Yesterday I passed the SCWCD1.5 exam with 86%, what a relief!
Here are some tips I'd like to share with you all that helped me in my preparation.
My situation: zero coding experience, only SCJP
Time invested: around 120 hours.
Materials used: HFSJ 2nd edition, Enthuware, Eclipse IDE to code the examples.
The following worked for me:
1. Use an IDE (Eclipse, netbeans) to do the examples from the book. make your own variations to see what's going on. This saves you a lot of time, compiling from the command line and setting up the dir structure IS lots of work.
2. Not only read but practice the examples from the HFSJ several times. You DO need to memorize method signatures, return values and things like DD tag. This is where I feel the certification is kind of a waste of time, to a certain extend. Do you really need to memorize all convenience methods regarding headers? (to pass you do!)
3. Enthuware exams. They have the look and feel of the real thing and help to get used to the style of the exam. My scores: first 7 tests between 71%-80%, last test 64%.
4. Know EL well: know exacty how it behaves and the syntax. If you don't, you will almost certainly fail. Half of my questions had EL in 'm.
5. Don't freak out when you score low on the HFSJ mock exam. I scored like 50%, but got a lot of question half right (marked not all correct answers). Do worry if you start marking a lot of wrong alternatives.
6. Cram the night before, possibly the hours before the exam with a focus on method signatures, security, DD in other words everything you need to memorize. I got at least 5 questions that, hadn't I crammed, wouldnt have been able to answer with a great degree of certainty.
Good luck to everyone!
[ September 27, 2008: Message edited by: jan ter avest ]