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Anyone else fed up with studying for SCJP 1.5?

 
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Hey there,

Needing some moral support here guys, am I the only one that finds studying for the SCJP 1.5 exam a total chore? Current non medicated thinking is:

- What is the point of learning a ton of syntax just so we can know if something compiles or not, that's waht compilers are for er..... compiling.
- How many feckin gotchas are there down to obsfucated syntax, that you would be fired for writing?
- Why do you have to memorize so many method signatures isn't that what API doc's are for?
- Hasn't the job world got into an awful state (I'm doing SCJP just so I can get past the total idiotic personal departments).
- I wish I'd done it for version 1.4. I HATE Autoboxing (ooh it does stuff automatically, great another thing to remember). Generics are not as good as C++ templates (until you can define your own operators what is the point (yes I know type safety but you can break it very easily)).

Cobol that's the future. I'm telling you (you heard it hear first).

Cheers
Mark
p.s. I'm sitting it next Friday (the 24 of March) I'm at page 650 of Kathy and Berts SCJP book, starting to think could be running out of time. Eeeek
[ March 17, 2006: Message edited by: Mark Hanlon ]
 
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I agree, especially on the obsfucated code. It is enough to remember how all the Java data stuctures work plus to know the syntax in implementation. To include syntax errors in the exam questions seems near the point of harassment.
 
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Cobol that's the future. I'm telling you (you heard it hear first).



Funny. You now Acucorp is releasing AcuCOBOL 7.2 version.


What is the point of learning a ton of syntax just so we can know if something compiles or not, that's waht compilers are for er..... compiling.



Actually, if you know the stuff, that is easy. The exam isn't about what compiles and doesn't really, because that is what compilers are for. It is just answers that must be in the multiple choices for everyone, since if it was just in one of them, then you would know that that is the answer.


- How many feckin gotchas are there down to obsfucated syntax, that you would be fired for writing?



Huh? Where?


- Why do you have to memorize so many method signatures isn't that what API doc's are for?



There is no question that asks what is the method signature of this class/method. That is memorization and Javadoc are for. I can guarantee that.


Generics are not as good as C++ templates



This is Java, Java is not C, nor should it be.


I HATE Autoboxing (ooh it does stuff automatically, great another thing to remember)



What is there to remember? You now don't have to use new Integer(10) or Integer.intValue() anymore, and the compiler can't upcast and autobox at the same time. End of story.

If you studied for the 1.4 exam, I know you would have more signatures to memorize and make you even more fed up.

Good Luck, take a nap, and take a deep breathe.

Have Fun. GO COBOL.

Mark
 
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Originally posted by Mark Hanlon:
What is the point of learning a ton of syntax just so we can know if something compiles or not, that's waht compilers are for er..... compiling.
...
- Why do you have to memorize so many method signatures isn't that what API doc's are for?
- Hasn't the job world got into an awful state (I'm doing SCJP just so I can get past the total idiotic personal departments)....

[ March 17, 2006: Message edited by: Mark Hanlon ]




For me the exam/certification gives me:
1)a clear consicse goal that I can set an end target date for.

2)A focused amount of knowledge. I am not wasting energy learning unnecessarey things.

3)A means to keep up with current technology. Ok 1.5 is just comming to the industry. Passing the 1.5 exam helps me say I know 1.5 and I have an independant 3rd party that will back me up.

4)I.M.H.O. Most of the knowledge is stuff you well need to learn anyways. What does it hurt to have a independant 3rd part certify your knowledge.

5) Certs are tie breakers between canidates.

6) in my last job search, most personel depts were never involved. Most of the managers searched for my resume directly, and found my resume based on buzz words in the resume. having all the sun certs are great buzz words that the search engines pick up.
 
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Hey Mark,

We understand your pain! We tried to make the new exam more relevant and 'real world' than the older exams.

Sun is pretty much tied to the test engine they use because Prometric seems to have the best world-wide test center coverage. So, if we take as a given that we are restricted to multiple choice and drag and drop questions, we'd really like to get your feedback (and everyone else's too) about how to make the next exam even better. Seriously! When we designed the 1.5 exam we used a LOT of feedback from SCJP 1.4 candidates, so your feedback can really help.

