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Suggestions for studying and passing the SCJA exam

Joseph Palermo
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 05, 2010
Posts: 1
I just recently took the SCJA exam and did not pass. I am new to java programming and never have taken any formal classes. I first became interested in java after reading 3/4 of the Java Head First book. I decided I wanted to become Sun Certified and went and picked up the book SCJA by Robert Linguori & Edward Finegan. I read the book from cover to cover and went through all the example question at the end of each chapter. As well as the complete mock exam on CD. I felt I had a pretty good understanding of everything, but did not pass. I would like to know if anyone has any suggestions so that I can pass. Maybe another book that covers the exam. I felt the SCJA book covered the topics of the exam well but there were multiple choice answers to the exam questions that the book didn't cover to that degree. My score report:

Fundemental OO Concepts .....................................75 %
UML Representation of OO Concepts ........................50 %
Java Implementation of OO Concepts ......................37 %
Algorithm Design and Implementation ......................16 %
Java Development Fundamentals .............................83 %
Java Platforms and Integration Technologies .............20 %
Client Technologies .................................................80 %
Server Technologies ................................................71 %

I found it somewhat funny because everything I was confident in I did poorly and vice versa.
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
author and cow tipper
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 26, 2006
Posts: 4968
    
    1

Howdy Greenhorn! We're so happy to have you over here at the JavaRanch.

Good study suggestions? Well, I'd recommend my books. My students have a pretty high success rate, and the chapters are very focussed.

Don't get too frustrated, though. Many people take a second or even third time to pass. It's good to know where your strengths and weaknesses are, and now, with more focussed study, and a better idea of how the exam works, you'll do even better the next time around.

You might want to pick up my SCJA Mock Exam book if you're tired of studying. That really focusses you on the objectives.

Good luck, and keep posting here!

-Cameron McKenzie
Robert James Liguori
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 27, 2007
Posts: 531
    
    5

Joseph,

I am sorry to hear that you did not pass. Sun's certification exams are designed to verify your working experience and expertise. The SCJA exam does not require a lot of experience, 6 months is plenty, or at least completion of a course on Java.

It appears as if you studied for the exam without any working experience. So, while it's possible to learn enough about Java by going through certification resources to pass the exam, it is not the desired approach. With this in mind, I would say that Sun actually did a pretty good job taking this into consideration when they developed the exam. Otherwise, any individual who wanted to get certified without experience could do so in a short amount of time, thereby devaluating the credibility of the exam.

With all this being said, you did a pretty good job considering you had little practical knowledge of Java prior to studying for the exam. To move forward, I would take six months enjoying working with the language. Write some programs, go through some of Sun's learning trails, hang around the Java Ranch, etc. After you are more comfortable with the language, use the studying process for the SCJA certification to solidify your knowledge of what you already know while filling in the gaps of what you don't.

As I mentioned, the SCJA Study Guide should be strong complimentary material for programmers with just six months of experience. However there are a number of additional resources that will help with exam preparation. Pages xxviii through xxx of the SCJA Study Guide lists additional SCJA resources that would assist you in getting a passing score. Of them, the most beneficial in my opinion are the following:

-- Head First Java by Sierra and Bates
-- Additional SCJA study guides (e.g., those from Cameron McKenzie)
-- Mock exams (both online and texts)
-- Java technology specifications (e.g. the Java Language Specification)
-- UML Distilled, Third Edition by Martin Fowler

* In regards to areas that you felt were not sufficiently covered in the book, please send me a message in regards to these areas. This way, I can consider improving the content of the text, if we decide to put out another release of the book.

Good luck!
Robert Liguori, Author
SCJA Sun Certified Java Associate Study Guide (Exam CX-310-019)


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