I just passed the SCJP 1.4 exam yesterday...Yeah! My score was 96%.
I spent a lot of time preparing for this test so I am just so happy.
I had taken an excellent Java class in the Spring of 2003 (Hofstra UCCE...can you guess how I found out about JavaRanch? I definitely owe the class instructor, Thomas Paul, many thanks). However, I didn't begin to study for the certification test until about 1 year ago. Since then I've spent about 6 months in total studying for the test.
I read the following books to review Java in general:
1) HFJ by K&B - I absolutely LOVED this book and think it should be everyone's first book in Java. The basics are very clearly explained and the authors have a really great sense of humor.
2) Just Java 2 by Peter Van Der Linden - I don't know why this book isn't mentioned more often because it's just so well done...it's written in a easy to follow conversational manner and it covers Java at a greater depth than HFJ.
Next I read the K&B ver 1.4 Sun Certified Programmer Study Guide for Java 2. It is such an immensely helpful book that is geared specifically for the SCJP test. It points out all the gotchas and I'm sure studying it contributed a lot to my high score. I don't know anything about Biodiesel but this book ROCKS!
Finally, I worked on mock exams - mainly with the Whizlabs SCJP 1.4 exam simulator. I completed all 12 tests (Diagnostic, 10 practice and Final) and my average score was about 75%. I did notice that as I completed more and more mock tests, my scores were consistently getting higher. After I finished taking all the Whizlabs mocks, I re-took the 3 Whizlabs mock tests that I had scored the lowest on and this time my average score was 85%.
The day before the test I took 2 of Marcus Green's mocks (one was for ver 1.2 and the other was for ver 1.4). I didn't bother to add up the score for the 1.2 version test since I skipped the IO and AWT questions. I scored 91% on Marcus' mock for SE 1.4.
I know everyone says this, but I also found it to be true...I thought the Whizlabs tests were, in general, more difficult than the real exam. I also found Marcus Green's Mock Exam questions to be about the same level as those on the actual exam.
I hope this information concerning how I prepared for this test is helpful. I'd also very much like to thank the Ranchers who helped me when I posted questions for generously taking the time to answer them...Catherine