I'd like to share with this unique community some thoughts and feedbacks after having taken the OCA 1Z0-803 JAVA SE 7 Programmer exam.
First of all a couple of lines on my background as I'm graduated in economics and had no competence on any programming language except for VBA (which I really don't know whether qualify for the programming language title or not ), having developed a quite complex Access application during last three years.
I first started reading some books about Java, specifically the ones by prof. Horstmann, let me say around first months of last year.
In november I then opted to try to go for the Oracle certification in Java as I liked very much the OOP approach and I was looking for something concrete in return of my study efforts as I can't practice/work on this topic at work doing different things.
I carefully read all the relevant topics and FAQ on this exam here at ranch and I came up with my study material: Mala Gupta certification book and Enthuware mock exams software package. I also bookmarked the Java tutorial pages on Oracle website.
I read the book twice making my notes either on a notebook and on my pc for testing purposes (I used BlueJ, but that's irrelevant. Notepad and command line would have worked fine too).
I found the book quite clear and accurate, definitely the resource you should use to achieve the certification. It also has a complete mock exam to let you practice all the domains covered by the certification. I strongly suggest anyone going for this exam to buy and study this book.
But let me tell you the following: don't expect to learn the Java programming language studying this kind of book. I mean I found huge differences in learning how stuff really works between a book like this specifically aimed to a certification path and a "classic" theory book (like Java concepts or Core Java for example). This is of course IMHO and not to discredit Mala excellent work at all!
A couple of words about Enthuware sw package too. If possible this is even more crucial to let you prepare effectively for the exam.
The software is extremely well developed, questions bank frequently updated, a variety of ways to customize your test and simulations, 110% coverage of exam topics (some questions also go beyond the exam scope). Explanations for each question/answer are clear and a forum where to ask support question is available with great responses from the admin. All this come for a few dollars (well Euros in my case). It definitely worth the purchase.
I was not very optimistic about my Exam which was scheduled for this morning. Enthuware mock exams taken gave me fluctuating results, some of them I passed, some of them I didn't (don't have my laptop by hand to post the accurate results of my tests, I'll update this piece of info as soon as I can, but just to give you an idea I was in the range of 58%-71%).
I always read around that the real exam is a little bit easier than Enthuware ones. Indeed it is. Both in terms of questions content and also because the majority of the questions had a single answer choice (choose best answer) whilst most of enthuware are real multiple questions (at least for me this means an increased difficulty to get all the right choices within the same question). However I don't know whether this situation happened just to my questions set or could apply to all.
I can confirm that as of today the passing score is still 63%.
Back at office I checked the Oracle certview site and I found I scored 71%, which I know it's not something good at all, I mean not something to be posted under the Wall of Fame , but at least it is enough to pass.
One final word about the feedback on the real exam, it would be nice if one had the chance to review the wrong answers in order to better understand the mistakes done, rather than have a general feedback list on objectives for which you answered incorrectly. Is this possible via Oracle certification portal?
Finally let me thanks all the ranchers that with usefull posts and information helped me to reach this very first step in the Java certification world.
I'll plan to take also the 1Z0-804 exam but this is something that will happen not before the end of this year due to my work tasks.
@forum leaders: feel free to move this topic under any existing one if you think it fits better there!