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Woohoo!!! And the results are in...

 
Ross Goldberg
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I'm an SCJP2 1.4 now!!!
I scored an 85%, with pretty solid scores in every section. That score was well above my expectations! I began studying just about a month ago and at the time I started, I soon found that my Java skills bordered pathetic. I've been studying, programming, and practicing about 4 hours a night at least, and have been programming Java daily at work all month as well. LOTS of work, but it was well worth it (and quite fun actually, due to Kathy and Bert!)
Here's what I did:
1. Had very limited experience when I began studying.
2. Read Head First Java by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates cover to cover (as well as doing all the excercises (except crosswords, which I can't stand because I'm terrible at them)).
3. Read their Java 2 Certification book, had friends question me constantly, tried various permutations of questions that would strike me, posted on the board (both questions and answers) to immerse myself fully in Java and to *THINK* Java all the time.
4. Took the MasterExams included with the book in #3. These exams were excellent and very close to the test format questions. My score on the first test was like 80% and on the second, I failed as I ran out of time with 8 questions left. But I actually found these tests to be a truer proxy of how one will probably do on the real test....in hindsight, I would now save the two MasterExams to be the very LAST tests you take.
5. Took the Whizlabs (commercial package) tests....5 practice and 1 exam out of the 10 exams (including the 9 practice). These tests are HARD!!! I averaged about 65% consistently on those, and thus, that was my expectation going into the test.
Once I have taken a test and read about the answers, I cannot take that test again or I'll score ridiculously high, so I needed lots of unique tests for my practice. While the Whizlabs exams are very hard and very helpful, they did have a number of non-applicable questions and MANY typos/spelling errors in the explanations...also at least one wrong answer and at least one typo in a code sample. Nevertheless, it was the highest quality test suite, IMHO. I could still think of many useful features they could add, but I do recommend it. Even the unrelated questions get you thinking very DEEP and that tends to help indirectly by increasing your overall understanding....the tricky part is remembering all the things you get wrong...after all, 20 or so wrong questions per test is a lot to learn!
But if you're scoring on your first try in the 60s on the Whizlabs or in the 70s on K & B, you should smash the Java test pretty well. The questions are MUCH, MUCH easier than on either of those two tests, IMHO.
Also, the HFJ was essential to my success!!! That was what truly built a solid foundation upon which I am continuing to build...of all the things, that was the most important, but the cert book was also every bit as essential....it just wouldn't have helped much without the understanding I gained from HFJ. You MUST have a solid foundation of understanding before getting everything you can out of the cert book so that you can APPLY what you are learning.
Ross
SCJP2 1.4
 
Anupam Sinha
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Congrats Ross
 
Alex Radomski
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Congratulations Ross!

 
Bert Bates
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Jessica Sant
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Android IntelliJ IDE Java
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nicely done Ross!
.... but I'm moving this to the Sun Cert Results forum, please continue the congratulations there.
 
Pradeep Chopra
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Congratulations Ross! Thanks for your appreciation and valuable feedback on our exam simulator.
You'll be glad to know about our recently released: "SCJP 1.4 Score Comparison Utility". Please do have a look at it and post your score so that others can benefit from your experience and success.
Check it out at http://www.whizlabs.com/scjp/scjp-score.html
Best wishes,
Pradeep
 
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