As a nitpicker, I'm shooting for a response within a week. I haven't always been great at keeping to that schedule though, especially as the assignments get more complex. (I'm the nitpicker for sections three and four of the Cattle Drive.) I believe the other nitpickers are faster than I am, and try to respond within two to three days. If you push through all four sections, it's not only worth the money, it's a comically great bargain. Even if you just do a few assignments and drop out, you're still probably getting your money's worth. The nitpickers are volunteers and don't get any of your fee, so in the worst case scenario, you're supporting the continuing operation of Java Ranch.
I participated as a student in the Cattle Drive and I feel like it's one of the best ways to learn good coding practices. It also helps you to look at things in many ways and become a humble coder. I'm now a nitpicker and I love helping people turn the lights on in their heads.
I can say it's worth the money. It's worth the time and effort.
When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
I was on the Cattle Drive until late 2004.
And I'd done most of the Servlets assignments.
But now I am looking to get back into the saddle.
So I think it's really worthwhile.
I like that it shows you that your way is not always the most elegant.
And I like that you are nudged towards a solution, so you always have to think of the alternatives.
Whilst adhering to a Style Guide as you would in any commercial organisation.
The 'Ranch may also help you over the "No Experience" hurdle when you are applying for jobs.
So, I can say that it's worth the money, and that it's worth the time and effort.