Yesterday I cleared the SCJP 5.0 exam with 93%.
I was relatively new to Java having almost no hands on experience. I have a very good programming and design experience in database technologies. It took me almost 6 months to prepare for the exam besides my other responsibilities e.g. full time, demanding work, and family with a 1.5 yrs. kid
I must thank my wife first for her unconditional support.
I studied with the K&B book, which I feel is sufficient for the exam and is really an excellent book. I think no SCJP 5 success story can be complete without the mention of K&B. The two minute drills are excellent for revisions and last min. preparations. I had a difficulty initially to understand collections and generics and I referred to some material on the internet to enhance my understanding. This is not to say that the K&B book does not explain them well, in fact it does explain those topics in the most easy to understand way, but I was simply not catching the basics and reading something different gave me a good start.
I wrote a 100s of small programs to improve my understanding and burn the concepts in. I verified every new concept and every important point by writing code wherever possible. Whenever I answered a mock question wrongly, I actually coded and ran the program to see the output. This really helped me a lot.
Thanks to all the ranchers who helped me directly and indirectly. Although I did not post many questions, reading other's questions and responses helped me a lot.
Many questions in the exam were easier than the mocks I had taken. d&d were some of the toughest questions. Many questions were based on the fundamentals, but overall I feel I got a good mix, from basic to more difficult questions. Time was not a problem as 175 min. are really sufficient to answer the 72 questions and also review them. It gave me a warning when I wanted to review the d&d questions that the answers will be reset.
Studying for SCJP was a great learning experience for me and I am happy to get a start in Java technology.
The next step is obviously the SCWCD and I have already purchased the HFSJ book. I wish all the best to everybody who are studying for the Sun certification exams.