A few days ago, I passed the OCP Java SE 8 exam. The preparation of the exam took me about 3 months and it went very smoothly with all those great resources available.
First and foremost, Jeanne and Scott's books are truly great and spot-on. In addition to being great teachers, the insights given about the exam objectives as well as the common "tricks and traps" from the examinators are a must have for an efficient preparation. The review questions and mock exams were numerous, hard and full of subtleties, just like they should be. So a huge thank you and congratulations to both of you for these fine guides!
As I have not a lot of Java experience (but plenty of C++ and JS), I followed Jeanne and Scott advice and, whenever I had a doubt about how something worked, I wrote programs using notepad and the command line. It helped a lot in "muscularly memorizing" the precise syntax. Another good method is, when doing the mock questions, to really read out in your head (subvocalizing) the code snippets ; after a while, you can detect when the code "sounds" bad.
I've been mostly lurking on the coderanch forums, in the beginning for the erratas, and then for more general questions. A big thank you to all participants.
Finally, after studying the book, I used the Enthuware mock exams. I did them all (which took quite a bit of time..). The great things about these tests is that they better represent the actual exam taking experience: there are the full 85 questions in most exams (so I was able to work my endurance and how to manage time), the number of correct answers for a question is known and there is a strike-out feature (so I practiced my "unprofessional guessing" skill). And with the sheer number of questions available, taking the test soon becomes second nature. An interesting aspect of Enthuware is that there a certain number of very obscure questions that felt sometimes out of scope. But at least, you get prepared for that and learn to move on (as well as learning about a few more dark corners of Java when you're reviewing the answers...). And the price is a steal. So a big thank you to the Enthuware team.
I did had a passing score in all the mock tests (except for the assessment tests - a very humbling experience), but it wasn't stellar. I found the actual exam to be way easier. The only surprise I had was with JDBC: there were questions about moveToInsertRow and setMaxRows which are not covered in Jeanne and Scott's book. Enthuware went deeper in this area.
I hadn't reported about it, but I had used the same preparation plan for the OCA last year (took me about 2 months and scored 98%). It might not be the most original method (actually, I took it from the ranch!), but in both cases it was efficient, enriching, and, dare I say, fun!
So again, a big thank you to you all. And gook luck to all aspiring OCA & OCP!
And now is the time for me to stock up on belgian beer!
Also, thank you so much for the kind words about our book! Jeanne and I strive to make our second book as accurate and applicable to the OCP 8 exam as possible, and I'm thrilled to hear you enjoyed it so much. Feel free to write a book review on Amazin sharing your experience.