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About To Prepare for SCJP: Advice Needed  RSS feed

 
IBRAHIM
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Hello to everyone. I am glad to see such a great web resource
such as Javaranch. This seems like an excellent forum where people with a strong commonality(Java) can come and share advice,
experience, and skills.
I would appreciate any advice someone could offer regarding
SCJP. I have been out of college for almost 2 years, but have done minimum of Java development in that time. Recently however I had the chance to write some servlets and have done some Swing
Java work as well. I'm currentlty a junior software developer, and recently been offered a java developer position with a major NY financial firm. My theoretical knowledge of Java is pretty good, so I'm about to prepare for SCJP cert.
I do have the books commonly mentioned here. In addition I have
bookmarked over 20 websites with SCJP Mock exams as well. Recently according to the postings here, Im getting the idea that the exam is somewhat easier than expected. This could be dangerous with me falling into a false sense of assuredness.
Last week, I took a few mock exams, with no real solid preparation, and I was averaging around hmm...60-65%. Im not worried about my study techniques, because I am very commited to this.
I need to know:
- What is the best way to study? Like what in what order.
- What areas should I concentrate on?
- What percentage of the questions are theory based and what
involve analysis of java code.
> With coding Qs: are they similar in length/complexity to
the the ones in the books?
- Are the books and web_based mock exams enough for taking the
exam? I ask because I want to go into w/the intention of
getting nothing less than 100%(best way to shoot high).

I appreciate any advice anyone can offer.
Thanks

------------------
 
Ajith Kallambella
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Ibrahmi,
Here's what I think. Take it with a pinch of salt
What is the best way to study? Like what in what order.
Since you already know Java, you might not need an introductory book. you should start from the objectives and read atleast two Java Certification guides. Mock exam comes next and ofcourse, you will need to go back to the book to strengthen the week areas. Note that you should not repeat the mock exams, atleast for a week or so.

- What areas should I concentrate on?
Language fundamentals. Anything more only adds to your score, but knowing the basics of the language is necessary to pass the exam.
- What percentage of the questions are theory based and what
involve analysis of java code.

Most of the question tests your knowledge about one ( sometimes two ) objectives. Looking at the mock exams I conclude you will encounter more questions based on a piece of code. You might also see questions about AWT component/Event hierarchy, Java keywords etc which are theoretical. Bottom line is to be prepared for both kind of questions.

> With coding Qs: are they similar in length/complexity to
the the ones in the books?

I cannot comment on this one as I haven't taken the SCJP myself. What I can say, however, is there is a great degree of disparity even among the books available, with regard to the complexity of questions. From very hard( Khalid's mock exams) to quite easy( Marcus Green). For lengthy questions, try the "answers first" approach where you just glance over the options available so that you know what you are looking for. That makes your code reading more focuessed.
- Are the books and web_based mock exams enough for taking the
exam? I ask because I want to go into w/the intention of
getting nothing less than 100%(best way to shoot high).

I appreciate your spirit. How much is enough is a very subjective issue. A lot of people have felt they prepared "toomuch" for the exam. You might also hear people being unhappy about their scores even after months of preparation. For some high percentile is the goal, for others getting certified is the objective. I would say once you start scoring near 90s in most of the mock exams, you should take the actual one. You can always take it again( and again and again?? )
till you get tired, or are happy with your score
Good luck with your preparations.
Ajith
 
Suresh
Ranch Hand
Posts: 76
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Ibrahim,

I need to know:
- What is the best way to study? Like what in what order.
- What areas should I concentrate on?

You start with Robert, Heller & Ernest. The first 13 chapters are enough. And, don't forget to read the chapters on GridBag layout in the second part of the book. And, try to have some knowledge about Applets, atleast how to embed an applet in a html file and how to get parameter values in an applet.
And don't forget to do all the tests given at the end of each chapter. And, read the book again atleast twice, before you move to another book. And don't forget to take notes. That will be helpful to you in the last week of the exam.
Then, read a cram book (Everyone says Brogden's cram is good. I haven't gone thru it!!). There's a cram available in the net by Marcus Green, available at www.jchq.net .
There's also a cram by Jyothi Krishnan available in the net which is also good.
Then, start doing the mock exams!! Atleast 10 or 15 exams before you go for the real one!!
Now, you're ready to take up the exam!!

- What percentage of the questions are theory based and what
involve analysis of java code.
> With coding Qs: are they similar in length/complexity to
the the ones in the books?

There's no perfect ratio between theory and code analysis since you get random questions from a very large pool of questions!!
Actually, the real one has very less complexity compared to most of the mock exams!!

- Are the books and web_based mock exams enough for taking the
exam? I ask because I want to go into w/the intention of
getting nothing less than 100%(best way to shoot high).

That's the spirit!! Yeah, the books and mock exams are more than enough. But, try to work out some examples if you get any doubts. Don't trust only on the answers given by the authors of the tests!!
Hope that helps!!
Regards,
Suresh.
 
IBRAHIM
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Posts: 5
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I greatly appreciate both(Ajit and Suresh) replies and advice.
This is very helpful. Ajit,you brought up a very good point, in
pointing the varying levels of difficulty in the different SCJP
review books. I've found the Syngress/Osborne(Publishing co) to be the more difficult and more thorough one compared to the Exam Crams and the Ernst books. Although I find that having all three
helps a lot! I first read the Syngress/Osborne, try their qs at end of chapter, then goto the Cram and Ernst ones and do the same. Doing so, Ive found I do better on the latter two.
The hardest thing for me to believe is that many of you have
said that the real exam is somewhat easier. That is hard to
comprehend I suppose. Maybe I should maintain this sense of fear
to motivate me further.
Javaranch is truly an excellent website! It is quite unique
in the topics covered and the ability for junior as well as
experienced developers to voice their opinion.
Thanks to both of you, I appreciate it very much!! )
 
Ajith Kallambella
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Posts: 5782
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You are welcome Ibrahim. One important thing I forgot to mention about is the errata. Regularly checkout the errata section here on JavaRanch, and also at any specific sites mentioned in the book. This way you don't find yourself getting or or trying to figureout why the right answer isn't there!
Ajith
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
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