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Passed today! Some thougths.

 
John Schubert
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Hi guys, just passed today, so I'm going to highlight some points I consider important, hoping they may be useful to somebody.

The exam
===============================================================================
-It was easier that the practice tests I used to do (I'll talk about these later). There's plenty of time (finished 40 minutes before the limit).
-The interface is user friendly and intuitive. Advice: if you are not sure about a question, mark it but also provide an answer.
-At the end of the exam you can review all questions, marked or not, before submitting.
-The whiteboard they give you was enough for me, but they don't give you something to erase it. When a whiteboard is full, you can request another one. But in order to not waste time on this, be savy whith the space from the beginning.
-The code is well indented (but don't expect it to follow Sun Coding Conventions). I've not encountered any extra-long question.
-The questions are fair and are well redacted. I've not seen trickery nor intention to mislead. Almost every topic is treated. Questions about Threads appeared in the middle, compilation and package ones at the end.
-I'm from a non-English speaking country, but I booked it in English. In my country there's a great tradition of badly translated computer science books (often by non-technical people). I don't think Oracle's translation is going to be bad at all, but I preferred not to risk here.

Some advices on how to prepare the exam.
===============================================================================
-If you are new to Java: get a basic and easy to read book (such as Head First or any other). After getting some programming experience on the most usual things, get a reference book, and read it once just to know what other things are available in the language. I used Bruce Eckel's Thinking in Java, but you can use any other provided it is big enough as to be used as a throwing weapon (otherwise it is not a reference book).

-Once you have experience in Java, get yourself SCJP 6 Study Guide (AKA K&B), written by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates (Hi Bert!). This has been my main book for the exam. I needed two passes. If you are, like me, a long time Java programmer, you may be tempted to skip the first chapters: don't do it. For this exam, be humble and void your mind zen style.

-There are other things to study that are not treated in deep in K&B, like operator precedence (must study), the API javadoc (have a look at it).

-I don't recommend reading the JLS unless you are going to implement a custom JVM. It is too extense.

-Frits notes: a good summary, but you should take a pencil and write down all those additional things that are important to you. (Also the version I downloaded contained some errata, so watch out).

-Tests: I used the ones in the K&B CD. These are full of trickery, visual camouflage, and a flagrant intention to mislead in every question. Yesterday I did a couple and scored 50 and 55%. The real exam is not like these at all, but they are a good training (I recommend doing always the open book exam, otherwise you'll learn nothing). Anyway, there are some answers that are very questionable, like the ones I list in this series of posts:
some odd answers from the K&B CD
some odd answers from the K&B CD - part 2
some odd answers from the K&B CD - part 3
some odd answers from the K&B CD - part 4

-An official practice exam is worth buying.

-Answer in forums (like this one) if you are really intrigued about something.

-Developing tools: Eclipse or NetBeans. The continuous compilation saves a lot of time. Don't use any IDE to train javac, java, jars and classpaths.

Final tips:
===============================================================================
-Constructors can be protected (why wouldn't they?)
-DateFormat is abstract so it has no constructor, but it has a getInstance method. However, SimpleDateFormat (the class you'll probably use most in real life programming) does have a constructor.
-In regular expressions \d means "a digit character" and not "an integer with one or many digits".
-The semicolon is a valid Java statement. These are al valid:


To finish, thanks to Kathy and Bert for his great book and this forum, to Frits for his notes, and for all of you who answered my questions here. I'll try to enter from time to time, and perhaps I'll prepare the Java 8 cert next year.

Good luck in the exam!
Regards!
 
dennis deems
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Congratulations!

The advice you give here is excellent.
 
Paul Anilprem
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Congratulations!!!
 
Sam Hazim
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John Schubert wrote:Questions about Threads appeared in the middle, compilation and package ones at the end.


Well done on passing! Just a question about this - I thought Threads were taken off scope - I assume that's not the case then, and Threads are still on the exam?
 
Martin Petransky
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Congratulations and thanks for sharing.

@Threads: I think only the objective on wait, notify, notifyAll was removed.
 
aniket prakash patil
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congratulations
 
mark juszczec
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Congrats.

I'll second the "zen mind" thing. I've been programming in Java since 2000 and thought I'd be ready for this in a matter of weeks.

I'm going on month 6 and finally feeling like I'm getting ready.
 
John Schubert
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Sam Hazim wrote:Just a question about this - I thought Threads were taken off scope - I assume that's not the case then, and Threads are still on the exam?


