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OCA Exam gotchas!

Iarla O'Riada
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 06, 2012
Posts: 78

I'm on my second run of the preparation book for the OCA I exam and I'm noticing that the questions I get wrong belong to a few categories:

  • Not noticing syntax errors in the question (such as incorrect case; public Static void main...)
    The question asks to choose the incorrect answers from below. I do this for the first one or two options but then revert to examining for correct answers.
    Operator precedence
    Exception handling class heirarchy (which ones are checked, unchecked etc).


  • The second mistake in particular is frustrating since I know it's a problem and I still keep falling for it. How are you getting on with your preparation, or if you've already done the exam how was it for you?
    Steven Squeers
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Aug 19, 2013
    Posts: 62
    Iarla O'Riada wrote:I'm on my second run of the preparation book for the OCA I exam and I'm noticing that the questions I get wrong belong to a few categories:

  • Not noticing syntax errors in the question (such as incorrect case; public Static void main...)
    The question asks to choose the incorrect answers from below. I do this for the first one or two options but then revert to examining for correct answers.
    Operator precedence
    Exception handling class heirarchy (which ones are checked, unchecked etc).


  • The second mistake in particular is frustrating since I know it's a problem and I still keep falling for it. How are you getting on with your preparation, or if you've already done the exam how was it for you?


    I think you should not be too hard on yourself. When it comes to the exam you will be concentrating harder than when you take them at home - at home, it's a chore, you're knackered all the time because of all the constant studying (or you should be: it's intensive stuff learning so much in so short a time) and every damn question is just another pain in the backside intelligence/memorization test.
    Plus, you get plenty of time to go over your questions to double check you didn't miss something.
    Plus, you don't get "Choose all that apply" questions, which frankly probably account for at least 50% of my errors when going through mock exams.
    Plus, they don't have "Compilation fails" and "a runtime exception is thrown" as alternatives for every damn question, so you're not farting about trying to spot stupid stuff like missing semicolons etc.
    I love the K+B books, and the Enthuware stuff; don't get me wrong, these guys are angels in my book - where would we be without them . However, I'm just sick of these damn mock exams

    In short, don't worry, keep studying, keep making lots of notes and notes of notes etc and you should be fine.




    Mala Gupta
    Author
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 248
        
        9
    I agree with Steven's view that one would concentrate better when writing the real exam. Also, the fact that questions in the real exam state the number of correct answer options help to a great extent in answering a question.

    To add to Steven's message-

    Iarla O'Riada wrote:Not noticing syntax errors in the question (such as incorrect case; public Static void main...)


    To notice syntax errors due to incorrect case of the keywords, you need to address a finite set:

    abstract, default, goto, package, this
    assert, do, if, private, throw
    boolean, double, implements, protected, throws
    break else import public transient
    byte enum instanceof return true
    case extends int short try
    catch false interface static void
    char final long strictfp volatile
    class finally native super while
    const float new switch
    continue for null synchronized

    You'll master them as you practice writing more code and attempting mock exam questions. Of particular interest is the keyword instanceof (often incorrectly written as instanceOf. Also if you init-cap the keywords-boolean (Boolean), short (Short), long (Long), float (Float), double (Double), byte (Byte), you actually use their corresponding wrapper data type. Depending on how you use them, you might not get a compilation error.


    Iarla O'Riada wrote:The question asks to choose the incorrect answers from below. I do this for the first one or two options but then revert to examining for correct answers.


    I faced similar issues when I used to answer such questions :-). To get around this, I used to cross the fingers in my left hand, while selecting questions with my right hand. It might sound funny, but I actually placed the crossed fingers on my nose to remind myself that I need to select the incorrect options and not the correct ones. It would be great to hear back from you if this helped or perhaps a better idea that you would like to share.


    Iarla O'Riada wrote:Exception handling class heirarchy (which ones are checked, unchecked etc).


    The OCA Java SE 7 exam doesn't include a lot of checked exceptions from the Java API. Java I/O API defines and uses a lot of checked exceptions (which is fortunately not on this exam).

    The following image shows class hierarchy of commonly occurring runtime exceptions. To master them, write small code examples, that can throw these exceptions.



    Good Luck to you.

    With respect,
    Mala

    Author of Manning's OCA Java SE 7 Programmer I Certification Guide and OCP Java SE 7 Programmer II Certification Guide
    Iarla O'Riada
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Oct 06, 2012
    Posts: 78

    Stephen Squeers, thank you for the encouragement! I am seeing that as I make notes and refine them more things are getting better. On my second run I scored about 20% higher and I think I'm at a stage where I don't need to read entire chapters now, just the summary at the end.

    Thanks again and best of luck to you also. Post back here when you've finished your exam ;)

    Mala Gupta, I have to say that crossing your fingers for those questions is quite genius I will use that from now on. I don't think I can remember all of the keywords but your point on 'instanceof' has made me more aware of the issue. I think now that my only issue will be the use of non-existant keywords or object method names.

    Thanks for clarifying the Exception heirarchy. I've created acronyms (although not real words) for the various exception groups, for example for;

    RuntimeExceptions: ICAININ = "I Can Always Insert Nine Inch Nails"

    Thanks for sharing the spirit of wit and determination

    Iarla
    Pavel Sok
    Greenhorn

    Joined: Nov 23, 2013
    Posts: 10
    I also advocate the idea of using graphical notation in order to prepare to exams especially Java. This is much better rather than reading tons of docs.
    BTW, best thanks Mala Gupta for the great book!
    Mala Gupta
    Author
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 248
        
        9
    Pavel Sok wrote:I also advocate the idea of using graphical notation in order to prepare to exams especially Java. This is much better rather than reading tons of docs.

    I completely agree!
    Pavel Sok wrote:BTW, best thanks Mala Gupta for the great book!

    Thanks, Pavel.

    Good Luck to you.

    With respect,
    Mala
     
    With a little knowledge, a cast iron skillet is non-stick and lasts a lifetime.
     
    subject: OCA Exam gotchas!
     
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