This week's giveaway is in the EJB and other Java EE Technologies forum. We're giving away four copies of EJB 3 in Action and have Debu Panda, Reza Rahman, Ryan Cuprak, and Michael Remijan on-line! See this thread for details.
I've just come back from the exam centre and can hardly believe it. I'm very happy with 88%.
In the same way as I did here for the SCWCD exam I thought I would add a few notes about my story.
For those looking closely at my signature, you'll note a gap between certifications (in fact, my SCWCD exam was taken almost 4 years ago). After it, I almost immediately started SCBCD preparation, however a few weeks in I was approached by my employer with a requirement that they needed some people trained up on IBM's DB2. At first I was reluctant, however I knew very little about databases (i.e. concepts such as sequences were new) so I thought that I'd go for it - whilst Oracle training could be seen as better in terms of employment prospects, a lot of the concepts are transferable and the employer was willing to pay for DB2 training. On reflection, I think it helped with SCBCD preparation - especially the JPA element.
After becoming a DB2 DBA, I restarted my SCBCD preparation. I started with Mastering Enterprise Java Beans because - well it was FREE! Sadly, this didn't turn out so well as there was something I didn't get on with when reading this book. Skimming back through it now it looks a decent book and I admire the authors for putting it out there as a free PDF, but for me, something just didn't work. Perhaps it's more of an advanced book than a beginner's book.
I then moved on to EJB3 In Action and this book was excellent. It takes you right from the basics - which is what I needed - and covered virtually everything needed for the exam. I also asked a number of questions on this forum, and in some cases, the actual authors were replying. This is highly commendable and shows their dedication to their students.
Finally, I moved onto Pro EJB3 which is another excellent book. I did sometimes feel that some of the concepts were covered much too deeply for the exam, but feel that this is by design. I suspect that the authors were writing an excellent reference manual on JPA, not a study guide for the exam. I know that I'll be keeping this book near by for when doing future JPA work.
Aside from books, I also started a personal project. It's totally over-engineered, but it allowed me to shoe-horn in all sorts of things from the exam and to have fun with them. You can really think that you know something, until you are sat at the keyboard and you go blank when trying to remember an element name for example. Then out come the books and its a new fact that's remembered for next time.
Also, I'd like to thank the people on this excellent forum. I've asked numerous questions and there are always people who are willing to take the time to think them through, give simple answers and to often provide references where more information can be found. Please keep it up!
Towards the end of my preparation, I searched the net for practice exam questions and worked through these where possible.
Finally, don't get a cold two weeks before the exam. It makes studying almost impossible!