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Failed 1z0-819 today

 
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I took the 1z0-819 today and failed with 59%.

As a preface, I haven't worked in software development or went to school for it. I have a Linux admin/DevOps background, with experience in a few scripting languages(bash, python, powershell, etc..). I started learning programming last May with CodeAcademy, Think Java book, Helsinki's free Java MOOC. Programming is quite different than IT and it took me a lot of work to understand basic concepts.

I prepared for the 815+816 with Hahnuman's 815 book, and Jeanne and Scott's 815+816 books.

I was ready to take the 815 in October, but I found out that the 816 was being retired, so I cancelled and set my goal on the 819 instead. I tried to get a refund from Oracle because I didn't know how long it would take me to be ready for the 816, but they refused. I never planned to buy the voucher and be pressured to take the exam in X days. I have about 5 months to be ready for the 819 before the voucher expires.

I thought that was enough time. But as I was going through the 816 book, pretty much everything in the book was a brand new concept/library to me. When I talk to other devs, I realized that, except for Security/Localization/Modules, they knew everything from having real world experience. It took me ~2.5 months to fully go through the 816 book. I didn't skip any part, making sure I understand the topic fully before moving on.

I didn't use any of the per-topic enthuware tests to make sure I didn't remember any question. I took all 22 tests from Enthuware's 819 test bank. Average score for first-try was 69%. Scores ranged from 42%(test 4) to 89%(test 15). No cheating whatsoever on these tests.
I take my time after each test to go over all of the questions and re-learn re-read on the topics that I missed. My scores were definitely improving over time. I took the test with the lowest score(test 4) again 1.5 months later (to make sure I forgot the questions) and passed with 70%. I failed the last Unique test at 62% though. At 69% average score on first tries, I thought I was in a safe range because the score of people who passed the exam is about 6 points higher than their enthuware average. But maybe some confirmation bias is going on because only people who passed the test felt enthusiastic enough to report their score.

I did the questions on Oracle's java magazine quizzes, and got most of them right(no cheating).

The real test was very hard with a lot of "do not compile" questions with long code. I had 5 questions on loops alone, which takes a long time to solve(which I marked to do last). Quite a few questions with ~10 answers; I hazily remember that some answer lists end with the letter J. Looking at my feedback report, it seems like most of the topics I got wrong on are from the 815 (non-highlighted fields in the attachment), smh. Maybe I focused too much on topics from the 816, so I forgot some topics on the 815. I had questions on Modules, Security, IO, NIO and Concurrency(CyclicBarrier, Executors, Atomic), but they are not on the report, so I know I got them right. There was a question on Map.Entry.comparingByX, and I don't remember seeing it before, so I thought it wouldn't compile. The experience was nerve-wrecking that even a sneeze would probably give me a heart attack.

One other thing during my prepping process was that my code reading speed was way too slow compared to other devs(I realized this when I was asking them for help to review concepts/libraries, etc). I probably would have done better if my code reading speed was faster(because time was so limited), but Idk what could I have done to improve code reading speed besides having experience. For this reason, I wanted more time to be ready, but my voucher expiration date came up, so I had to take the plunge.

Because the cost of the voucher is so high, I won't be attempting the test again. The limited time factor and the scope of the material are most likely designed for experienced developers with real world experience. I definitely bit off more than I can chew with the 819.

Overall, it was a good experience prepping for the exam because I learned so much in the process. I did everything I could to study for every topic genuinely, sometimes re-reading a topic 4-5 times; took lots of notes and created ~2,500 flash cards. Even after failing, I felt accomplished(and a huge relief to boost).

Thank you Scott, Jeanne, and Enthuware for providing excellent prepping material at affordable prices. Most of your material were spot on.

I provided the time frame of when I started learning programming so hopefully those who are on the same boat can measure their readiness against me (and other test takers) before taking the test.
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Thank you for sharing. You definitely learned a lot so at least you can take that away!
 
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So sorry, the 1Z0-819 is a really tough exam.  I think if there was more time it would be fair, but as you pointed out, speed and pacing are important.  It helps on problems when you can "figure out" what they are asking for quickly.  Like if have a lot of constructors in a question, look for obvious misuses of super() or this().

I'm glad you learned so much, that's the real purpose of certifications, to improve your education!
 
Scott Selikoff
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Oracle announced a big discount today for Java's 25th Anniversary.  If you're feeling up to it, you can take it again in the next 2 months for only $25:

https://coderanch.com/t/739738/certification/Java-exam-honor-Java-anniversary
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