Thanks,

Bert
 
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hello,

I find any question that is based on the API or language specification and covered by the official exam objectives legitimate. The topics in the exam objectives are well chosen according to their importance. From what I heard about SCJP 5.0 and know from my own experience with an other "performance based" exam (SCWCD 1.4) I have doubts about the "performance based" style, though. In my opinion the questions should be made so that the correct answer is absolutely objective on basis of the specifications. The advantages of a "performance based" style are noted.

I agree that the exam is quite hard compared to other Sun Java exams. This is not bad, though. There should be a difference between knowing basic Java syntax and being a certified professional. It should not be so that just by reading a tutorial and writing a few hundrets of kilobytes of code one passes automatically. My estimation of the difficulty is based on the SCJP 5.0 mock exams by Whizlabs. I made my SCJP 1.4 with 96 % years ago, but still get less than 90 % in those 5.0 mock exams.

I am a SCJP 1.4, SCJD, SCWCD 1.4, SCBCD, SCJA and passed SCEA part 1.

Kai
[ March 20, 2006: Message edited by: Kai Witte ]
 
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Hi,

I agree there is a part of the process that requires pure memorization.

However, consider how many times you will focus on all those details:
hopefully, only one time in your Java career (unless you take an upgrade exam).

Is this investment required? I think so. Maybe you will eventually forget many minor details but at least you will remember they exist and know exactly where to look to find an answer.

I remember studying many details thinking that my understanding was good... Mock exams told me otherwise, forcing me to study until I truly understand each detail.

I passed SCJP 1.4 with only three errors, a pretty good score.

But I also know that passing the test today, a year later, my score would not be that good because I already forgot some minor syntax rules that any IDE catches automatically.

Investing 8 to 12 weeks (12-16 hrs per week), focusing on all details, one time in a Java career seems fair enough to me.
 
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I'm also studying for 1.5 exam about page 600 or so. Seems to be much more difficult than 1.4 exams. Somehow 1.4 was more clear cut. Knowing the text material don't seem to gurantee getting the questions correctly. I think you need a bit more details to answer those questions correctly.
 
Mark Hanlon
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Okey dokey then, there's been a couple of replies about not having to understand obsfucated syntax or memorise method signatures. Here's a couple of examples from Cathy and Berts fantastic book (thank god I bought it!!!)

All instance members(well constants really) of an interface are public static and final by default, ergo if you see something declared as

interface Test
{
int hey=45;
void poo();
}

You can't modify "hey" because it is public static and final by default ans there is nothing you can do about it, but it's just a gotcha (yet another trick question). By not making you declare it public static and final I would argue it obsfucates the code, the compiler catches it, what's the point in learning it.

Anonymous inner classes, Method local inner classes you cannot for one second defend this as non-obsfucated, it's shocking and should be booted out the language (I can just about handle(see the need) for regular inner classes but who came up with the idea for those other turkeys.

Dates- Months are zero based, everything use isn't (brilliant).

As for memorizing method signature, yes you do otherwise you would get into a massive pickle with all the collections classes (see P568 and 569) in Cathy and Berts book.

And finally for obsfucated syntax (in the exam watch P604) this is legal.
class X{public <X> X(X x){}}
Uh huh no way is the non obsfucated, no way.

I'm going to try and pass the exam but I pretty much think it's worthless.
 
Bert Bates
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Hey Mark,

First off, thanks for the kind words!

It seems like a lot of your concerns are more about if the language itself is obscure, and if the API has some 'less than clear' areas. Well, don't get me started on the API

When the exam creation team got together, we weren't empowered to clean up the API or to modify the language. The question is what should we be testing on? And it's really a sincere question. We could put the question another way: What would to take out, and what would you put in its place?

Thanks,

Bert
 
Mark Hanlon
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Hey there,

First off can I just say that I'm not having a go at Bert or Kathy, I think the book is fantastic and totally does the job that it sets out to do (gets you to pass the SCJP exam), also can I also acknowledge that I know it is far easier to criticise something than it is to create something, so if I have put any of the exam creators noses out of joint, sorry for that.

