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Passed VMware Spring Professional 2021 with 433/500 Score. Some Guides and Infos

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My background is a Java back-end developer. I have been using Spring for more than 3 years although the Spring features that I usually used was probably less than 50% which was covered by the exam. I'll share you some guide, tips and info about the exam.

About the Exam

Like they said in their official study guide, the questions focus more on the general layer, however it doesn't mean it's easy because although you don't deal with low level stuffs like in OCP you still need to understand the behaviors and characters of various Spring parts covered in their study guide, and missing some understanding of the behaviors/characters can be fatal and make you fail the exam.
Most questions have obvious right answers if you have studied hard or have good experience with Spring but there are enough questions that can confuse you and make you fail the exam. I had around 15 marked questions on my first reaching the end of the questions. Fortunately, they always tell us the number of the right answers and there is enough time for you to review everything from the beginning, so for those doubtful questions, you can review them and try to eliminate the wrong answers. Make sure that you use the full 90 minutes.

Two Biggest Challenges  
1. Sometimes there are specific behaviors that you don't know since the overall topic covers a lot of part. Try your best to eliminate the wrong ones or guess the right ones since they always tell us the number of the right answers.
2. Sometimes the question can touch the detailed part that you didn't expect would show up on the exam. Make you sure you study all parts in their study guide in detail. For example, make sure you remember all controller method arguments in request mapping even the uncommon ones. Sometimes it even tests a pretty low detail like whether you know that a certain annotation attribute exists or not.

My Preparation

Pivotal Certified Professional Core Spring 5 Developer Exam
Core Spring 5 Certification in Detail
(My old book, it was outdated but it was still useful ) Spring in Action 4th Edition
(My old book, it was outdated but it was still useful ) Professional Java for Web Application

About Mock Exam
I think mock exams are worth to do because although a lot of mock exams are too simple, some of the mock exam questions are good and can help you to prepare. One thing to note is although the real exam won't go into very detailed coding, it also won't ask you simple questions like "What is the annotation that marks a class as a configuration ?"(like a lot of mock exam questions). It tests your understanding of various behaviors and characteristics from certain conditions.

Some mock exams that I have tried:

- Spring-SQCM, good questions, some of them are trickly like in the real exams but outdated and there are wrong answers, there are a lot of errors in the last part
- Certification-questions, a lot of the questions are similar to Spring-SQCM
- Whizlab, good original questions, there are some errors and wrong answers too.
- Other free mock exams and free trial mock exams.

Please keep in mind that some of these mock exams give wrong answers so when you feel in doubt make sure you check whether their answers are right or not. The most common one is the --debug flag when running a Spring Boot app actually doesn't change the level to DEBUG, but most mock exam questions said so.

Last I have to say that although the exam is not easy but it's not very hard either. As long as you study well and understand the covered topics in their study guide pretty detail, you should be able to pass the exam no problem. Good luck for those who want to take the exam.
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