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SCJP in a week and a half

 
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Background: I've got a lot of experience as a programmer mostly in C/C++ with a bit of Java and a million smaller bits of things. I've been working on other (non-programming) things for the last couple of years and most programming I've done is in PHP. Anyway, I was put forward for a position which required java skills. Aced the interview, but fell down in the technical java section. Maybe got about 1/2 the questions wrong. For instance, I didn't know java had a hashtable, so had to answer the questions via general hash-table knowledge. Well, they liked me, but wanted me to get up to speed before I started, so made it a condition of employment that I got my SCJP. I managed to convince them that I might need two bites of the cherry, so we agreed I had a month to get it. This was last monday (9 days ago), and i start tomorrow. I sat my certification this afternoon and got 83%. Phew!

So, what I did:
  • First I did some programming exercises, just to cover the basics, and get me back to speed. The Cattle Drive exercises were perfect, and as I didn't have time for the 24 hour turnaround, so just compared my output with the given results. I only had time to do the first 8, but that made me feel comfortable in making java do what I want. I think the whole lot would have been worthwhile if I'd have time.
  • The only book I could find locally was Brogden and Green's Exam Cram - but I can't recommend it too highly. It was brief, focused on the exam and easy to work through. I can't imagine there's a shorter book that covers the subject, so it was perfect for me. I read it through chapter by chapter, did the exercises at the end of each chapter and used them to revise material I had misunderstood in the chapter.
  • By monday morning I had finised the book, then I hit Rules Roundup pretty hard. Got to admit at first I was getting 7-10/12 right, and feeling pretty nervous. Again, used my mistakes to go back and revise sections of the book.
  • Monday and tuesday I did mock exams, in semi-realistic mode. However, if I found a question I had no idea about, then I went and re-read the text. If one I was unsure about, then I played with working code till I was sure. Any questions I got wrong, I first went back and relooked at the original question, to see if I could see my mistake. If I couldn't see the problem, then I'd read the solution and the text until I was clear.
  • any points that caused me difficulty in revision, I made a note and revised later.
  • This morning I did one last practice exam, and then went through all the notes of weaknesses and revised the concepts.
  • During the exam I did two passes, redoing the questions a second time, without looking at my answer. Quite a few times I picked a different answer the second time, and if so, I studied the question to see which answer was right.


  • Paradoxically, I felt the exam was harder than any I had done, but I got a higher score than I did in any practice, so I shouldn't complain.

    That's it. I hit this site for quite a few bits of help, though I didn't have time to use the forums. This is a great resource, so hopefully this post is giving a little back. Oh, and paypal too, as soon as I can access my home PC.

    thanks, and good luck to those who are studying.
     
    Joan McGalliard
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    One more thing: I didn't register for the test until yesterday morning, and the price had dropped �16 since last week! (was �95 now �79. Drop in US dollar, I guess)
     
    Ranch Hand
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    No, the price in USD is still $150.

    Andrei
     
    Joan McGalliard
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    No, I meant the US dollar itself, currency exchange rates.

    (from oanda.com)
    11/4/02 $US150 == �95.86502
    11/4/03 $US150 == �89.51483
    11/4/04 $US150 == �81.16005

    (ie it's been a bit of a rip off for the last year or more)
     
    You ought to ventilate your mind and let the cobwebs out of it. Use this cup to catch the tiny ads:
    Building a Better World in your Backyard by Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop
    https://coderanch.com/wiki/718759/books/Building-World-Backyard-Paul-Wheaton
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