I final cleared SCJP
1.4 (85%) � Jan 7 2005, even though not a high score based on Javaranch standards I am definitely happy.
Experience in details
I used :- Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates books � great book written with this certification in mind. I read the chapters only once , but just in the morning went through all the exam watch and certification summary and two minute drills. Earlier I also did Marcus Green 60 q mock got around 95 % � what I found in the actual exam is slightly difficult in the area of Garbage collections, Threads and Collections I also took Dan Chisholm�s study guide 1 and 2 mock and also single topic mocks but did not have the time to take the comprehensive. Dan this is a fantastic effort � A big thank you to you.
I am totally new to Java
you can check up the forum for some of the basic questions that I have asked and I took about 1 1/2 months to prepare spending about 2 hrs a day.
What to expect in the Exam :-
The exam starts with a series of questions asking you to rate yourself in the objectives with choices given as pro, intermediate etc � your are given 15 min for this survey the time does not count in the actual exam � I blindly checked intermediate in all of them. A timer runs but gets reset before the next section.
Next comes the non- disclosure stuff � you have to say I Agree else the exam stops.
Then there are couple of questions that ask you whether Sun can use your email to contact you etc etc (usual Advertising stuff ) I blindly said I don�t agree � I think there were about 5 0r 6 questions like this . Someone had posted a link in which the actual contents of this stuff was given I am unable to recollect it now so it was easy to say at the exam � I am sure the moderators would know the link. Where the non-disclosure and advertising stuff comes from, the exam clock starts ticking when you go thru this stuff I lost about 2 min in there.
The questions from Threads, Garbage collection and collections are difficult from what is available in the mock test
Marcus , Dan, Voodoo , many listed in the Java ranch mock test list ( this could also mean that I was unable to translate this knowledge into answers in the actual exam) these were my low scoring areas in the exam.
If I remember right you have the Next previous arrows at the bottom and also the exhibit button which will show up if there is a lengthily piece of code which would be around 20 line if it is around 5 line or less then there will be no exhibit button and the question appears on the same page. On the top left hand corner you have a check box to Mark the questions. ( I am also told that if you chose a particular choice for a question and then mark it because your are not sure and if you don�t have the time to come back to it whatever is marked is taken as your choice )
Suggestions at the risk of giving out too much
Threads � work out a lot (doing mocks is one thing but actually typing out some code is need � experiment ) try out some example to see what actually happens with multiple thread
, many object instance with synchronization etc.
Garbage collection � I felt I should have read some additional material for this or worked out more mocks in this area they were not as simple.
Collection :- Try out some example of actually using the collection classes � never thought it would be needed � Like adding elements and iterating thru them.
Had a number of array questions � one of my many weak areas � it was pretty simple.
Pay close attention to the verbiage make sure you understand what the choices are, this reflected that I should have paid more attention to minute details when I read something�s either in the book or the mocks In the actual exam sometimes a lot of choices appeared to have more than what is mentioned to be correct (could also mean that I didn�t put in a good enough preparation )
Remaining areas the questions were pretty simple not as complicated as the mocks.
I completed the exam in 1 hour and 35 min after that I went thru the 8 marked questions and went thru about 52 questions found out one which I had wrongly marked before the time ran out.
Try not to take any mocks on the day of the exam � I tried a couple and was getting even the basic questions wrong could have been I was too jittery � As mentioned in other post don�t try to cram in new stuff in the last day that definitely does not help. Be clear with what you read � thinking about all variations and combinations that information can be used
Set aside some mocks for the last week, I must have done tons of mocks and the problem is that I seemed to remember the answers to Marcus and K&B book mocks so I found it was difficult to retake the test again in the last few days.
If you are using K&B book make sure you download the online Bonus exam and make sure it is different that what you have in the CD I found it to be the same at the last minute and yesterday night tried to post in the Java ranch for the link and also Tech support and I got the response only today and so I finally did not get a chance to take that test hopefully none of the questions that came for the exam are in there
Well people I hope I have not bored you all with my exam preparation / taking experience.
A big thank you to all my fellow Java ranch folks.
Take care and I am looking for to a long journey in the Java land from now.