So, I took the Oracle Certified Associate exam in December and passed with 95%. I decided to rush into the professional exam (IZ0-804) after basically skimming what it covered, and failed it by a single question.
So I calmed down and actually went through the tutorials diligently... and thought I knew the material pretty well. So I took it again today and passed with 76%. My emotional reaction to this is to feel sort of like a failure anyway. I thought the exam was a lot harder than the associate exam, and seems to go out of its way to ask you stuff not covered in the tutorials. But this is rationalization by me of course.
I guess I wanted to ask, should I feel bad about this? Should I be satisfied to have the passing grade, be happy and shut up? Will anybody ever ask me what my score was? Can anyone reassure me that 76% is, in fact, respectable? Or make me feel worse by saying the average score is a lot higher?
yes, you are right. The OCPJP 7 is much tougher than its associate exam. In my opinion you should not feel bad about your percentage. In my experience, no body asks percentage for a certification exam. The only point others care is whether you are certified or not.
I got 98% on the OCA and 78% on the OCP. I've been a Java developer for over a decade. My goal on both tests was too pass, not get a high score. But the OCP is harder. Don't worry. Your OCP score isn't a predictor of your success as a programmer.
Many a times the difference between passing grade and 90+ marks is the preparation material used. Real life programming doesn't involve multiple choice questions and most of the time you don't get to work with all the features of the language at the same time. So even if you are an expert programmer and even if you have worked with all the features at some point of time, your mind is not prepared to regurgitate all that information in those 2 hours. This is specially true with advanced exams such as the OCP and OCE because they cover a lot of ground. Good quality mock exams condition your mind for such situation and make a big difference in the final score. Tutorials are fine for learning the concepts but mock exams are key for the final leg of preparation that prepares your mind for what's coming.
So my suggestion would be to go though the mock exams before appearing for the final exam for your next certification. That will help.
IMO you should be feeling good about it. You have cleared the exam and will carry "OCP certified" on your resume which is pretty cool.
Passing alone separates you from the folks that are not certified. Having a higher score does not add any further classification.
I have seen people who passed with 9x% but were unable to clear the first technical interview which is not really hard.