Last week I have passed Java Associate exam: OCAJP 1Z0-803 with score 90%
I thought it will take 6 months but took just over a year. Of this time, one month was very, very hard studying, taking time off work to do this. I was very close to giving up, few times!
Here is how I studied:
- The important advice for me was - study for a certification, not just to learn language without any document to prove it, this way I had a goal I had to achieve.
- This forum helped me a lot, I read here how other people passed and how they studied.
1) started with Teach Yourself Java 6 in 21 days. It is for version 6 of Java but gave me excellent base knowledge.
2) went for a cheap course to a college for 3 months (2h a week). this was rubbish, could have easily skipped this part. Too fast and teacher wasn't good. Anyway this helped me get better idea of what there was to study
3) SCJP Sun Certified Programmer for Java 6 Study Guide (CX-310-065): Exam 310-065 by Katherine Sierra (Author), Bert Bates (Author)
4) OCA Java SE 7 Programmer I Certification Guide by Mala Gupta
5) Somewhere here I booked my Oracle exam - this is one of the best things as motivates you to work to this date, I never ignored so many emails, phone calls etc just to have time to study. From here I really cut out a lot of my life.
6) Enthuware mock exams: JA+ V7 For OCA-JP-I SE7
The best of all was the mock exams. After you read all books and think you know everything at least a bit you do 1st mock exam and do 50% and realise you have much to learn. For me, I re-read some of chapters I did worst of. VERY thoroughly went through every single answer, built in forum and made sure I understood what I did right or wrong. I checked answers to even correct questions to make sure I didn't just guess. This checking took me most of the time - took 13 days off work and worked through it since morning to sometimes 2pm. Very hard work. I constantly couldn't finish tests in time or was doing them just in a panic to finish in time but didn't fully understand them etc. It was after the test, checking answers that really made a difference. I kept studying bits here and there and doing next tests after few hours from the previous test, sometimes a day or two apart. Eventually I got to around 70% and because my wife forced me to book exam and didn't want to re-schedule it I didn't have time to do much more studying. I didn't have much time to write programs, just small ones to see what will happen in this scenario or another. Eventually I finished last exam and checked all answers in the evening before my real exam.
Next day I was really stressed out, nice thing was that exam was easier than mock exams and I finished just in time (with shaking hands). It was similar to mock exams so these really, really helped. Because most questions were easier I got 90% (where a mock exams best score I had 72 or 74%, but average around 60%).
What I knew before studying:
I have good understanding of computers, good general computer background. I tried few times to learn C++ or Java but never got further writing than some very, very basic application, once even started writing a game but never finished as I had no idea how programming really worked. I work full time as Technical Support - Mac Specialist.
Few last words:
It is a hard work, especially for a non-programmer like me. Read few books, not just one. Do mock exams and don't rush going through explanation of answers by mock exam makers. These are one of the best studying tool I have seen. Enthuware had a forum built in where someone was responding to any question if I wasn't sure about something very very quickly. Normally the same day, sometimes after few minutes!
Good luck, don't give up
Saying YES to one thing, we are automatically saying NO to something else.
I didn't do half of the things the OP (P Kowalski) did to get ready.
I have since been working for a company doing Coldfusion for the last 3 years. Coldfusion is an Application Framework written in Java and once you get past the basics, you find that using Java classes inside the language is the only way to go.
That was my base.
So without knowing much of anything of actual java syntax, and definitely not know all of it's intricacies and little habbits, I picked up Enthuware mock exams: JA+ V7 For OCA-JP-I SE7 (the kindle edition) for $9.99
It was the best $9 i have spent.
I took 5 out of the 6 exams, and then went over all the ones I got wrong about 10 times.
I spent about 6 days really preparing for the exam and received a 96%.
Hello, someone (Tiberius Marius) has sent me a private message - question, here is my response, since I believe it can be useful for all:
I m close to your context when you started learning Java expect that i have absolutely no programming experience but good computer background - i know linux;windows (administrator level) and mysql (i work as a QA engineer) and i m looking for some advice from you :
1. Any advice you can give me from your xp considering we were in similar situations
2. I have an good idea of what books i need for the certification but before that i need some introduction in java/programming (preferably with more examples and less theory) , can you recommend some materials to sharp my teeth ? (i estimate about 2+ months time spent unrelated to OCAJP7 , just learning java fundamentals /programming) :
At the moment i have 3 books in mind for the start ,any seems like a good start and i ll probably use one or two of them but i wanted to ask people that actually did this in the part what they think
The Art and Science of Java Here
Introduction to Programming in Java: An Interdisciplinary Approach Here
Introduction to Java Programming, Comprehensive Version, Student Value (9th Edition) Here
3. I m also interested in the time you needed from when you started to the point you passed OCAJP7 , can you give an estimation in hours /days , an estimation but in days and average hours spent each day ? I made an estimation(hope realistic) i would need about 5 months with 5 h effort every day of the week(i plan to take a sabbatical leave from work for 5 months) .My current path is undecided book/books as a introduction to java(2.5 months) ->SCJP 6 Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates book (1 month) -> Mala Gupta book (1month) with Enthuware when i start to feel confident.
Thanks in advance !
1) Hard to tell what's the best advice - perhaps focus on one book, learning from many at the same time is very difficult. Some people advise not using IDE, instead to use plain text editor and java command compiler. I think it's good to try some of javac command but Eclipse (or whatever else editor / IDE) you like is good as long as you can quickly operate it to try many programs. And do try anything you are not sure why / how works. Do mock exams and most time consuming and yet best thing to do - go over all answers properly and see why you made good / bad answers.
One more advice, don't give up, even when you think it is not going ahead at all. I had many moments when I thought I am not good enough for it. That maybe it's not for me. These moments I think come to everyone. Nothing to worry about.
2) I don't know the books you mention, there is only one book that most people seem to recommend and for a very good reason: Sun Certified Programmer for Java 6 Study Guide (SCJP exam 310-065) by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates. It is for Java 6 and for SCJP exam but it still is the best book preparing for this exam that I know. The differences for Java 7 you can learn from few other sources later on.
3) 5h a day for 5 months seems like way more for OCAJP (1Z0-803). I think I spent nearly a year but I spent around 1h a day for most of this time, I took around 2 weeks off from work studying most of the time. I believe studying full time you can do this within 2-3 months. If not full time, 5 months should be fine if not a bit too much. Spend 1/3 of this time on mock exams. This is part where once you learned some of the stuff from book you realise how much more you need to learn. Perhaps even spend 1/2 of time for exams as you then want to study more parts of the book you scored lowest.
Good luck and let us know how it went.
By the way, after passing first exam, I am finding it sooooo hard to study for the second part, still haven't even got to 50% of studying. Now I need some motivation from some people here perhaps