I'm not sure what objectives are. In the official exam page, they list three topics:
* Write code to define, instantiate, and start new threads using both java.lang.Thread and java.lang.Runnable.
* Recognize the states in which a thread can exist, and identify ways in which a thread can transition from one state to another.
* Given a scenario, write code that makes appropriate use of object locking to protect static or instance variables from concurrent access problems.


mark juszczec wrote:I'll second the "zen mind" thing. I've been programming in Java since 2000 and thought I'd be ready for this in a matter of weeks.

I'm on Java since 2001, and it took me 3.5 months with no life XD
 
Yui Huang
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Thank you, John, so much for sharing the info, which had encouraged me a lot!!
I would like to concur that the real exam is easier than the practice exams that I have done. I got frustrated doing K&B's Practice Exams which I score less than 50% the first time, also barely have enough time to finish 60 questions in 180 minutes. What's more, I learned that the exam duration is shortened to 150 mins just 1 day before the scheduled exam date - which adds extra tension. Today I took the exam, finished early and have sufficient time to review the answers. The result - passed with 95% - maybe with some luck.

Thank you all JavaRancers!!!

 
Jagdev Singh
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First of all congrates john.

Thanks a lot for sharing the valuable information.This is really helpful for me and others who are looking for certification.
 
bhargav reddy vempalli
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hi,

Congratulations!!! i am also planning to right ocjp6 i am just worried about the time is only 1:20 min is that sufficient for 60 questions. Is it harder than scjp? please let me know as early as possible because
i have booked the date.

thank you
bhargav reddy
 
Frits Walraven
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Hi John,

Congratulations! Well done, and it is good to hear that you could use my notes.

-Frits notes: a good summary, but you should take a pencil and write down all those additional things that are important to you. (Also the version I downloaded contained some errata, so watch out).

Please share with me the errors that you found, so that I can correct them.

Regards,
Frits
 
John Schubert
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Frits Walraven wrote:Hi John,
Congratulations! Well done, and it is good to hear that you could use my notes.

Thanks! And not only me, other people in this forum are using them too!

Frits Walraven wrote:
Please share with me the errors that you found, so that I can correct them.
Frits

I'll try to review the errata I found and send you a private message. However, as I said, I'm not sure I downloaded the latest version, because I used a link some dude posted. (BTW, I don't know if you have published an "official" link at all XD)
 
Frits Walraven
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The link to my latest version is found in the SCJP-FAQ.

The last update is from 18-11-2010.

Regards,
Frits
 
dennis deems
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John Schubert wrote:
Frits Walraven wrote:Hi John,
Congratulations! Well done, and it is good to hear that you could use my notes.

Thanks! And not only me, other people in this forum are using them too!


I found them very helpful, Frits, especially things like your section on initialization with subclasses.
 
Frits Walraven
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Thanks
 
Bill Gercken
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Hi John,

Were you required to take any "Oracle" based training prior to taking your exam? (If so, what did you take?)

Congratulations on passing!

Thanks.
-bill
 
Ankit Garg
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Congrats John and thanks for sharing your experience on the forum.
Sam Hazim wrote:I thought Threads were taken off scope - I assume that's not the case then, and Threads are still on the exam?

Thread wait and notify are not on the exam anymore. I have to check the objectives but I think threads are still on the exam...
 
Yui Huang
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Ankit Garg wrote:Thread wait and notify are not on the exam anymore. I have to check the objectives but I think threads are still on the exam...

hmm... I got one question about notify() on last week.
 
Fred Victa
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Congratulations for passing!!

Did the exam get easier? I noticed that the time to take the test was shortened and that the minimum passing score was increased.
 
Fred Victa
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Yui Huang wrote:Thank you, John, so much for sharing the info, which had encouraged me a lot!!
I would like to concur that the real exam is easier than the practice exams that I have done. I got frustrated doing K&B's Practice Exams which I score less than 50% the first time, also barely have enough time to finish 60 questions in 180 minutes. What's more, I learned that the exam duration is shortened to 150 mins just 1 day before the scheduled exam date - which adds extra tension. Today I took the exam, finished early and have sufficient time to review the answers. The result - passed with 95% - maybe with some luck.

Thank you all JavaRancers!!!



Congratulations for passing!

Did you take any other practice exams besides the K&B's practice exams?
 
