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Bummer! I failed the SCJP6! What is the pass rate for this exam?

Katherine Reut
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 26, 2013
Posts: 28
Drat! After about 160 hours of studying for the SCJP6 Exam 1Z0-851 (OCP, Java SE 6 Programmer), I failed it with a score of 50%. I'm going to take it again in about a month, after I try to shore up my understanding of the 25 different objectives about which I missed one or more questions.

My question is, does anyone know where to obtain statistics in regard to what percentage of people who take the exam fail it the first time? Does Oracle publish this information, or someone else? There is a group of us who sat for the exam, and out of the seven of us, three of us didn't pass. I am curious if this is the average pass rate for the exam, because although I am definitely not the brightest bulb in the chandelier (and I'm relatively new to programming), the rest of the group is well above average in smarts and ability. Yes, I am hoping to make myself feel better if I can see that only half or so pass the exam on their first attempt (or perhaps I will be horrified to find that most people pass it their first time!) Does anyone know of a reliable resource that I can use to satisfy my morbid curiosity?

As a side note, are there any additional study aides that anyone who succeeded recommends? I've been using the SCJP book (Sierra/Bates) which is super-excellent, the CD that came with it, and the Practice Exams book by the same authors. They are all labeled as being for exam 310-065 but that is the same thing as the 1Z0-851...uh, right? I did notice that the practice questions and exams were less similar to the real exam's questions than I expected. Am I maybe using the wrong tools to prepare? (I can't pay the thousands of dollars for the Oracle exam training package. I'd rather that money go towards my next certification attempt...Java7 or MySQL or something else cool.)

Thanks Ranchers!
Steven Squeers
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 19, 2013
Posts: 62
Commiserations.
May I ask, why did you take OCPJSE6 and not OCPJSE7?
Also, I am concerned now myself, because I have read somewhere that the questions in the Bates/Sierra books are WAY harder than those on the real exam. How well did you do on the practice exams in Bates/Sierra? I have to say, I find it takes AGES to REALLY "get" and inwardly digest the depth and breadth of knowledge required to get the questions in the book correct. For me that means verifying the code in many if not most of the questions by running it with loads of SOPs, etc. to observe the behaviour, making notes and all the rest of it on virtually every question, as part of my exam readiness. I'm absolutely sh**ting myself for when I get into the exam; this is my way of trying to prevent myself panicking when I'm in that seat and facing those questions.




Katherine Reut
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 26, 2013
Posts: 28
May I ask, why did you take OCPJSE6 and not OCPJSE7?

You have to either pass the 6 professional or the 7 associate before you can get your 7 professional certification. I wanted to take the six exam so that I would have the "professional" certification right away (instead of the associate) and then afterwards upgrade to the 7 professional.
Also, I am concerned now myself, because I have read somewhere that the questions in the Bates/Sierra books are WAY harder than those on the real exam.
That's what I heard too: I read it here in the Code Ranch and in the book, and one of the guys in my group who passed the exam (with a 90% - ugh!!) said that the exam was way easier. I guess maybe the questions on the exam aren't harder per se, but they are different. The exam asked questions about code examples that have issues that are addressed in the book (thoroughly), but the issues are not specifically in the practice exams or self-tests. I think I went in to exam thinking that it would be made up of questions just like what I had been practicing with, just with different class and variable names and wording. The exam seemed to be testing me more on my practical programming knowledge (i.e. "does this code compile/produce this output...") and less on my academic knowledge (definitions, true/false statements, etc), which is the style of about half of the questions that I practiced with. I think I have to take those academic practice questions a step farther and write code that applies to them, just to see exactly what it looks like.
How well did you do on the practice exams in Bates/Sierra?
The weekend before my exam, on quiz A attempts, I was getting between 80 and 90%. On quiz B, I was scoring a little lower, somewhere between the low 70s and mid 80s. I think that I was getting scores that high because by the fourth and fifth time I was taking the quizzes, even though I was trying not to, I was recognizing the problem, remembering what "the issue was" and honing in on it instead of really figuring it out or thoroughly understanding it.

Anyway, don't let my failure worry you - four of our seven passed, and two of them passed with flying colors, and I know for a fact at least one of them hardly studied. I think my floundering is mostly due to inexperience. I just started learning OO programming about a year ago and I bet someone with more experience will do just fine.
Steven Squeers
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 19, 2013
Posts: 62
Thanks for the comprehensive reply.
I think you've nailed the issue: it seems you just kept "retaking" the exams in the book, which bred a familiarity with them that was deceiving.
If it helps, for myself, a large part of my effort in studying for this exam is the effort involved *after* I have answered questions - in fact, I often have to take a break before marking questions because I know there's just as much effort involved in the marking bit. There's the temptation to think, the hard work is in answering the questions, but for me (YMMV of course) that's only probably half of the effort. The other half involves going through each answer, like I say, and testing it out for myself if there's even the tiniest bit of doubt as to how the correct and incorrect answers are arrived at.


Katherine Reut
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 26, 2013
Posts: 28
A large part of my effort in studying for this exam is the effort involved *after* I have answered questions - in fact, I often have to take a break before marking questions because I know there's just as much effort involved in the marking bit.
I totally know what you mean - it seems like my poor book has more of my writing in it than that of the authors'! And I printed out each of the questions on the practice exams and wrote lengthy explanations of the answers that gave me trouble and the page numbers that they corresponded with. I was asked about my failure "Aren't you disappointed?" and "Aren't you mad?" I can honestly say if it had been a Finance exam (I'm a recovering Business major), I would be totally p***ed to have wasted that many hours/days/weeks/months of effort on something that I couldn't care less about. But man! Having gone through the Sierra/Bates book so thoroughly has given me SUCH a great foundation. Just a few months ago I barely recognized the words "polymorphism", "interface", or "exception", not to mention I didn't have a clue what a thread or a hashcode was. The work I've put in over the last few months gave me the ability to have an intelligent conversation with my coworkers about object oriented programming, not to mention the general foundation that I'd been wanting for almost a year! Now I just have to fine-tune it so I can pass that darn exam!
 
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