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Coding style of questions in OCA exam - Closer to Jeanne & Scotts book or EnthuWare?

 
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Hi,

I've been working professionally as a Java Developer for a couple of years (I've been in IT since the mid-80's) but I'm new to the JavaRanch.  I've joined because I'm currently studying for the OCA exam and it has to be said that I have not found studying for it at all easy - the types of issues, code examples and programming style are so different to what I've worked with in real life.

I've studiously worked through the OCA Study Guide (by Jeanne Boyarsky and Scott Selikoff) and have done all of the chapter reviews, flash cards and the 3 online exams; I failed the first sample exam and passed the last two.  I'm now about to start doing the chapter reviews again and then will retake the sample exams.

After the 3 sample exams above I also did the EnthuWare trial questions and failed miserably by running out of time - I only managed to answer 17 of the 27 questions in 48 minutes and only just scrapped in with a 70% pass on those I did manage to answer.  I found the coding style of EnthuWare questions to be quite different to those in Jeanne and Scott's book and I was somewhat thrown by this.  I found the code really difficult to read and hence it took me longer to decipher.

This failure on my part with the EnthuWare trial questions (I have now bought the full suite) brings me to my question:  Is the coding style of questions of the real exam closer to EnthuWare's examples or those in Jeanne and Scott's book?  I'd just like to know or at least have an inkling so that, in addition to learning the subject matter, I can practice reading the appropriately (bad) style of code.

Regards

John

nb. Given that the real exam is currently 88 questions over 2.5 hours, whenever I took the online same tests and exams I have tried to make sure that I do not spend more than the average allotted 102 seconds per question. With Jeanne and Scott's I had no issues and came in under time but ran out of time with EnthuWare.







Regards,

John
 
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Hi John,

I'm on the same way and have had almost the same troubles. I also failed the "preview" EnthuWare test because of running out of time. Answered only 59% correctly.

I've also bought the full version and made two standard tests and the foundation test already. I think, it's a question of practice. Because I have passed all of them. Not with really high scores (under 75%, but still).
There are no line numbers, but often if a question references a line, it is marked in a comment on that line. There is also no need to check the import statements if the question is not about the import or package statement.

What I remember from the OCA Study Guide, it says, that the line numbers are important for the real exam though (because of the import statements). So I would expect the code style like in sybextestbanks (online resource that came with the book).

But I'll subscribe to the thread to follow the answers

Good luck with your preparations!
 
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You will find questions with as well as without line numbers in the exam. We have deliberately avoided using line numbers because they make it extremely frustrating to copy the code and paste it into the editor to try it out.

You will also notice that most of our code includes the class declaration and the main method. This is also to make it easy for a student to just copy the code and compile/run it. The code in the real exam does not contain this shell if it is not relevant for the question.

So yes, you may find the code a little different but not a whole lot different and also the differences will be the least of your worries after yiu go through all of our tests.

HTH,
Paul.

 
John Simon
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Thanks Viktor, Paul.

The lack of line numbers doesn't bother me - the method of tagging a line with a // comment was clear enough.  I had more issue with, for instance, the lack of spacing especially given the amount of single character variable names and operators that were being crammed into a single statement where operator precedence comes into play.  The type of question that I currently spend/lose the most time on are those that involve nested loops where you need to keep track of variable and loop counters.  Whenever I see a question with a nested loops AND crammed statements my heart sinks as I've not yet come up with a quick surefire method of jotting down the values quickly in such a way that I can keep track of them.  

It all comes down to practice I guess but I'd really like to know whether I should expend more effort on being able to read scrappy, deliberately obfuscated code or whether my time is better spent understanding the subject that is the Java language.  If all of the code in the real exam is similarly deliberately obfuscated then I guess I'm in for a hard time.

John
 
Paul Anilprem
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John Simon wrote:
I had more issue with, for instance, the lack of spacing especially given the amount of single character variable names and operators that were being crammed into a single statement where operator precedence comes into play.  The type of question that I currently spend/lose the most time on are those that involve nested loops where you need to keep track of variable and loop counters.  Whenever I see a question with a nested loops AND crammed statements my heart sinks as I've not yet come up with a quick surefire method of jotting down the values quickly in such a way that I can keep track of them.  



Can you please mention the question id of such a question (any one is fine) so that I can check it out? Because unless the point of the question is to test you on the format, the code should be decently (if not perfectly) formatted. Not to say that all the code in the exam is decently formatted, but we haven't seen anyone getting code that is all on one line or such. Our question bank doesn't have such questions either. If you saw something like that then there could be some other issue.
 
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Hi John, welcome to the Ranch.

John Simon wrote:I had more issue with, for instance, the lack of spacing especially given the amount of single character variable names and operators that were being crammed into a single statement where operator precedence comes into play.

At the very beginning it is normal, but you'll get used to it, eyes need some training on poor formatting. Unfortunately, exam is going to be very close to a poor formatted. Not sure about the underlying reasons to do so, maybe to prepare one to be a good bad code reader.

John Simon wrote:The type of question that I currently spend/lose the most time on are those that involve nested loops where you need to keep track of variable and loop counters.

For this you'll be given some writing material and the material to write on. So you need to remind yourself a manual variables tracking technique. It is understandable that it is quite difficult to keep all variables values in head in such type of exercises.

Good luck on preparation and exam. You'll be fine, sooner or later. For me it also looked very frustrating and scary at first.

 
John Simon
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Paul Anilprem wrote:
Can you please mention the question id of such a question (any one is fine) so that I can check it out? Because unless the point of the question is to test you on the format, the code should be decently (if not perfectly) formatted. Not to say that all the code in the exam is decently formatted, but we haven't seen anyone getting code that is all on one line or such. Our question bank doesn't have such questions either. If you saw something like that then there could be some other issue.



Sorry Paul, I didn't mean that all of the code was on one line - the formatting was fine.  And, to be absolutely clear, I'm not dissing EnthuWare at all. I meant that personally I generally find it hard to read statements that do not have spacing between the variables (e.g. the second last line in Q12 in the EnthuWare trial) and they take me an overly long time to decipher.  With regards to that Q12 (which I did actually get correct), it wasn't until just now that I read the explanation for it and saw "This is a simple but frustratingly time consuming question. Expect such questions in the exam.". Doh!

Thanks

John
 
Liutauras Vilda
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John, just to re-iterate, what code formatting style you see on EnthuWare mock questions, this is what you should expect on actual exam basically. So I think you just need to get used to it. Give yourself some time.
 
John Simon
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Liutauras Vilda wrote:John, just to re-iterate, what code formatting style you see on EnthuWare mock questions, this is what you should expect on actual exam basically. So I think you just need to get used to it. Give yourself some time.


Ok, thank you.  
 
Paul Anilprem
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John Simon wrote:
Sorry Paul, I didn't mean that all of the code was on one line - the formatting was fine.  And, to be absolutely clear, I'm not dissing EnthuWare at all.


That's cool. I didn't think you were either. I was only trying to make sure there wasn't any bug in the viewer or any other issue which messed up the formatting  
 
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