Rick Goff
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Congratulations on passing the exam, John. Also thanks for an excellent debrief. I passed the OCPJP 6 this week. When I got home I tried to compose a little report, but I couldn't spit out anything that made sense. And now I don't have to, because you told my story perfectly. Having fallen for K&B's scare tactics, I showed up loaded for bear. Just the large mammal; not the truly scary Bear in the JavaScript forum. So when I saw the !length and !complexity of the first few actual exam questions, I was really comforted.

I'll add just a couple of things for candidates:

1. Go into this experience expecting to type a lot of Java code. You'll learn tricky syntax much more quickly by typing it than by reviewing the rules repeatedly. And this is just Java, which probably isn't all you write in your job. Get comfortable with the Java development cycle. Write/edit, compile, run. Loop. The Elders recommend using a good ol' editor, to be sure all of the code comes from you, without auto-completion. Plus, if you sit in front of an IDE all day, you never see javac or java. What do you remember of their options and parameters?

2. I read and highlighted K&B 5 thoroughly this summer. (I had owned an unmolested copy since about 2007.) Then, I decided to test on Java 6, so I read K&B 6. I read other books over the years, including Just Java 2 and HFJ. I also bought B's book of Practice Exams. If you can pass one of those, you are ready. I didn't. This is a very helpful book that contains more than just practice exams. It offers good advice and useful coding assignments.

3. Preparing for the OCPJP is fun. Even if you count yourself a Java expert, don't worry about it. You will find plenty of points of interest. John said it just right. Let it be told to you, no matter what you already know.

4. As for the exam, I had 0 drag-and-drop questions, and only one question that required viewing an "Exhibit."

5. The dry erase board is NOT an industrial strength solution. One yellow 8 x 14 and a Sharpie with a point like a crayon's. Prefer a testing center that allows you to use pencil/pen and paper.

Thanks for the help and encouragement, JavaRanch community, especially Kathy and Bert.
Rick
 
Hung Dx
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Congratulations John!
Thanks for your advice
 
Helen Ma
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Hi, John. What is mean by mark the answer ?
I know there is a check box you can mark the answer.But what is the purpose to mark it?

In the CD, the exam simulator window is too small and I cannot resize it. In the real exam, can I resize it so that I can scroll up and down to read the long code?
 
dennis deems
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Helen Ma wrote:Hi, John. What is mean by mark the answer ?
I know there is a check box you can mark the answer.But what is the purpose to mark it?


It's for your own use. If you have doubts about your response, you can mark the question it to remind yourself to revisit it later.
 
saloni jhanwar
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Congrats John J.
 
anuprita rao
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Hello everyone!!
I wrote scjp yesterday and scored 100%..very happy!
Thanks to javaranch for clearing my doubts..really very thankful.
I wanted to know as to when will i get my certificate?in how many days?
Thanks a lot javaranch...))))))))
 
Sabina Watson
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Well, congratulations!

I have one question - there were a couple of threads here that discussed this topic, but I have two punctual questions. The back story is - I've started learning Java a couple of years ago, but abandoned it after some time (got caught up with other things) and a couple of months ago went back to it. My concern is - as I'm taking a java course that in theory should prep me for this exam, should I consider taking the exam in the next few months? Also, given my limited experience in Java (which is growing, but not at an incredible pace, due to the fact that there is just that much experience you can accumulate in so little time) would the certification make it easier to get me a junior java developer position somewhere? I'm driven and motivated to learn and gather experience, but in a way, there's no better experience that the one I gather at a work place (it's a bit of a loop here).

My two questions are - is it worth the trouble now, and would it make things easier on the long run?

 
David Samer
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WOW !Congratulations John Schubert!

It seems to be true as far as I know and from what I have heard from friends that questions from book (Kate's book) are way way way tricky as hell and when comes to exam they aren't really like that so when you are trained with tricky ones , those fromm exam seems (are?) easy.

Are they that easy? o.O

I'm in the half way yet, a lot of time before I dare to take exam -gag-


John Schubert , how was to do it in english rather than your native language? (It's a possibility I am considering as well )
 
Helen Ma
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Regarding to English, if you feel comfortable to take it in English , then you can choose English . If you feel comfortable with some other languages, then take it in those languages.

I learn Java from my university in the US, so I will take it in English other than my first language. There are some OCJP study guides translated into my native language, but it is hard to understand because I don't know the terminologies being translated.

When I did the practice exam, I think some questions are not clearly written. They seem like the questions were first written in other languages and then they were translated into English. Translation is never a easy task and people may misunderstand when a piece of information is translated.

I hope to see more code than English.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
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