I am very glad to tell all ranchers that by the Grace of God, I have passed SCJP 5.0 exam with a mind-blowing score of ONE HUNDRED PERCENT (100%) !!! Well, its mind-blowing atleast for me--a 17 year old pre-medical :roll: student, here in Peshawar, Pakistan.
I can say with utmost certainity that had I not visited Java Ranch then I would have not even passed the test!!! And of course, had I not read the K&B study guide then too I would have failed the test. My best regards are for Kathy Sierra & Bert Bates for writing this splendid great brilliant marvelleous (insert-three-thousand-other-words-here) book!!!
I would like to narrate in detail here, my long story about the preparation for this exam. I had done Java when I was in 7th class/grade, about 6 years from now on. I could not take the certification exam then as there was no Prometric Centre in Peshawar. And more importantly, neither did I know anything about the certification exam, nor could I go to the capital, Islambad, to buy vouchers and/or take the test.
Since then, I had been doing Java programming with JDK 1.3, more or less regularly, for making simple things for my own self. The idea to certify came in my mind in September 2006, as now I had a good ADSL internet connection, to find all the info required for the exam.
Though, my real study for the exam was only for 25 days, I had hypothetically started preparing from September, 2006. I first visited Sun's website to find out about the new SCJP 5.0 certification exam. I started off searching for the JDK 1.5 CD & some good book, which would explain the new features. I was highly disappointed as there was hardly any book available for SCJP 5--almost all of them were for JDK 1.4.
Luckily or unluckily, I found Java - The Complete Reference
& Java - How To Program
and finished them within a month. But I must say, don't you never ever study these books for the certification exam!!!
They are not even close to what you will find on the real exam.
After spending one month in this, I decided to read the Java Language Specification & Java API documentation for the relevant packages. I didn't know that I was going for a real rug-ride. I spent almost one-and-half months in this work, but, I had hardly gained anything.
I read through the JSL & it was as if I was trying to grasp something which was well higher than my level of understanding. I learned nearly nothing from the JSL. To increment the suffering, the documentation which I was trying to memorize kept on "dissolving away" from my memory. I had realized in early December that I have been wasting my time in irrelevant things and I badly needed a good book specific to the exam-related knowledge.
It was the greatest thing in my life when I found Java Ranch through a search engine. At first, I couldn't comprehend that I had discovered a Treasure Island!!!
By reading through the FAQs & a few campfire stories and joining the saloon, I realized that this was the one-stop for all info I needed for the exam. Soon, I came to know that the K&B study guide is the dream book for SCJP 5 and I decided to buy it.
Again, it was disappointing to find that there was no copy available in Peshawar or even the capital, Islamabad. I don't know whether this book is available in Karachi, Lahore, etc. or not. But, I managed to get a book of this book from a foreign country.
It was the thing I needed--a book which alone would be sufficient to secure a 90%+ result in the SCJP 5 exam. It contains everything, but, precisely which you need for the exam. I love this book for its vivid explanations, specific purpose, brilliant mock questions & the captivating-and-some-what-humerous style. The mock exam questions in the book were splendid--in fact, they are even tougher & trickier than the ones you'd find in the original exam! I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!
Take my words: its the best you will find on the face of this earth for the SCJP exam. I am really obliged and grateful to Kathy Sierra & Bert Bates for writing this master-piece.
Keep it up!
Since, I started studying this book rigorously in my vacations, I finished it in just 4 days. By the time I took the test, I had revised this book nearly 7 times. Although, I believe that the book alone would have been sufficient for a 90%+ result, I took a lot of practice exams.
The K&B Master Exam and the Whizlabs Practice Tests were the best of all. In my opinion, they were tougher than the real exam e.g. I didn't find any question on the real exam, which tried to trip me with an unreachable block of code. On the contrary, I found one such question in Whizlabs. However, I would like to point out here that they were one or two type of questions on the exam, the type of which I had never seen in the mocks. For example, I believe that the following concept was not clear in my mind before the test:- Exam Watch: What would happen in a multi-threaded program if an exception propagated through the run() method of a thread? Will the thread crash only or will the whole program crash? Will the stack trace be printed?
(In a few questions, you will see the exam tripping you on this concept.)
Apart from Whizlabs and K&B, I took a few other mocks, in which, a great one was Marcus Green's exam. Thumbs up to Marcus for the effort!
After all this study, I scheduled the test on 5th January, but, due to some problem, the test was postponed till 15th January by the Prometric Test Centre.
My scores in the mock exams (roughly) were:-
K&B mock exam: 94%
Marcus Green: 96%
I once scored 100% in Whizlabs Final Practice Test, but, I never expected that I would score 100% in the SCJP 5 exam. All in all, it was one of the greatest experiences in my life.
Lastly, for those who are preparing for the SCJP 5 exam, I few guidelines:-
- Study K&B as much as you could & assimilate as much material as you can into your mind
- Practice rigorously on questions related to Threads, String & StringBuffer manipulation, Inner/Nested Classes, Generics AND OO Concepts
- Once again, practice rigorously on Threads, Generics
and OO Concepts
-- the last one is somewhat neglected, but, can cause trouble on the real exam.
- Take as much mocks as you can
- Be VERY VERY VERY attentive & concentrate wholly on the questions during the exam
- Make a list of all exam-watches and read it an hour before the test (I did this too and its really helpful)
Okay, fellow ranchers !!! That's enough for now... do ask if you need my help... I will try my best to help.