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Possible to Study on your own?

 
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Hi guys,
i have been thinking bout takin the exam myself. I have bout 4 months of experince with Java. i was wondering, Are all you guys that are takin the exam doing it thru an institute or doing a self study?. About how many months of preperation do you guys figure I would need, and how many hours a day? Also what all books would you guys recommend, after Head First java ofcourse.
 
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Hi,

First of all, welcome to JavaRanch.

Maybe my answer will be useful for you.

I'm really new to Java and unlike you, I have no previous Java experience. My only background was C++, Delphi and Visual Basic background.

I've started to study since last January 18th, by myself, at home, with no teacher, 4 hours a day, 6 days a week, always after my business days and sometimes on sundays.

My exam will be on next April 22nd. So you can see I've spent around 3 full months studying Java.

I'm really sure you can study by yourself and get certified in 2 months and a half or so. But in order to get certified I think you have to have discipline, determination and always look ahead aiming your objectives.

I confess you that during my self study journey, I missed some incentive a few times and become overwhelmed but I've always looked ahead and kept moving on without discourage.

Concerning the books, my suggestion is K&B Study Guide. I'm really sure this book is enough for you.

Head First Java is really for Java newcomers. Once you have already a Java background I think this book is not necessary.

Another tip, try to focus your self study in only one or at most two books.

My other suggestion is that you should spend at least 15 minutes a day at JavaRanch. I personally have increased my Java skills for the exam after join to JavaRanch.

Once this forum is really focused on the exam, you will get tips about what to study and what do not.

Good luck man and all the best.

Best Regards.
 
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Good luck for your test Edisandro. You 'll certainly get atmost 101%

Arno
 
Amit Batra
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Thanks for the Input and best of luck on your exam. Do let us know How it went.
 
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In my dark and horrid past, I ran an organization that prepared newcomers for the Java Cert exam. As such, I have some insight you may find useful.

1) Go through one book at a time, don't skip around between books because it will confuse you. Specifically with regard to the certification objectives, areas like Threads may be taught differently in different books. As such, its best to have one teacher at-a-time instead of numerous. Learning it multiple ways AT THE SAME TIME, will lead to confusion.

2) If you're brand-spanking new to Java, don't go directly to a Java Cert book. These books were not created for beginners, they were created for people who understand the basics of Java programming. Instead, spend a month or so getting to know the language with a "Learning Java" type book. If you are new to programming altogether, you may want to precede the learning java type book with a basic computer programming book.

3) Code Code Code. There is a lesson to be learned in every code example of every book you read. Learn the lessons and learn to code at the same time. The difference between someone who has spent the time to code and someone who is merely memorizing answers is immediately apparent in thier test progress. Someone who codes regularly will quickly pick-up on the intricate questions being asked on the exam. Someone who is memorizing answers will get lost easily once the questions deviate from what they've memorized. On the job, the memorized-no-coding person will be quickly fired, while also proving the test to be inneffective in the minds of the employer who f/hired them.

4) Study with friends. There's an old axiom that goes: "if you put 100 programmers in a room and give them 1 problem, you'll get 100 different answers, and most will work." By studying with others you'll be able to see how others approach the questions and exercises you'll be studying. When I study for a certification, my initial approach to a problem is rarely the best one. But if I'm studying with others, I can see many approaches and find out which one is best for me.

5) Use Mnemonic Devices. The thing about memorable mnemonics is that they help put information into your long-term memory instead of your near-short term memory. This means you won't be "brain-dumping" your newly learned lessons after the test. My favorite mnemonics are acronyms. Its amazing how memorable a lasciviously written acronym is. :-) Make 'em dirty to make 'em last.

6) Don't try to learn the entire language in a week/month, take your time. There's the French cognitive psychologist name Piaget who postulated that adults learn sequentially and cumulatively. Basically what this means is that before you can learn how to write an inner class, you first need to learn how to write a regular class. You can try and skip right to the inner class if you want, but you won't learn the "whys" of it. Its just as important for us human beings to learn the background of something as it is to learn the thing itself. Now, if you're a martian, venusian, or uranusian, that may not apply. if you are a venusian learning Java, I say welcome to our new Venusian Overlords!

7) Learn "why" something works a given way, not just that it works one way. Other psychologists have postulated that there are three stages to learning. There's recognizing something, rote memorization, and being able to create something new from your memorized material. This is usually applied to the learning of human languages, but it applied to Java Certification prep as well. Here's how they differ. Being able to recognize that something is written in Java is nice, but you have to know how to use the language also. Recognizing but not really being able to use is the first level. Not really useful. Being able to recite all parts of the Java Language is certainly better than just recognizing it. Unfortunately, being able to recite the number of bits in an Integer doesn't mean you'll be able to use it in code. Finally, being able to create algorithms in the language, that's where you want to be before you take your certification exam. That's what employers are looking for. That's why K&M ask you questions that make you think. And that's why the people that can use the language most effectively are the ones who don't get laid off.

That's all for now. Perhaps when I feel like sharing again I'll add to the list. Until then, feel free to add your own!

 
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I learned java by studying for the scjp, and working as a java deployer/entry level developer. It took me a year of study 7 days a week to pass the exam. Sometimes 2 hours a day, usually more. I ended up reading 5 or 6 cert books as well as many others.

"Thinking in java" was one of the more useful books.

I have found that the black and white sybex exam prep books to be only useful to get terminology and concepts accross. But if you don't know either that is a good way to go.

Do not attempt the actual exam unless you can pass several different practice exams. I hightly recommend whizlabs.
 
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This might seem odd, but I've never spoken face-to-face with someone who knows Java.
 
Mike Van
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Originally posted by marc weber:
This might seem odd, but I've never spoken face-to-face with someone who knows Java.



I know what you mean. I've been introduced, but Java... she hides within herself. Do any of us truly know her? If a bear evacuates in the woods, and nobody is there to rate the odiferousness, does it smell?
[ April 20, 2006: Message edited by: Mike Van ]
 
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Hey Mike, great response. I think I am going to copy and paste it into our FAQ.

Mark
 
Mike Van
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Originally posted by Mark Spritzler:
Hey Mike, great response. I think I am going to copy and paste it into our FAQ.

Mark



Stop it, you're making my pants tight. If there's anything else I can do, let me know. I've been a loud Java evangelist since '99, and am happy to please.
 
Amit Batra
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Hey guys,
thanks for all the great input. speacial thanks to Mike for his exhaustive writeup on the dos and donts whilst preparing for the exam I will definately keep them in mind. My confidence has certainly been uplifted and each day that I spend browsing this forum I feel more and more confident that I can go it alone.

Regards
Amit
 
Edisandro Bessa
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Hi Amit,

Just to give you some more stimulus, please check it out.
 
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