Not a great score though (just 77%), but all glory be to God, who made even this possible.
Also,lots of thanks to you guys for all your help and moral support. Javaranch is certainly the best forum I have ever come across!
Throughout the day today, or rather yesterday as it is past midnight here in Karachi, I was so tense - read the whole day without being able to concentrate and gained nothing. Everything I had prepared seemed lost, and I was certain to fail. Then, half an hour before the exam, I pulled myself together and put all faith in our Creator, and went out to the Center.
I must say you guys had scared me out of my skin
- with all that talk of how difficult the questions had become, the exam being more difficult than SCJP, etc., etc... Combine with this, the fact that I have had no experience with either servlets or JSPs and I'm a lousy student when it comes to exam prep.
For my exam prep., I did not even manage to read one book completely! Just skimmed through a few initial chapters of Jason Hunter's Java Servlet Programming, learned to run tomcat 3.2, and simply typed-in a few servlets from the book to get the hang of it. Apart from that, I studied from Wrox's Professional Java Server Programming that has about 6 chapters in all on servlets and JSPs - did not read one chapter from first to last line, but rather peeped here and there. Most of my servlets prep. was done from Miftah Khan's excellent notes. Had also downloaded Ken's and Michelle's notes but never got up to the point of reading them. Used all the mocks available free. FAILED in Anand Chawla's excellent mock and in SCWCD@Whiz' trial exam just a couple of days ago! Got good marks in JavaRanch's mock and SCWCD@whiz' quiz (both excellent, but quite easy), and managed to pass JWebPlus' mock with a mere 65%. JSPs, I studied entirely from wrox's book mentioned above, and I feel it's a great book. You just have to read 5 or 6 chapters, that's around 250 pages in all, and that's it! Looking at my score now, I feel if I had been able to read those chapters, start to end, a couple of times, along with Miftah's notes, I might have gained at least another 15% to 20%...but who knows!
To all those ranchers still waiting to take the exam, I'll just say:
"Come on folks, what are you waiting for! Waiting for Sun to change the format? If you feel you've done more prep than I did, just go get it! It's by far, the easiest exam from Sun you'll ever give... not at all comparable to SCJP..."
As for the real exam, it's difficult for me to remember how many questions of each objective there were, apart from a few, but I can assure you that the weightage was similar to that indicated in JWebPlus. There were exactly 4 questions on design patterns, of which I got three correct. Only one of them was apparently related to other patterns like front controller. all of them were quite simple, though. There were more questions on Sessions than there were on Contexts. Questions on JSPs (excluding Beans, Tags and Custom Tag Libraries) were not as numerous as I would have hoped for, and only one or two questions on Reusable Web Components. All in all, it was a pretty easy and straight-forward paper. Nothing as tricky as SCJP2 exam. Only one or two exhibits, and those too quite petite.
I would suggest the following minimalistic resource kit for anyone wishing to start preparing for the exam and getting gr8 marks too!:
1. Pro. Java Server Programming J2EE Edition, Volume 2 by Wrox P2P - chapters 7 thru 12
2. servlet and JSP specs - Only to verify for changes in servlet 2.3 and JSP 1.2 specs
3. Miftah Khan's servlet study notes + JSP notes (only for design patterns)
4. JWeb+ (by far the best and closest to the real thing)
5. Anand Chawla's mock - if you can pass it in first go, you're in gr8 shape!
6. JavaRanch mock - use this as a starter.
7. Take active part in JavaRanch's SCWCD forum
8. Study intelligently - no need to cram, rather associate things, look for similarities. [Hint]Almost all methods with plural names return an Enumeration object.
9. About one month's prep time. You could reduce it to two weeks though!
10. Dont be afraid to take the plunge.
P.S. This plan is meant for certification purpose only. If you wish to gain expertise in developing gr8 web components, much more effort would be required.
Well folks this is about as honest and as short a report I could put forward for ya all!
Good luck to all of you!
P.S. I would like to once again thank all the ranchers who have directly, or indirectly helped me to achieve this landmark, viz. Chintan Rajyaguru, Ashik uzzaman, ersin eser, Guy Allard, Mark Spritzler, Axel Janssen, JiaPei Jen and Vamsidhar Chenepalli for your help and moral support. I would also like to thank Miftah Khan, Michelle and Ken for letting other ranchers share their invaluable resources and Anand Chawla and Carl and his team for their excellent mocks.
P.P.S. What certification should I pursue next, IBM-141 or IBM-483? How about VisualAge for Java 4.0 (that would earn me IBM Certified Solution Developer as I already am SCJP and OOAD(IBM-486)
[ February 08, 2002: Message edited by: Ijlal Jinnah ]