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Passed OCP 17 After a Year of Studying

 
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Today I passed the OCP Java 17 certification. This is my 2nd take for the exam and I'm glad that I passed it this time.

I started studying during the Christmas holiday break in 2022. Yes, that was a long time ago. My company gave me an Oracle unlimited subscription which includes 5 exam vouchers for any Oracle certification. So that's why I decided to take the latest Java certification available and it took me more than a year to pass this difficult exam. On some days I am very diligent in studying but work comes in the way and breaks some of the days that became weeks, then months that I was supposed to study.

I did not use the video tutorial from Oracle as I find reading the book more enjoyable to me. I read the infamous OCP Study Guide by Scott and Jeanne on a Kindle app using my iPad. There I highlighted and took notes like crazy of all the things I currently do not know until 1st week of February. I transferred these notes to Obsidian, my note-taking app so I can easily review the notes in a summarized format. My notes include a lot of source code examples, tips, mnemonics I used to remember things and all the easily forgettable ideas. If I were to print this it may take 50-70 pages of A4 paper. I re-read the study guide once again and it took me until April to finish my 2nd reading and note-taking.

After this, I got busy at work and was not able to study for a few months.

I also used Enthuware for the mock exam and started studying again in August and used IntelliJ as my IDE for testing codes. It took me 1 month to study as my vouchers are expiring in September. And used Luka Popov's Udemy video for a quick refresher on some of the chapters. Then I took the exam and failed at 62%.

After that, I took a long break and studied again starting in January 2024. This time I used the objective-wise test of Enthuware and memorized each topic until I got a perfect score in each topic exam. I have read this strategy in one of the passers here in Code Ranch and I think this is a saver for me. So thank you for this tip

I also joined Simon Robert's March class. Overall it was helpful that I joined this class. It is good that there is a live interaction with the instructor so we can ask easily some of the harder topics. Thanks Simon for your tips.

And today I took the exam and finally passed. This was an exhausting certification study for me. I just want to get this certification for myself as I wanted this since I was in college and Java is one of my favorite subjects that time.

In the exam, there are 4-5 questions regarding modules, 3-4 questions about JDBC, a lot of concurrency questions, and also with streams. Also there is now a proctor who asks for your ID unlike months ago. They just ask for my ID and show it in the camera and they have not checked the room where I'm taking the exam.

One question that I still remember is about binary search which I got wrong and looks like this:



And also I got the IO buffer question like in the enthuware:

Given that a file named test1.txt contains the following data: 0123456789 and test2.txt is non-existent

and the following code snippet:

And the answer to this is: 0123456789234567

My final tip for this exam is do not stop studying and keep your momentum. You will forget some of the things you have studied once you get a break. My trick for forcing me to study is going to a nearby coffee shop and studying there (with headphones on). There I was forced to study and not be lazy just like if I'm at home (plus the coffee which makes me awake).
 
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Congratulations !    
 
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Congratulations Eric, that's a worthy achievement, and I'm very glad you found our interaction useful.

Yes the question about binary search in a non-sorted list is frankly bogus; at best it's a question about data structures, not about Java. At worst, it's flat out wrong, since the API documentation states that the result is undefined.

Good job!
Cheers,
Simon
 
Eric Manaois
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Yeah, thank you. I still remember most of the questions I got wrong during the class. It was a wake-up call for me what I still lack especially that Liskov substitution topic. Speaking of waking up, I was still awake that time from 10 pm to 3 am. I was determined to pass this exam because it was so long overdue. And thank you for the class, it was a big help for me.
 
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Thank you Eric for your honest post and congratulations for passing your exam.
It is similar situation for me with longer break times because of work and private distractions (i have not passed the 17 exam yet).
I am java 6 and 8 certified, then failed for the java 11 exam two times.
Right now i am studying for the 17 exam, although i am a bit dissapointed about how it is going.

My opinion about the Oracle java certification is that i get more and more disillusioned because for me it is obvious that only very few pass it without the enthuware 'cheat' tests.
Why do i write 'cheat' ? Well even if Enthuware guys or whoever says it is only similar, i think it is often enough nearly the same or very close to identical questions.
Don't get me wrong, i dont blame anyone for using enthuware or any mock tests at all, i blame the exam creators because in the end it all gets more and more based on a lie.

What is the aim for this whole certification process ? Well it is to 'prove' that someone who passed has a very good knowledge of the Java language it says. And that companys have a metric to compare workers maybe ?
Shouldn't it be that with a good understanding it should be possible to pass the exam without having memorized questions from mock exams ?
At least this is my opinion.

Don't belive me ? Then Oracle could do an anonymous poll where people answer honestly if they passed and if so, if it was without mock exam questions.
The percentage of people passing the exam without enthuware or similar will be below 5% for sure. So what is the point ? Knowledge of Java or be able to proof you have above average memory to remember the slightest details so you don't fall for the silly 'don't compile' answers ?

Once is was enthusiastic about java certification. I still think the idea is great, but if the Exam creators don't change direction i think it will loose relevance, at least here in germany.

