I'm just back from the testing
center and feeling pretty good
Managed a pretty decent score especially since I decided to take the exam and bought HFSJ only on September 13th and took it on October 12. But just to come clean, I have been working with core JSP/ Servlets
for a few months so had quite a bit of hands on experience with most of this stuff ( excluding building custom tags and EL ).
Books I read:
- HFSJ twice
[ Great to get a strong foundation but a quick review is pretty much impossible; little nuggets of information are spread all over so you have
to re-read. I hope they add a review section in the next ed. And do read the errata
! Some important stuff is incorrect in the current edition. And don't miss out on the Dynamic Attributes Tutorial
- Manning's Study Guide (and the review section once before the exam)
[ But beware, it's outdated in more than a few places and if you're new to JSP/ Servlets, it shouldn't be your first read in any case ]
I didn't make any but I used these:
- Mikalai Zaikin's
[ Very comprehensive ]
- Frederic Esnault's
[ It's what HFSJ needs, a review section. It's the complete book in short. Unfortunately, it currently carries over the errors from HFSJ too (like stating <=0 will not load servlets on startup whereas it should be <0. This is mentioned in the HFSJ errata) ]
I also read the specs for certain topics like:
- Deployment Descriptor elements
- And other things as and when I needed clarification
Read the API for confusing stuff like which interface is 'getParameter()' in? SerletRequest or HttpServletRequest ( it's the former ) and similarly for JSPContext/ PageContext and some others.
Mock Exams I took:
- Enthuware's mocks are pretty good and pretty close to the real thing. If you're serious, I suggest getting the simulator. But don't depend on it, there are mistakes in the explanations and some questions have the incorrect number of options given ( e.g. the question says pick 2 but there radio buttons so you can't; you'll be marked wrong there ) and some questions are for JSP
- JavaRanch's mocks
- I've not used the latest Whizlab's sim but the older version seemed pretty decent.
I basically fumbled with the tag libraries. I've no experience with them at all and simply reading didn't seem to do the trick. You need to actually work with them to really understand everything.
I also spend a lot of time on JavaRanch and the Sun Java
Forums and that's where I picked up stuff simply by following what doubts people had and trying to figure out what the problem was and checking the solutions that others had given.
The first thing I did after the exam was get Head First Java for some 'light reading'
If it's anything like HFSJ, I believe it'll help make my fundamentals on Java even clearer.
Well, that's my story. Hope it helps someone out.
EDIT: Completely forgot to mention that my exam was for 175 minutes and had 80 questions! I got a message at the start, to the effect that Sun occasionally tries out questions on unsuspecting, poor guinea pigs ( read the test-taker ) to statistically study the questions for later exams ( or something like that ) and so my exam would have 10 questions more ( I thought the exam had 69 questions, not 70? ) which would not be marked and I would get 35 minutes extra. No way to tell the extras from the regular ones ( in case someone was looking for that ). I finished the exam in 90 minutes and was beginning to revise but then suddenly ran out of enthusiasm at the prospect of seeing all the 80 questions again. Like I mentioned earlier, the questions were pretty similar to the Enthuware one's and I found the ones at the start pretty easy. The last 15 odd questions were tricky and involved tag handlers ( I suck at those ) so I found those harder.
[ October 12, 2007: Message edited by: Tarun Yadav ]