My Background: I was coding in java for more than a year before February 2003(yes 2003), but that was very good groundwork for my concepts et al. Afer that it was all ASP and SQL till beginning of 2004 when I picked up .NET. Recently I cleared my first Microsoft certification(C#) which inspired me to do java certification before I forget it all. So I wrote my "Hello world" program in java again after almost a year and a half of no java. C# (as we all know) is very very similar to java though. I am working full time and am married. I took about 1 month on the whole(cleared my Microsoft exam on May 28), but limited preparation on a daily basis as such - somewhere about 1.5 hrs on an average.
Resources used: * The 'GOD' book - Kathy and Berts * Java 2 Programmer Exam Cram * miscellaneous online notes = 2 * java ranch discussions - 2 weeks * 2-3 Dan's exams * Marcus' mock exams (time for only first one) * some yahoo groups
Preparation: * The 'GOD' book - Kathy and Berts - read each page, solved all questions-this was my window back into Java. I now believe that if you read and understand each and every word from the book then you should be scoring atleast 95%+ on the exam with little bit practice and common sense. * Java 2 Programmer Exam Cram - Not the best book - but still helps(I did not have the latest book though) Most importantly, I want to thank and appreciate Marcus and William for their excellent posts and contriubtion to the forum and the Java community. During my java learning days in 99-2000 I used one of you guys' website to get through my toughest course(Advanced Java) during my Masters. I don't remember whose site it was but it had a boat load of tutorials for different expertise levels in Java - I think it was one of you guy's web site but am not sure as I could not find it today when I searched again. * Java ranch - 2 weeks of browsing - I was not very active but the forum is very good * Dan's exams - very very VERY impressive - I simply did not have time to take 'em all, so did only 2 chapter and 2 comprehensive exams. Kinda demoralizing to take these exams 2-3 days before your actual exam day - so take them during preparation, that is sure to make your concepts strong. * online study notes(Kai's-but most online study guides are for 1.2 exam) * A SPECIAL THANKS to Corey McGlone for the excellent article on bit shifting and other contribution and posts.
My experience: Not a straightforward exam even if you are well prepared. No, seriously, you need to be sure that you are well prepared for the exam as the questions can get tricky sometimes. Read as much material as possible to get maximum information. There are a lot of mock exams on the net. Take a few - I think taking all of them is a waste of time. Again,Kathy and Berts' book is da BEST IMHO. Quite amazing how most of the answers can be traced right back to somewhere in the book. Try to get mock exams/sample questions and such - that helps. Testing out the finer points by writing code also helps a lot as then it gets embossed in your brain (for awhile atleast). Get a Java IDE or better still use note pad for writing your java code. That will definitely help in preparing for this exam as then your kowledge will be ground up. There are some standard questions that should jump out to you while studying itself - from topics like garbage collection, threads, bit operations, Strings, primitives and wrapper classes.
Some thoughts: IMHO, the changes in the 1.4 version actually make the exam easier. I think IO and AWT classes are far more difficult to fathom when compared to Assertions and 'Wrapper classes in depth'. Assertions on the exam is very easy and a 30 minute study would get you through most questions on assertions. I truly feel that the passing percentage for the SCJP exam should be ATLEAST 70% (75% would be better). Even in my case I was sure about getting 52%+ with my first week's preparation itself (as I took one mock exam and got abpout 66% without much preparation). I think the low passing percentage kinda devalues the exam. Eeveryone anyway gets 80%+ on an average (no offense intended to anyone at all - sorry if you feel that way).
One suggestion to 'the knowledgeables' - please wait for other members to answer general questions that are posted daily, that is the way members can participate and learn more/better. If one of 'the experts' answers a question as soon as it is posted then others only read the explanation - we will never try to think and come up with an answer on our own.
How to preview your post before actually posting???
Remember - Practice makes man perfect (or is it practise!!??)
* Dan's exams - very very VERY impressive - I simply did not have time to take 'em all, so did only 2 chapter and 2 comprehensive exams. Kinda demoralizing to take these exams 2-3 days before your actual exam day - so take them during preparation, that is sure to make your concepts strong.
I agree that the best time to use my exams is early in the preparation process.
Dan Chisholm<br />SCJP 1.4<br /> <br /><a href="http://www.danchisholm.net/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Try my mock exam.</a>
Thanks Dan ... though I wonder why you don't have exams with 61 questions as opposed to 28/29. With 28 qsns per exam even if you take 2 exams you don't get 61 ... and for a person like me it is a bit frustrating when I cannot evaluate myself in mock exams because they don't have the same number of questions (or topics or format etc.). I keep statistics of how many exams I took and how much I score and then determine whether I am ready for the actual exam based on my progress in scores. I can do that at a percentage level I know .. but 61 qsns would be helpful
Also, none of the exams and quizzes (I admit I did not take many) prepared me for "Type your answer" type of questions. I did not know about them at all ... I thought all questions shall be "select 1/2" answers from the mulriple choice