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Using mock tests for SCJP - should I/not?

 
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Many people say that mock tests are really good to use in preparation for SCJP and thats enough. Some have kindly provided us the links (Thanks!). Some took the pain to write mock tests too(Many thanks!).
Well, all of them also say that we cannot expect questions from mock tests. They all agree that getting the theory perfect is essential.
I do not understand one thing here, inspite of the above reasons, why does lot of people *insist* on mock tests? In my opinion, mock tests are just a way to get well acquainted with the exam in terms of interface, time, etc. But they are not at all the only best way to do the exam, as many proclaim.
Let me also mention here to the readers of K&B: the authors never suggested us to do mock tests to get good/great score in the exam. I would, to the end, like to get the *best* opinion/suggestion on the relation between scjp and mock tests.
Many thanks in advance!

[ February 24, 2007: Message edited by: Faisal Pasha ]
[ February 24, 2007: Message edited by: Faisal Pasha ]
 
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Consider any other task you want to achieve, e.g. building a wall or learning to play the trombone.

You can read about wall building a great deal but in the end you need to actually practice doing it. You can read about playing the trombone, but if you want to get good at it, you really really need to practice actually doing it. An very good way of passing exams is to practice taking the exams and to do that you need good quality mock exams.
 
Faisal Ahmad
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Marcus, thanks for your reply. Please look at this scenario:
Didn't study much theory and didn't do much coding. And, yeah! Have done lot of mock tests and wherever I was wrong in them, studied and memorized that point very well. Just in a matter of 1-2 months!
Now, could you please tell me is that ok?
Thanks.
PS: Someone somewhere (http://www.coderanch.com/t/141586/sr/certification/passed-SCJP) claimed: "The key to success in the scjp exam is doing lot of mock tests." In such case, Java Tutorial combined with a bunch of mock tests are enough! Why KB and others?

[ February 24, 2007: Message edited by: Faisal Pasha ]
[ February 24, 2007: Message edited by: Faisal Pasha ]
 
Faisal Ahmad
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Here follows an opinion of 98% scorer, without any mock tests:
[i]K&B book is a must. the authors are the insiders of this game. If you know everything mentioned in their book, you can beat the exam with 80% minimum, no sweat. The other 15 points come from your java coding experience. The last five points are pure luck... [i]
Here is the link: http://www.coderanch.com/t/141575/sr/certification/Clear-SCJP
 
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To expand on what Marcus said about practice, and needing "good quality mock exams," there are certain types of questions that you should be familiar with. Regardless of how well you know the concepts, the first few times you actually work through these questions will be challenging -- or at least time consuming. Mock exams will add proficiency to your knowledge. So when the exam asks "how many objects are created," or "when will this object be eligible for garbage collection," you will have developed your own approach for answering these questions. In addition, mock exams will help you identify weak points that you need to focus on, while building confidence as your scores improve.

Now, this is a general approach that best suits a typical candidate. Different people have different backgrounds, different aptitudes, and different learning styles. Naturally, there will be people who score quite well using other approaches. But to prepare for only 1-2 months without doing much coding, or achieve a near-perfect score without doing any mock exams... These are exceptions. So while it might have worked for a particular person, the typical candidate should not regard it as formula for success.

I would also note that exceptional candidates who score well using unusual preparation techniques are more likely to share their experience. In contrast, those who fail the exam following similar approaches are much less likely to publicly announce their failure. So you might consider who you're not hearing from. There is a good reason that common advice is to write lots of test code, and do lots of mock exams: This is how most people pass the exam. If you choose to take a different route... Well, you might be one of the exceptions. But chances are, you will be buying another voucher and rescheduling your exam.
 
Faisal Ahmad
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Thanks for your replies!
I think, I am successful here to see *the best* discussion on mock-tests-for-scjp. Lot of people that are new to take the exam get confused about this issue. More than 90% of them prepare alone. Many of them feel this issue, for sure. Hopefully, all the replies posted here would help them in a best way!
Thanks again and expecting much more posts/replies/suggestions/arguments.
 
Faisal Ahmad
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And here is someone who concentrated *ONLY* on K&B and nothing else and got 96% result! Please visit this link, very much interesting! http://www.coderanch.com/t/141153/sr/certification/not-bad-Cleared-SCJP
Some excerpts from the above post:
--> If you are an average guy (or girl) like me, you better go for K&B book.
--> And another reason for you to go for K & B book is that it's very interesting to read, you won't feel boredom especially if you are reading late nights after you got exausted working at the office.
--> I took the "Self Test" very seriously after I finished a particular chapter. You may get 30 to 40 % of the wrong, but don't lose your heart. It's a good indication for you to concentrate on the topics you answered incorrectly.

--> Just before 10 days, this is what I did (from K & B book and CD):
* Read all the exam watches
* Read all the certification summary
* Read all the 2 Minute Drills
* Took all the Self Test

--> Just before 3 days:
* Read all the exam watches
* Read all the certification summary
* Read all the 2 Minute Drills

[ February 24, 2007: Message edited by: Faisal Pasha ]
 
Faisal Ahmad
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Wow!! Here comes suggestions from 100% scorer.. don't miss it!!
http://www.coderanch.com/t/141154/sr/certification/Passed-SCJP
Excerpts:

1. The SCJP 5 Study Guide (K&B) is wonderful!
2. Taking a couple of sample exams gives you a better chance of getting a high score.
3. Take some practice exams. You will be able to estimate your level, and you will see what the real exam looks like.

Hth,
 
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