So for a change (ahem) here's some positive suggestions for the exam.
1) Take out the "Does not compile" answers, (IMHO) all it tests is how hard you can concentrate on a block of code and not whether you actually understand the core java concepts. Someone that doesn't spot a missing a semi-colon can still be a zillion times better programmer than someone that spots it (indeed don't chess grand masters using chunking rather than tracing through a ton of specifics)? It's kind of like those spot the difference pictures, but in code.
2) Keep in all the "An exception is thrown at runtime" questions. This is something that programmers need to know occurs and will allow them to build more robust programs (as opposed to spending all their exam preparation time looking for compile time errors).
3) Wouldn't it be good if preparing for the exam actually taught you/reinforced useful skills that were actually beneficial in industry (i.e. imagine an employer saying that someone actually became a better programmer after taking the SCJP exam, instead of knowing about the subtleties of rarely used syntax e.g. inner classes declared inside methods).
4) Instead of focusing on the multiple choice answers what would be far more useful is the drag and drop type questions where you can make some code that will demonstrate that you know how to assemble code that will complete a task.

In summary, the exam makes you learn all the parts of Java, but is this actually useful in industry? I think it's interesting that a lot of people are very good java programmers but have never sat the SCJP (given the crazy deadlines that we all end up with, most programmers will skip the stuff they know they will never use). I think if the exam focused on producing/reinforcing best(most useful/safe) practice, it would have a far greater uptake and become much more valuable in industry. You could do this by concentrating on all the useful(main) elements of java and skip the guff. Why not include some stuff on patterns (I know it's not Java specific, but what it would say is "I know some main design principles and I can do them in java" which is much more useful than "Variables can never be marked strictfp")

But hey I'll probably fail the exam on Friday so what do I know
 
Bert Bates
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Some good suggestions...

More drag and drops are possible for sure!

On the real exam we really tried to get away from sneaky 'does not compile' stuff, like a missing semicolon, unless it's some really weird important detail like with an inner class. You might find some mock exams that leave out things like a normal old semicolon, but that won't be on the real exam.

One of the things we've found for ourselves, and that others have related, is that studying for the exam does end up giving you a bigger 'Java toolbox'. I know that before I got my SCJP, I had coded professionally for many years with many different languages, and typically, because of job pressures, I would learn just enough of the language du jour to get by. One of the goals of the Sun certifications is to broaden the candidates knowledge and 'toolkit' so that they'll be exposed to the way the language is supposed to be used - not just 'enough to get by'.

hth,

Bert
 
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I think studying for the exam makes you understand the Java API on a better level. As Bert said i have also been through the same phase where you are mostly following the plug and play model of programming and use only what is necessary. SCJP pays attention to all the minor details and makes you better equipped to handle real life programming challenges.
 
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I personally feel that preparing for the SCJP helps alot. I had worked for more than a year as a Java developer and had used Swing and core APIs during the development. But that was all through R&D and Googling.

Finally I decided 2 appear for SCJP 1.4 and believe me, there were lots of occasions when while preparing I found to my surprize...Oops !! I never knew that was possible through Java...and I never knew Java could be so powerful.

After appearing, though I did not fare according to my expectations, I found that I had gained alot about the language. Infact I have started loving Swing even more after that...though I am now involved with web development but I surely would love to be into Swing Development.

So yes, it has given me an enhanced toolbox to play with. The topics that really made me a more powerful programmer, were the Collection and Wrapper classes. They are certainly quite effective...sort of get u to do anything with anything in Java.

In the end, I felt that appearing for SCJP 1.4 was worth the try...at least on the conceptual aspect.
 
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---
any Certifications reason detre ("reason detre" -- borowed from from K&B book)should be guidance.. to guide one towars a goal to become a good programmer, architect etc ..give them right path ....sometimes to hold their hands guiding through ... these are the principles of the teacher one that is distinguished and good ...

as far as I see SCJP does not serves that role very well... it is way too far from being realistic, superior .. reason? many ..

---- REASONS ----
1) we all live in times that there are IDEs, Editors tools that we use to be efficient ... (don't tell me that,K&B write their books in Notepad )
these tools, at minimum, help us to write code that will enforce some coding style,help identify basic unintentional sytax errors etc ... and they have been around quite a while now ..: Jedit, Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ etc ... (editPlus )
but, seems that either test creators forgot about the fact that those IDEs exist , and they write their code, including test samples, in pico, or something is fundamentally wrong with the attitude or test specifications ...

what is the purpose or the goal of test questions that have this tricky little syntaxt errors somewhere in the middle of obfsculaded code sample ?
things that easily would be caught by any IDE or editor; Does that follow the statement " if you write your code in notepad you can write it anywhere?" who cares about thinking in binary attitude?

