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Exam Practicalities & Mechanics  RSS feed

J Tran
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I took the SCJP 5 exam recently in the U.S. This message contains
nothing substantive about the contents. It covers some practical
matters, to give a better idea of what to expect.

After registering for an exam date and time, I was told to arrive
at least 30 minutes in advance. (Prometric doesn't seem to think
people might want to know this before picking a time.)

Naif that I am, I arrived 30 minutes early. No one was there.
About 20 minutes before the scheduled time, the first staff person
showed up, and about 5 minutes before the scheduled time, I was
sitting in front of a computer starting on the tutorial.

Everyone signed in on a single sheet of paper with a row for each
person and columns for name, arrival time, ID, etc. I filled in
my name and arrival time; a staff person then filled in the numbers
from my ID. Everyone who arrived after me could thus see all the
information, until the page filled up and the staff started a new
sheet of paper. I hope no one was dishonest and had a good short-term
memory. If you're at all concerned about this, I suggest using
forms of ID with a relatively low potential for fraud.

One paper I signed said the exam might be videotaped. I didn't
see any cameras, but didn't look closely.

Cell phones and pagers are banned, as are all foods and drinks.
I wasn't even allowed a sealed clear plastic bottle of spring water.
Combined with an overheated room and a hard chair, it was a long,
hot, dry, uncomfortable three hours.

The only reason I can think to prohibit drinks is to prevent
accidental spills on the computers. In this case it would have
been no great loss. The CRT was old, with a very visible and
annoying flicker. The scroll wheel on the mouse didn't work, but
fortunately wasn't needed. Performance was adequate, but for what
we're paying I don't think a computer built sometime in this century
is too much to ask.

There's an optional tutorial that can be run before the real exam.
It shows how the exam works. However, it doesn't cover drag and
drop, so I offer a few observations.

The software could be very picky about where an item could be
dropped. Sometimes I needed to move the item around slightly.
The cursor changes to indicate when dropping is allowed.

The dropped item obscures whatever it's dropped on. For
fill-in-the-blank coding this is no problem, but there are also
questions with multiple sub-questions, where the answer to each
sub-question is to be dropped onto the sub-question. Once each
sub-question is answered, it's no longer possible to see what the
sub-question was. Only the answer is visible.

If you change your mind about a dropped item, you can drag it away.

There is no way to review a drag and drop question. Attempting to
do so gives a dialog that says the question will be reset.

(That's all about drag and drop.)

Some questions refer to an exhibit, typically some code. A button
at the bottom of the screen pops up the exhibit in a separate
window. Fortunately, there was always enough room to position the
pop-up window so that it and the question were both visible.

Scratch paper is not allowed. I was given two erasable plastic
boards and a felt-tip marker.

When the exam starts, the agreement legalese is displayed. This
is when the timer starts counting down. If you plan to read what
you're agreeing to, you can read it before the exam on Sun's web
site, when the timer isn't running.

I finished my first pass with about 20 minutes left to re-check
the questions I had marked for review.

It took three business days after the exam before I could register
on the Sun Certification I7 site. The instructions in Sun's FAQ
didn't quite work. What did was to browse
Sun Certification I7
then click the First Time Users link.

Now I get a lapel pin. I'm just waiting for all the job offers to
pour in.

The rest of this message is excerpts from the email Prometric
sent after I scheduled the exam. I didn't see any of the
lockers they mention, but I didn't ask.

What do I need to bring (and not bring) to my exam?

You will need to bring two (2) forms of identification to the
testing site. One must be a current, government-issued photo ID,
such as a valid passport or driver's license, with a photo that
looks like you. Be sure the names on your ID are displayed the
same way it is displayed on your exam record, and that both ID's
have a current signature that look like yours. Examples of other
pieces of ID are credit cards and check cashing cards.

Please note:

* The test will not be delivered without the appropriate form
of identification. Thomson Prometric Test Center Administrators
have the right to refuse seating you for the exam if they are unable
to properly identify you.

What not to bring:

* Do not bring notes, pens, pencils, paper, large purses, or
backpacks to the test center. Supplies needed for taking the exam
will be provided by the test center.

* No cell phones or pagers are allowed in the test room. There
are small lockers (12" H x 12" W x 12-18" D) available for candidates
to store keys and small purses during the exam.

* There is no secure storage available for large books, bags,
or large coats. Thomson Prometric cannot accept responsibility
for loss or theft of items left in common use areas such as the
waiting rooms.

When do I need to arrive for my exam?

* You should arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes
before the test is scheduled to begin. Tests are given by appointment.
On days with no appointments scheduled a center may not be opened.
If you have an appointment you can expect the center to open at
least 30 minutes before your appointment.

* It takes about 3 - 5 minutes per candidate to complete the
sign-in process. If you are the 10th person to arrive, it will
take us about 30 minutes to start signing you in. If there are
questions about your ID, your registration, any of the pretest
qualifications, or if you are late, you will be asked to wait until
other candidates are signed in. Don't worry! Each test is
individually timed; your test will not start until you are signed
in and seated.

* Once you have notified the center staff that you are here
and ready to test, you can relax and watch the process. We do this
all the time, and look forward to our time with you once your turn

* Please note that the exam duration may include an exam tutorial
and client survey.
Ram Han
Ranch Hand
Posts: 49
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Wow great explanation, Thanks !
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
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