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Preping for the SCJA with Whizlabs SCJA Exam Simulator

 
Stu Thompson
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Hi all,

In late July I bought the Whizlabs SCJA Exam Simulator as part of my effort to take the SCJA exam. After studying documents on the web by myself, asking questions here on JR, and taking practice exams with the Whizlabs tool�I have this to report on the Exam Simulator:

It is rubbish.

Some serious defects I have noted:

* Inaccurate UML diagrams�not part of the test�just sloppy work.
* Many blatantly inaccurate statements in post-test answer/explanation. (E.g. ��The number of bits�in a float is 64.�)
* Questions graded with incorrect answers.
* Awkward and very poorly worded questions and answer explanations.
* Interactive quiz UIs are terrible: answers cannot be changed, drag and drop is flaky...specifically the complex questions on UML
* Inconsistent UML diagrams. The fonts used in different changes object to object sometimes,
* Incomplete code examples. There will be a question with example code referencing an interface that is not present�but the question and answers ignore that.

All of this has extended the amount of time spent in my studies because I have had to track down authoritative sources on many topics.

There are other, relatively minor issues too:

* Out of 17 emails to Whizlabs
-- 5 form �thanks for the feedback� emails
-- 1 personal �thanks for the many feedback mails� email
-- One answer to a problem (of which I still disagree with, but it is trivial as it relates to SCJA exam scope regarding String.concat() following a above mentioned form letter
-- �Leaving 11 emails totally ignored. (They stopped responding to me a few weeks ago.)
* The software apparently has an online update feature. Eight weeks and no fixes.
* One cannot copy text from the software to search
* Poor formatting of code in question code blocks. Not just trying to save space, but flat out sloppy stuff like inconsistent indentation.
* The concept drilling tool has a default question reading and answer time of 5 seconds�which is way too short
* Save exam results do not include your answers to questions�you can�t see how you answered something way back when

OK, rant over. I�m just really frustrated with this software. I had wanted to take the SCJA by now but have spent an unnecessary amount of time chasing up information to prove (to myself) that my understanding of a topic or point is accurate. This unpolished software has been unacceptably confusing.

The big, ugly question is�what facts on concepts do I think I understand correctly but do not that the Whizlabs has reinforced. We will see exam day.

The only good thing I can say about the software is that it has drilled into me some test taking skills and habits that will help�like not overlooking the use of primitive wrapper classes rather than primitives, code blocks for abstract methods, etc.

But for those of you considering buying a tool to help you with the SCJA�I highly recommend passing on Whizlabs SCJA Exam Simulator.

Stu

[ September 19, 2006: Message edited by: Stu Thompson ]
[ September 25, 2006: Message edited by: Stu Thompson ]
 
marc weber
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Thank you for posting these details about your experience.
 
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
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I'm releasing a second SCJA book that is exclusively test questions.

I'd love a proofreader with your standards and attention to detail.

-Cameron McKenzie
 
David A Smith
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Strange, I purchased the Whizlabs SCJA simulator this past weekend and used it quite a bit in my last minute studying efforts. I thought it was a pretty good tool. I found the "Quick Revision Notes" very helpful for a early review this morning over breakfast before my exam.

Earlier I purchased another study guide from [ -name of braindump removed- ], which I was very dissapointed with. What I got was a PDF file with cut & pasted information, full of errors, and much of which had nothing to do with the exam itself.

I passed the SCJA exam today with a score of 88%. Good enough for me. Now I hope I can do the same on the SCJP exam in a few weeks!


EDIT by mw: We don't condone braindumps here at the ranch (because real questions are confidential), so we don't mention braindumps by name. Thanks!
[ October 03, 2006: Message edited by: marc weber ]
 
marc weber
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Originally posted by David A Smith:
...I purchased another study guide from [ -name of braindump removed- ], which I was very dissapointed with. What I got was a PDF file with cut & pasted information, full of errors, and much of which had nothing to do with the exam itself...

That tends to be the nature of braindumps. The word "dump" is quite appropriate.
 
David A Smith
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EDIT by mw: We don't condone braindumps here at the ranch (because real questions are confidential), so we don't mention braindumps by name. Thanks!


OK I'm a little new at this stuff. You're saying that "braindumps" are supposed to be real questions from the actual test? I guess that explains why it was so jumbled and hard to read. I don't know what test those guys were taking, but it wasn't the one I took...
 
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
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Yeah, a braindump is just someone takign the exam, and then telling people what the questions were.

To develop a 'test exam' with integrity, you look at the objectives, develop questions based on those, and if you're smart enough, they're similar enough to the exam that they'll help people pass the test.

Cheers!

-Cameron McKenzie www.pulpjava.com
 
marc weber
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Originally posted by David A Smith:
... OK I'm a little new at this stuff. You're saying that "braindumps" are supposed to be real questions from the actual test? I guess that explains why it was so jumbled and hard to read. I don't know what test those guys were taking, but it wasn't the one I took...

Yes, a "braindump" is material that is supposedly from actual exams. The main problems are:
  • This violates Sun's nondisclosure agreement, as well as copyright laws.
  • "Brains" tend to confuse information before it's "dumped," so accuracy tends to be poor.
  • If material is accurate, then this could indicate a more serious problem, such as screen captures somehow making their way out of testing centers.
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