I passed yesterday with 78% (not awesome, but I made it) and here are some recommedations that I have for others studying for the exam:
1. Memorize/understand EVERYTHING in the Head First book from Chap 4 on except Struts
(and I do mean every single concept, DD entry, chart, etc.). If you dismiss something in the book that looks like a minor point, count on it being on the exam. I saw both EJB
DD and JNDI DD configuration questions on there (which I thought would have a slim chance of showing up given they were just thrown in as tiny sections in the Deployment chapter in the HF book). Something as simple as not memorizing the DD entry AND HTML (j_password, j_username, etc) for FORM authentication can cost you quite a few points.
There were at least 5 pattern
questions as well on my exam, so you need to know that REALLY well. The pattern portion of the HF book was NOT done well in my opinion, and was confusing. The SCWCD Exam Study Kit did a much better job of explaining exactly what "wording" to look for. There are probably study notes on the web somewhere that provide similar info. These are easy points if you understand the concepts, so don't blow this area.
2. If you have time, take as many practice exams as you can and research EVERY question that you missed (this is same for any cert exam). Not everything on the exam is in HF (although probably 90% of it is), and mocks help point out some things you might miss (or possibly never ever want to know or care about???). There are lots of free exams out there, but if you want to part with $$ then feel free. The exam in the back of the HF book is not an accurate scale of if you will pass or fail (mainly because it doesn't indicate how many answers are correct), but every practice test
helps because it clues you into things you didn't look at before. Some of the practice exams available from Whizlabs and others are much harder than the real exam because they contain quite a bit of content that you will never see on the exams. Javaranch has fairly accurate exam questions (at least one of the questions was actually on my exam - word
for word). If you want a really high score (90+%), you do it through lots and lots of mock exams because they quickly help point out what you are lacking in. Had I wanted to spend another week doing many more (harder) mock exams, I have little doubt that I would have scored much higher.
3. When answering the questions on the exam (this goes for any exam of course), don't dwell on any one question too long. Just skip it, and come back to it later. Also, mark every question that your not 100% sure is right and come back to it later. I had 30 minutes left after answering all the questions to go back and work on a few that I had left blank or was unsure of.
4. REALLY important: Some questions have lots and lots of code, but if you just look closely at the answers only one or two have the right syntax. So, I suggest looking at the possible ANSWERS before going through all that code and trying to determine what it's actually doing.