Welcome to JavaRanch and this forum.
You may wish to look at the JavaRanch SCJD FAQ. Some relevant questions:
Should I purchase both parts (the exams and assignment) at the same time?
You should be aware that there is no time limit on completing the assignment, however vouchers have a time limit.
Vouchers are valid for different lengths of time from country to country. To the author's knowledge, this can vary from 3 months to 1 year (other periods may be possible).
There have been reports of some Sun offices telling candidates that they must purchase the exam voucher at the same time as they purchase the assignment. This is not the case in all Sun offices though.
My recommendation would be to only purchase each section when you are ready to use it. That way you do not have to worry about any time limits on each section.
See also the next question: "My voucher for the exam is about to expire, what can I do?"
My voucher for the exam is about to expire, what can I do?
Check the wording on the back of the voucher. It typically has words to the effect of:
"You must register for an exam prior to the expiration date printed on this voucher. Voucher expiration dates cannot be extended. Your actual testing appointment may be deferred for up to one year after registration."
So register for the exam before the voucher expires, then contact prometric and defer the exam. You may defer multiple times.
Be aware that Prometric and the test centers themselves have requirements as to how much notification must be given before defering an exam. So dont leave it to the last minute.
How long do I have to complete the assignment?
You have an unlimited time to complete the assignment. The date on your voucher for the assignment has no meaning. If you buy your voucher for the Essay portion of the SCJD, then you will have one year from the date of the Essay Voucher to take the Essay exam. The Essay portion voucher is not related to the assignment. So please don't ever think that you have a year to complete your assignment, because that is untrue.
How do I contact Sun Education / Prometric?
If your voucher (cx-310-027) has an expiration date on it, and that date has already passed, then you cannot use the voucher - you may wish to contact Sun and ask them if there is anything they can do to help you out.
Your purchase of the assignment (CX-310-252A) in July 2003 should still be valid. Even if you have to purchase another exam voucher (cx-310-027), you do not need to purchase another assignment. If you downloaded the assignment in July 2003 and started work on it, then you can continue to work on it. Otherwise you may have to download a new assignment.