'cause I didn't do any exhaustive preparations... (reading books 2-3 times etc.). What I think is that there are a number of versions for the exam... some tougher than the others... so its a matter of luck.... (and I had a good day probably... ) Sun may say that the exam difficulty is same for every candidate... but I haven't found it to be like that with my SCJP friends too...


SCJP-6.0 OCPJWCD-5.0
Prithvi Sehgal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 13, 2009
Posts: 774
Congrats Larry. A great way to describe your story for becoming SCJP.

Good luck mate.

Best Regards,


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

Joined: Mar 09, 2010
Posts: 256
Congrats
Devaka Cooray
ExamLab Creator
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jul 29, 2008
Posts: 3219
    
  49

Congratulations Larry,
Glad to know that ExamLab helped.


Author of ExamLab ExamLab - a free SCJP / OCPJP exam simulator
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Simran Dass
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 09, 2010
Posts: 183


Congrats !!
Stefan Ernst
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 22, 2010
Posts: 11
I had 44% in the exam lab final exam, this morning I made 81% in the SCJP exam. So examlab isnt exactly a good indicator for the actual result in the SCJP exam. While I had 0% in ExamLab concurrency (jeez, those are tough), I had 75% in the SCJP exam.
I found scjptest.com a lot easier than both examlab and the real exam but the score was a lot closer to the actual outcome - 71% ;)
Larry Chung
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 02, 2010
Posts: 247
Devaka Cooray wrote:Congratulations Larry,
Glad to know that ExamLab helped.


Thank you Devaka!!! In gratitude, I will be sending you a payment after AlertPay (the means of payment) has completed the set up of my account.
Larry Chung
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 02, 2010
Posts: 247
Stefan Ernst wrote:I had 44% in the exam lab final exam, this morning I made 81% in the SCJP exam. So examlab isnt exactly a good indicator for the actual result in the SCJP exam. While I had 0% in ExamLab concurrency (jeez, those are tough), I had 75% in the SCJP exam.
I found scjptest.com a lot easier than both examlab and the real exam but the score was a lot closer to the actual outcome - 71% ;)


Thanks, Stefan, I did not have the chance to work ExamLab's final exam so I was not aware of this very wide disparity in scores. Maybe if I tried the final I would have been better prepared for the SCJP exam.

Oh, I should not forget, congratulations on a scoring well this morning. You must have taken the exam in Europe in order to post about it so early today (at 9:13 AM EDT).
Stefan Ernst
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 22, 2010
Posts: 11
yes, switzerland to be exact.

thank you
Roberto Perillo
Bartender

Joined: Dec 28, 2007
Posts: 2267
    
    3

Congrats, champion!


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

Joined: Jan 08, 2010
Posts: 372
Congrats!


SCJP 6.0 (86%), SCWCD 5.0 (92%), SCBCD 5.0 (93%), MCTS(SQL Server 2008)
Larry Chung
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 02, 2010
Posts: 247
Dziękuję, Rafal.

@Deepak, Thank you!

@Anupam, I agree the exam wasn't tough but I feel some questions were written by those "tricksy little hobbitses" at Sun.

@Prithvi, I hope the story was entertaining and informative. Thank you.

@bhanu, Thank you.

@Devaka, Thank you again. It really did.

@Simran, Thank you.

@Stefan, Ah, a very charming country. My son visited Switzerland and loved it.

@Roberto, Thank you.



Anupam Jain
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 16, 2010
Posts: 61

Larry Chung wrote:

@Anupam, I agree the exam wasn't tough but I feel some questions were written by those "tricksy little hobbitses" at Sun.





Now that's something interesting.... and I do like "hobbits"
Joe Harry
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 26, 2006
Posts: 9519
    
    2

Congrats!


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Did a rm -R / to find out that I lost my entire Linux installation!
Prasanth S Pillai
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 28, 2009
Posts: 39
Congrats Larry. Your comments are inspiration for me. I am also 9+ years experienced. But after going through the sample questions, I feel as if I am new to JAVA!! I am preparing for SCJP 6.

Regards,
Prasanth
Larry Chung
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 02, 2010
Posts: 247
Prasanth, thank you and all the best with your SCJP preparation and eventual examination.

Yes, I felt like a Java novice when I started studying for the SCJP. I think the big reason is that for over 6 years, I have depended on IntelliJ, Netbeans or Eclipse IDEs to catch my compilation errors and have depended on Ant scripts to build and deploy my applications. Those appliances of convenience had made me fat and stupid (not literally but you know what I mean). With the SCJP exam, I must become the Java compiler and the Java Virtual Machine. Hmmm, I guess that's why the Head First Java book uses that expression so much, "...become the compiler".

Abhay Agarwal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 29, 2008
Posts: 1212
    
    1

Congrats


Oracle Java Web Service Developer (1z0-897), Oracle certified Java 7 Programmer, SCJA 1.0, SCJP 5.0, SCWCD 5.0, Oracle SQL Fundamentals I, CIW Certified Ecommerce specialist
 
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