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Two Bates/Sierra books: get both if you can

 
Timothy Chen Allen
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I'm studying for the SCJP 1.4 exam. I have been lucky enough to get both the SCJP&D Study Guide and Head Start Java. Both are by Bert Bates and Kathy Sierra. I love 'em both (The books, I mean: I don't know Bert and Kathy).
Head First Java teaches the way I want to learn-- I can feel my grey matter pumping up with new Java knowledge. It just grabbed my attention and held it-- great graphics, informal writing style, and an in-your-face, think-outside-the-box attitude that just hammered points home for me.
The SCJP&D Study Guide has the knowledge I need to pass the SCJP. It explains the exam objectives clearly, warns about the booby-traps the preparers might have left for me, and generally is very detailed. I would not feel confident going into the exam without this book. Its humorous writing style was heads above most other technical books.
If I had to choose between them, I'd have to go with the Study Guide just because it really covers the material I need for the exam.
HOWEVER (you knew this was coming), once I had seen the Head Start Java book, I no longer wanted to read the Study Guide. Although my first reaction to the Study Guide was, "cool, a tech book with chutzpah", it seemed kinda frumpy and dowdy and grandmothery after seeing Head Start. I had to force myself back to the Study Guide (exam date's coming up fast!)
I wish there were a way to squish the two books together-- a "Head Start SCJP Exam Guide". Something with the cool writing style, attention-grabbing graphics, and general teaching effectiveness of Head Start with the exam objectives, hints and tricks, and sample exam questions of the Study Guide.
If they wrote it, I'd buy it. But they'd better write it soon, because I'm going to take the exam within two weeks.
 
Dave Johnson
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Thanks for your advice & the very best of luck with the exam, Dave.
 
Jessica Sant
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Tim-
Your wish will *almost* be granted. Kathy and Bert are in the process of writing Head First EJBs -- it's directed at the new EJB Certification exam. You can check out the EJB Cert forum for more info about that, or the book's website: wickedlysmart.com.
Good luck on your exam!
- Jess
 
Bert Bates
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Tim -
Thanks for your thoughts! We love you too!
Anyway, the cert book came out first - in terms of using a Head First style, we pushed that publisher as far as we could. When we hooked up with O'reilly, they were incredibly supportive and basically let us go as far as we wanted.
All of the work we're doing now is with O'reilly, and we have several books in the works. They are all being developed in the Head First style, so if you like that style you're in luck.
The next Head First book you'll see is for EJBs and the new SCBCD certification - so you're kind of getting your wish - Drop in at the SCBCD forum occasionally and we'll keep everyone informed as the new book progresses.
Thanks for your support!
-Bert
 
Faisal Khan
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Hey Tim,
I fully agree in regards to the Study Guide, have not seen the Head First yet. I wrote an email to Kathy couple of weeks ago which was along the same lines. The Study Guide really helped boost my knowledge of Java and it was the style that I enjoyed (most tech books put you to sleep), lets hope I pass the exam, which is in two weeks.
I am holding my temptation to get the Head First until then as I don't want to loose my study time befor the exam.
- FK
 
Timothy Chen Allen
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Originally posted by Faisal Khan:

I am holding my temptation to get the Head First until then as I don't want to loose my study time befor the exam.
- FK

I'd have to agree-- getting Head First actually interrupted my SCJP study for a week. Kind of like having to watch a bunch of Physics lectures by Richard Feynman and then receiving a "Seinfeld Explains Quantum Physics" DVD (maybe not a good analogy, but you get the idea).
But definitely get Head First Java-- it goes into a lot of fun stuff that is not on the exam but that you'll want to know about (Swing, MIDI, RMI) and it just is an excellent book. I turned to it to understand inner classes a little better, but then had to drag myself away from it when I was through!
 
Barkat Mardhani
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I have similar impression about study guide. I am almost done with it. With a goal to maximum score in exam, should I read another book or just take as many mocks as possible before the target exam date of mid August?
Thanks
Barkat
 
Jessica Sant
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I think the one book is fine -- take some mock exams. If you find you're really suffering on a particular topic, THEN maybe think about getting a 2nd book.
 
Kix Villalon
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I am preparing for the exam, too, even if I have only begun learning Java a year ago(let alone learning IT, per se). Being new to Java and IT, I already purchased the SCJP&D book by Queen Kathy and Monsieur Bates and found it very straightforward, helpful, meaty(for the exam, that is), and best of all, SENSIBLE. I'm planning to take the exam in September. I really pray hard that I pass the exam so I could be one of the few proud female SCJP's in the Philippines.
 
Richard Teston
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Hi Kix,
Where've you dug the Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates book? I'm also planning to take the exam anytime soon though I already purchased the voucher (w/c they have a promo till august).I'm from Philippines and I looked at the major bookstore here but I can't find one. I asked a favor from my gf relative in california to buy me one but I can't wait a month for them to fly the book over here with the "kabayan" package. Please tell me where you bought that book I badly needed one. Thanks!
 
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