I am thinking of forming a study group at work to study for or talk about the design assignment and task. First, how ethical is it to do so and is there any real benefit other than making me go and do the assignment?
The ethics of doing that is something your group would have to decide for itself - preferably up front. Sun do not expect developers to work in a vacuum, but neither do they want people swapping code. There is a line between thesee two positions that can be hard to see. In this forum we have set guidelines for what is / is not allowed, and ensuring that we stay within those guidelines is one of the reasons we have bartenders in this forum. You will find the same issue has to be addressed in books that cover any of the certification exams, and especially books that cover assignments - information has to be presented in such a way that you will learn enough to pass the certifications well while not giving away solutions.
So as long as you agree up front about what will be allowed / not allowed, and keep each other honest, then you may not have a problem with ethics.
As Ed suggested, this forum is one big study group, so I am not sure what benefits you will get out of having your own group at work.
Just think that the certification is a proof of some skills and experience. Presenting such proof and then not be able to demonstrate such habilities would only make you (and the whole Sun certified community) look bad.
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