I found it a very tough experience, much harder than I expected. But more on that later.
My preparation was:
the OCAJP book by Jeanne & Scott
Since I am not a professional programmer, but only a hobbyist, I did not want to spend too much money on books. A while ago, there was a book topic abot Mala Gupta's OCAJP book, and I was really impressed by it. But I could buy both OCAJP and OCPJP books from Jeanne and Scott at a discount at Amazon.de, so I decided to go for that. Well, I just started to read the OCPJP book, but the OCAJP book is excellent as well. I wnet through it twice, an when I scored well on the questions I thought it was time to start part two.
The Enthuware mock exams
I hinted it before, but just when you think you have mastered all things OCAJP, I failed Test 1, scoring only 64%. Now, that was quite a shock, and my self confidence suffered badly. Would I ever get these nasty questions correct, with all these tricks and smoke curtains? Yesterday I did the "day before" test, scoring 84%.
Now, everybody tells you that the real exam is much easier than the Entuwares mock exams, so that should have given me peace of mind. Nevertheless, I had a good impression of my weaknesses, but these were in such an abundance, that I decided, yesterday evening, to close all books and tests, and go for it.
So, this morning it was reality: I was sitting in front of a PC with a very big monitor, and I started.
Question 1 was hard, I could not believe what I was reading. No clue about what the answer should be, and I suddenly got the feeling that I knew nothing anymore of what I had learned the past weeks.
After I finished question 10, one half hour was already gone, and worse, I had the feeling that I had all questions wrong.
I decided, while panicking, not to panick (easier said than done), and I decided to change my strategy. At home, I did the Enthuware exams as fast as I could, needing only 1.30 to 1.45 hours, and that worked very well. But here it didn't. I simply could not get any speed in answering the questions. So I decided to answer each question, taking as much time as needed, and giving up any attempt to review my questions later. As an aside, at question 41 I discovered I had forgotten to mark any doubtful question...
Most important part of this strategy change: do not panick if a question takes 3 minutes to answer, there will be also questions that will take less than a minute. Ypu could say that I gave each question just one shot. I mention this, because other people at the Ranch talk about other strategies. So, if you are struggling like I did, then my strategy might be helpful to some.
I finished question 80 with ony 10 minutes to go. I felt exhausted, also due to my physical condition, so I decided not to hesitate any longer and finished the exam.
Omn my way home, I felt very insecure. Unlike most exams I ever made, I really had no clue how I had performed, and actually, failing the exam alltogether was certainly possible. By the time I got home, Oracle had sent an email that my result was available. So, with shaking hands, I went to Certview, and there it was: 90%. What a relieve...
So, to all future OCAJP exam candidates: if you are well prepared, do not panick, you will pass the exam.
* Jeanne and Scott for their excellent book. You certainly get the important things you need to know.
* the people from Enthuware. The questions they come up with really show you all of your weaknesses. The tenner (ex vat) is money extremely well spent. I think that Enthuware (and probably similar companies) are a true "conditio sine qua non"
* CodeRanch and all of its people: you certainly learn very much of Java thanks to all the people raidsing questions or answering them.
Piet, cowgratulations Was waiting for this post for few days, now is done.
But I'm still wondering, you never said, what were your motivation to go and get one?
posted 2 years ago
my only motivation is to proof to myself that I can do it, and that I could have been a decent programmer if I had choosen the IT path at the start of my career (I am now at the end of my career). I have always liked programming, and I liked Java as well (certainly since it came free of charge, including a free NetBeans). I have done some courses at Coursera too, Scala, R, Python, and it is still much fun to do it. My next plan is to do the OCPJP, and then, well, probably some Web based applications. What exactly, I have no clue yet, but I will ask the good people at the Ranch here by that time.
I'm also preparing for OCAJP 8 and I also decided to by Enthuware for mock test. I have one clarification,
Did you got exam questions from Enthuware or Did you got similar type question from Enthuware mock test?
I'm sorry for asking this question because I have one week for preparation only and need to take the exam then only I can claim my reimbursement for the certification else I won't get the certification money.
Congratulations champion! Great achievement Now it's time to relax a bit and have a (well-deserved) (or 2 or 3). And if you want to spoil yourself have a Belgian beer, our beers are the best of the world
Thanks for sharing your experiences. Other ranchers will definitely benefit! Have a cow!