--- OFFTOPIC ---
you know I have known some people that learn how to use VI just to get that fuzzy little feeling in their stomach that they are so different that they can work with vi .. oh common....when there are such a great IDEs like netbeans eclipse etc and they run on all possible sane platforms ...? why would one want to learn VI now?
yes I agree VI/emacs had their glory , but not now..
--- END OF OFFTOPIC ---

things that realistically never will be a case or an issue in real life ..
no employer is going to fire a worker just because he just tried to compile a code and he forgot a closing brace or two ...

2) what�s up with unformatted test code and method names like

what you try to test? that I can be good at tongue breakers?
and a contradicting unformatted code? does not SUN has a proposed coding standards? why there are test codes that are purposely unformatted class, method all in one line etc ...
is it because creator run out of test question ideas ?

What I see in these type of question is that fact that test creators feel so good that they can come up with such a tricky insanely hard to read test questions that they forgot the important characteristic of every good teacher/testCreator to be simple to be able explain Polymorphism to a dog (copyright: from javaranch tutorials)
I am not saying test should be simple, NO they HAVE to be tough, very tough but realistic.

To be short, SCJP should aim at testing a fundamental core knowledge of JAVA language, ones that are in test now are good as well , but take out all those insane unrealistic totally useless "will not compile questions", and instead concentrate on the fact : how do we make a foundation for the testakers to take right path towards becoming a great programmers architects etc ..

How about putting reflection? annotations? will not they be more useful VS teaching tiebreaking eyebraking skills?

Or asking to memorize all methods of MATH class? What is the purpose of existence for API documentation? Or one is not allowed to look up a floor method in the documentation when he needs to ?

so main problem I see in test is unrealistic questions that do not add anything but an extra headache for testtakers.

this is what I think
Best Regards.
[ March 22, 2006: Message edited by: levani dvalishvili ]
 
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How about putting reflection? annotations? will not they be more useful VS teaching tiebreaking eyebraking skills?



I completely agree on this. While the current 1.4/1.5 topics can be learn quite easily even on job, w/o reading books, tpics like those above are more extensivley used in enterprise code, and should be learnt to more depth.
 
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Hi,

I didnt want to post , but cudnt stop myself , just a single reply :

WRITE THE EXAM IF ANYONE(I AM NOT POINTING ANYONE) WANT TO WRITE IT , OTHERWISE FORGET IT....
BUT IF ANYONE HAS DECIDED TO WRITE IT , THEN PLEASE MAINTAIN THE GRACE OF EXAM , DONT SPOIL IT PLEASE ....
 
Vishal Chugh
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Hi,

I didnt want to post , but cudnt stop myself , just a single reply :

WRITE THE EXAM IF ANYONE(I AM NOT POINTING ANYONE) WANT TO WRITE IT , OTHERWISE FORGET IT....
BUT IF ANYONE HAS DECIDED TO WRITE IT , THEN PLEASE MAINTAIN THE GRACE OF EXAM , DONT SPOIL IT PLEASE ....ITS UNBEARBALE

I wish this thread shud have been killed a long back...

sorry if anyone is hurted.I couldnt stop myself.

WE SHUD NEVER FORGET K&B BOOK IS IRREPLACABLE MASTERPIECE ON EARTH , YOU CAN CURSE ANY OTHER BOOK BUT NOT THIS PLEASE....THIS BOOK IS PRECIOUS..ITS LINES ARE PRECIOUS...

Thanks
Vishal
 
Bert Bates
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Hi Niranjan,

This was a really, really old thread. We leave these threads around for research purposes, but in general we discourage "resurrecting" old threads like this. If you want to make a new, current point, please feel free to start a new thread, but it's really confusing and misleading to tack a new idea onto a thread that's been dead for 2 years.

Thanks,

Bert
 
Niranjan Deshpande
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Appologies Bert,

I was doing some research on the upgrade exam and hence was searching some old threads.

Will keep in mind next time.
 
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