Which brings me to my critics about the exam topic itself.
Proving good knowledge of the Java language is nice, but it should stay 'on earth' with what industry needs.
No Boss is interested in Java certificated people which prooved maybe only they memorized mock exam questions or know the finest details which is just not that relevant on the job.

In Germany most companys use Java and Spring Framework as a defacto standard. I work as consultant/developer, have been in many projects so i think i have a picture.
4-5 questions about module system ? Is it really such a big thing in the states ? Nobody, and i mean it literally, NOBODY uses this here in germany.
The customer i work for right now has dozens of applications with hundreds of classes. Multi module maven or grade builds. Do you really think anybody wants to edit files with export statements ? Ridiculous.
This feature is the most overrated from Oracle since the birth of Java, i don't know, maybe someone has to come here and explain the advantages and why it is worth the maintainance of module files.
Also the questions with 'doesn't compile' are ridiculous in my opinion, there is much argue about that i know. But why not asking questions like 'Why does this not compile ?' It is possible to proove your Java skills without this trick questions. This misses the mark regarding what industry is looking for.

@Eric sorry for this drifting away in my resposne. Your post just triggered my feeling about the certification in general ;)
 
Eric Manaois
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Yeah, I agree with most of your opinion. I think this is the most difficult exam I had in my entire life considering the breadth and depth of the topics. I also don't like that we need to memorize all the command line options for javac, java, jar, jlink, jdeps, and jmod. it's not like we will be using them often like git commands.

I would also like to comment on the use of mock exams. I think it is necessary to use mock exams in any certification exam to know your knowledge gaps. That's why I did the objective-wise exam from Enthuware so I can just focus on that one topic and move on if I know I already mastered that topic. Memorizing the enthuware exam will not make you pass the exam. Because it is just in your short-term memory and I think knowing the whole concept is still far better. Even though I did memorize each exam question in Enthuware, I still forgot them after a few weeks and even my certification result is not that high.

I think the best way to study is to play with the code and try those edge case questions and those weird combinations of commands like putting null to some parameters for example: Collections.sort(list, null) where list is an ArrayList. Yeah, this is a valid command where it will sort the list regularly and not return a NullPointerException. Also, the Java documentation plays a big part if you read them. I only did this in the last weeks of my review and I think this is needed to understand those very tough questions.
 
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Simon Roberts wrote:. . . the API documentation states that the result is undefined. . . .

Isn't there an option for “undefined,” since the question presumes familiarity with that method's API.
 
Simon Roberts
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:

Simon Roberts wrote:. . . the API documentation states that the result is undefined. . . .

Isn't there an option for “undefined,” since the question presumes familiarity with that method's API.



Nope, there was no such option when I took that question, nor when others I've spoken with took it.
 
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Congratulations, Eric!  
Don't let anyone devalue your achievement. There are many ways to cheat in any exam. People who want to cheat, cheat and pass the exam on the first try itself. There is no dearth of "dumps". People who want to learn, use all means to learn  
 
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Thomas Roth wrote: it is obvious that only very few pass it without the enthuware 'cheat' tests.
Why do i write 'cheat' ? Well even if Enthuware guys or whoever says it is only similar, i think it is often enough nearly the same or very close to identical questions.


You are making serious allegations. Do you have proof? Otherwise, it is irresponsible and wrong to slander Enthuware with baseless and unfounded allegations.
@moderators please take a look.

Note: I have no connection to Enthuware at all - I only recently purchased their exams and am doing them.
 
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Congratulations Eric! That's a great achievement. It's amazing that you were able to pass after a year of studying. It shows your dedication and hard work. Keep up the good work and keep challenging yourself!
 
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Congratulations Eric,
I have a request, can you share your obsidian notes or any other format. I am also preparing to support 1ZO-829 and it would help me a lot to save time. I already have a summary on paper but without code. It would help me a lot.

Thank you!

P.S.: If anyone knows where I can find a plan and a summary, it would help me.
 
Anil Philip
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Anil Philip wrote:

Thomas Roth wrote: it is obvious that only very few pass it without the enthuware 'cheat' tests.
Why do i write 'cheat' ? Well even if Enthuware guys or whoever says it is only similar, i think it is often enough nearly the same or very close to identical questions.


You are making serious allegations. Do you have proof? Otherwise, it is irresponsible and wrong to slander Enthuware with baseless and unfounded allegations.
@moderators please take a look.

Note: I have no connection to Enthuware at all - I only recently purchased their exams and am doing them.



I did the exam today - second attempt. I also did 16 out of 20 Enthuware mock exams. I can confidently say the questions are not the same.
Only one question on DST was similar - perhaps it is a well-known question.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Anil Philip wrote:. . . I did the exam today . . .

How did you do?

. . . Only one question on DST was similar - perhaps it is a well-known question.

You were right to tell off TR. A similar question does not constitute a “cheat;” indeed cheating will only work if the questions are exactly the same.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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A few minutes ago, I wrote:. . . cheating will only work if the questions are exactly the same.

