This Tuesday I took my first certification exam, and passed it with a 93% thanks a lot to what I learned here at CodeRanch. For a little background, I have worked as a Java Software Developer/Programmer for about 6 years now, and finally decided to go for the actual certification. I spent about 9 days studying for 7-10 hours each day, as well as buying and using the Enthuware 1Z0-803 practice exams (due to what I read from many people taking the exam in the CodeRanch forums). I might have been able to pass it without the information I gained from Enthuware, but it would have been very close and definitely not a sure-thing.
Before I did any practice exam I copied the Exam Topics from the Oracle certification site, and essentially used that as my study guide. I went through each topic and tried to estimate my current understanding, then did google searches for tutorials and information about the topic taking notes until I felt I understood it. After I had done that through the whole of the Exam Topics I got the Enthuware exams and started taking those. After each exam I would go through all the questions I thought were difficult along with the ones I got wrong, and would do more research until I felt I had a better handle on them.
At first I had aimed to earn this certification without spending anything on study materials, relying only on web searches and Oracle/API information, but figured the price of Enthuware was cheap enough to take the plunge. It was completely worth every cent.
Enthuware test scores were:
Starter Test - 71%
Test 1 - 63%
Test 2 - 70%
Test 3 - 77%
Test 4 - 69%
Test 5 - 74%
Test 6 - 86%
Last Day Test - 80% (taken the day before real exam)
In the end it worked out great, and I received a 93% on the real exam with 30 minutes left on the clock. The actual exam felt less tricky than the practice exams.