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Coverage in certification books

 
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Concerning Java Certification study books...
I'm very impressed with both the Mughal & Rosmussen book and the Sybex Complete Java 2 Certification Study Guide book. I have a few comments though:
As others have mentioned, the Mughal book, although awesome, seems to have a lot of material that would never even be asked on the test. On the flip side, although I love the flow and ease of reading of the Sybex book, it seems that it doesn't cover enough that could be asked on the test. (Of course not having actually taken the real test I can't be certain that either of the above statements is true, just going by what I've experienced on practice tests. If I'm wrong on the above please let me know).
If my above assertions are correct, I'm wondering why a certification book hasn't been published that covers basically only what will be on the programmers on test and at the same time is extremely thorough in doing so.
I think what would be perfect is the Sybex Java 2 Cert book with just more of the information covered in the Mughal & Rosmussen book, or at least the Mughal book stripped down to only inlclude topics that will be asked on the test. I wouldn't mind if the Sybex book was double in size (maybe the programmers and developers guide sold seperately) if it included more detail on only material that might be asked on the test. Concerning the Mughal book I sometimes find it very frustrating because even though they have at the start of the chapter a list of what is "supplemental" this is almost impossible to follow as you look over the chapter. It's sort of like bits and pieces are supplemental but all mixed in with the rest of the chapter so you end up cluttering your mind with information that won't even be asked on the test. I'm not saying this to try to take short cuts on learning Java either, I'm just saying as far as a guide goes I'd love it to be very thorough but only covering topics that will be asked on the test. For topics outside of that scope I can turn to any number of good Java programming books.
As a side note, one thing I'm find extremely frustrating is determining what parts of the API that need to be memorized. I have no problems studying and learning all the Java fundamentals, but it's difficult for me to discern what questions are going to involve knowing what kind of arguments a certain method can take or the different constructors that can be called for a certain class. It seems that they tend to be concentrating on the java.math, java.awt and the java.io APIs. If this is the case then the Java study guides should say "Hey, make sure to study this portion of the API and learn these different constructors."
To any of the editors reading this, trust me, I'm not complaining about your books. I can't give enough praises for both of them. They've both been great and a huge help in my preperation. Thanks.
Rick
 
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I don't know Rick, I think that the Sybex book that you mention definitely has enough information to pass the test. I thought that the sample questions that were in the book and on the CD were dead-on compared to the test.
I found that certification study guides alone aren't enough to pass. You also need to have a good general reference book to give you background on the things that the exam doesn't cover.
As far as what you need to memorize, I don't think that memorization of the API is going to help you on the exam. What you need to know are the concepts that govern the use of the API. There were very few instances on the exam where a solid knowledge of the API would be helpful.
If you are serious about the test, your best bet is to hang out right here. There are a lot of people that have taken a lot of time to develop tests and information that you can use to study and practice. With the conceptual nature of the test, what you really need to do is take the mock tests and try to understand exactly what to look for when trying to determine which concepts a question might be testing.
The book is only a small piece of process. Take tests and write code. The exam not only wants to know what you know, but also if you know how to use it.
------------------
Brian Hoff
Sun Certified Programmer for the Java� 2 Platform
[This message has been edited by Brian Hoff (edited August 29, 2001).]
 
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