Look at the notorious lion and tiger question of Jeanne Boyarsky's. Let's imagine that somebody has cheated by learning that question off by heart, and the following question appears in the exam:-

What is the result of executing the following code?

  • 1: Prints -1
  • 2: Prints 0
  • 3: Prints 5
  • 4: Prints 2
  • 5: None of the above
  • Anybody who is cheating by learning the question off by heart will confidently give the wrong answer to the question. I challenge you to take not more than 30″ and give us the correct answer to that question. Questions similar to the real question are no use for cheating, and saying so is untrue.
     
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    Thomas Roth wrote:Once is was enthusiastic about java certification. I still think the idea is great, but if the Exam creators don't change direction i think it will loose relevance, at least here in germany.


    I've worked in the UK, Germany and the US for numerous companies, and I've never come across a situation where any Java exam was valued. It's an insignificant indication that an applicant may have some skill of interest, but the interview process will test the relevant ones in much more detail anyway. Obviously, that's anecdotal evidence, but I advise anyone considering spending time and money on this to ask themselves if there are maybe better ways of preparing for a tech career.
     
    Paul Anilprem
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    Tim Moores wrote:

    Thomas Roth wrote:Once is was enthusiastic about java certification. I still think the idea is great, but if the Exam creators don't change direction i think it will loose relevance, at least here in germany.


    I've worked in the UK, Germany and the US for numerous companies, and I've never come across a situation where any Java exam was valued. It's an insignificant indication that an applicant may have some skill of interest, but the interview process will test the relevant ones in much more detail anyway. Obviously, that's anecdotal evidence, but I advise anyone considering spending time and money on this to ask themselves if there are maybe better ways of preparing for a tech career.


    People have been cheating on exams ever since exams came into existence. There are factories that will do homeworks, essays, assignments, and Phd theses for you for God's sake! Nobody gets hired merely upon presenting a degree or a certification anyway.
    A certification may be insignificant to the interviewer but it can be a very significant step in one's own learning process. What is you have learnt will be reflected in what you say in the interview.
     
    Anil Philip
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    Eric Manaois wrote:

    And also I got the IO buffer question like in the enthuware:

    Given that a file named test1.txt contains the following data: 0123456789 and test2.txt is non-existent

    and the following code snippet:

    And the answer to this is: 0123456789234567



    This example is explained in Boyarsky's textbook or practice tests.
     
    Simon Roberts
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    I will say that the current Oracle exams disappoint me in one respect. The objectives are unreasonably vague. This is not good psychometric practice, but when I asked, the position seemed to be on the lines of "vague objectives force broader learning". I disagree, what it does really is to push the responsibility for describing the topic boundaries onto third parties. In my classes on these topics, I try to describe the empirical boundaries of the exam. I'm certain that the Enuthware tests, and most of the books (though probably not the official one!) try to do the same. I don't think that's cheating, I think that's making up for the deficiency I described.

    Frankly the current objectives amount to "know everything about Java" which is ridiculous, even James Gosling would never have made such a claim. Indeed, I'm reminded of the first train-the-trainer class I attended in 1995, one of the folks attending was Frank Yellin (yes, the second name on the cover of the JVM specification book). We asked why he was there, and he said that there was tons of stuff, particularly about libraries, that he didn't have a clue about.

    This, of course, is also one of the great values of this forum; when folks find a new question that brings a new topic into play, they can't help themselves, but they can help others. That's also why I ask all my students to tell me if they see something on the exam that I told them I believed would not be.

     
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    Re: the I/O buffer question

    That question seems very dubious to me.  Do they include some disclaimer like "assume that read() always reads the maximum number of characters possible"?  Because in general, read() makes no such guarantee, so the result would be unreliable, at least in theory.  In practice, the file is so short you're almost certain to get the same result every time.  But it's troubling...
     
    Campbell Ritchie
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    Earlier today, I wrote:. . . How did you do?

    Now I have seen you on the Wall of Fame. Congratulations
     
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    Anil Philip wrote:Only one question on DST was similar - perhaps it is a well-known question.


    I think it's more that there are only so many ways to ask questions about DST.
     
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    I am curious if real exam prompts how many correct options you should check.
    In Enthuware mocks this is always mentioned, and I am worried my scores are good on mock exams, but defenetely won't be on real exams if I will not know how many answers I should check.
     
    Adrian Newy
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    I revoke my question . Got Selikoff/Boyarsky book and in first chapters it is metioned that:
    """
    If a question has more than one answer, the question specifically states
    exactly how many correct answers there are."""
     
    Campbell Ritchie
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    Welcome to the Ranch

    Adrian Newy wrote:. . . how many correct options you should check. . . .

    It wouild be very unfair not to give that information. If it says there are two right answers, you must click two options, or you will lose the mark.
     
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    Eric Manaois wrote:Today I passed the OCP Java 17 certification.  . . . (plus the coffee which makes me awake).


    Many many congratulations!
     
    Campbell Ritchie
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    LB: welcome to the Ranch
     
    Don't get me started about those stupid light bulbs.
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