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This is how I prepared for my Certification

 
Rahul Gupta
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Well as you know that I passed SCJP 1.4 with 96% on the 28th January. I want to discuss the way I prepared for the exam so that others can benefit from it.
Though I had 2 years of experience in programming in java when I first saw the exam questions in some mock test sites I felt the lack of understanding I had regarding the Language. I felt that in order to get my skills polished I have to go through rigorous preparation.
I set a time frame of 3 months for the prepration. Then I started to search the net for a proper book. It was this time that I came across Javaranch. I found names of some book that were recommended at a number of places. They included:
1) Book by Heller and Robert.
2) Java 2 Exam Cram
3) Book by Khalid Mughal.
I went through all the books and found that Khalid Mughal's book suited my standards. The way the book is written and arranged is excellent. At the same time I was regularly giving mock test on the "Rules Round Up" in java ranch.
After getting the book I god the syllabus from the Sun Site and found that a new topic called "Assertions" is included with java.awt and java.io being eliminated. Also topics like Wrapper Classes, fundamental classes and others were required to be covered in more depth.
After setting my time frame I started off with the book but felt a stumbling block as gradually reading the book became monotonous. What I recognized that if I first get an overall picture of the entire test and then read the book and simultaneously give some mock tests then the thing will be more interesting.
Then I started for searching of some notes. I found two notes
1) By Velmurugan
2) By Ashraf Fouad
I started both of them parallely and stopped reading Mughal's book. I covered all the topics from the notes. Now I was armed with an overall idea of the entire syllabus.

Now as the confidence in me was building up I started with Mughal's book. Now I was grasping all the bits in the book and I felt it interesting as never before. Now I started reading all the topics posted in the Javaranch Programmers Certifiation and Advanced Section. Whenever I had confusion I either posted message on the Ranch or I sent private message to those people whom I felt will help me. And no doubt about it that everybody reponded so quickly.
When I had covered almost 80% of the book and felt that I was ready for the exam I found "Dan's Mock Test". After giving a few mock test I felt that I stood nowhere. Dan's question was mind boggling. They made me wired. I really respect "DAN".
Though out of 10 I answer 6 correctly I never felt confident with his mock tests. So I opted for using his test as a learning tool. I took notes where-ever I stumbled. Gradually my note grew bigger and I after completing all the tests of Dan I felt extremely confident. Now test posted on "JavaPrepare" and test by "Marcus Green" seemed a cakewalk. My concepts where crystal clear. I never read the JLS but always used the Javadocs API for learning.
I started disucssing topics with my colleagues in office and they quized me. I answered all and now felt like giving the test. Though the 2.5 months of preparation was rigorous. I had project pressure and had to work 9 to 10 hours everyday in office. But not a single day I left java. I studied it continously even sometime a hour a day. Well programming practise to clear concept was very important. I did that.
When the exam day approached I got some tips from Kathy and Jessica regarding the do's and dont's during the exam day. Also I collected most information of what the exam interface would be like etc.
Kathy's suggestion to drink a lot of water for the last 5 days was something I followed very rigorously. I dont know that whether physically it affected my brain or not but psychologically gave me a lot of confidence.
When I was giving the exam I followed something very positively. Those are:
1) I never thought about that I have to pass or I have to get a 90+ grade. I was very casual and cool.
2) I never though about the previous question when I was answering the current one.
3) I tried to finish the test quickly so as to get time in hand to revise.
4) I revised very rigorously and found a few mistakes and rectified them.
5) Initially when there was a survey I tried to complete them as fast as possible so that no time is wasted.
6) I closely monitored questions on GC and Threads.
7) Before starting my exam I closed my eye's and prayed to god.
A few suggestions to aspirants are that:
1) Make Thread fundamental very clear.
2) Make GC fundamental very clear.
3) Try to do as much as coding possible as most questions were code based.
4) DONT LEAVE ANY TOPIC....MAY BE WHATEVER YOU LEFT FINALLY CONSTITUTED MOST PART OF THE PAPER
5) Notice main methods and see for compiler errors before understanding the logic of the program. May be u find a compiler error and not required to find output for the program.
Thats all what I can remember. Feel free to ask anything you like. You are always welcomed.
rahul
 
Sudharsan Govindarajan
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Here is a link which had links for most of the pointers you've specified. www.geocities.com/technofundo/tech/scjp/scjp1_4.html
 
Dan Chisholm
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Rahul,
Congratulations again on your great score!
I wish you success on your next goal.
 
Hari Vignesh Padmanaban
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Congrats
 
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