Am happy to say that I cleared SCEA Part 1 today with 76%. I know its not a very great score, but I'm very happy, considering the tight deadlines, increased work pressure etc. I would like to share my experience with you all.
The actual exam was quite tough, with quite a few lengthy questions. Time was not really a problem for me, in fact I finished 15 mins before time, even after I had to review some questions. One thing I noticed about the actual exam was that in no way are the questions comparable to any mock exam out there (I used Whizlabs, and I have seen the Questions from Epractice). The real thing is way, way tougher.
Once again, many people have said this before on the forums, but I'm saying it yet again. Design Patterns questions are scattered all over the place. Spending a lot of time on Gof and J2EE patterns would be a worthwhile investment. Some of the common architecture questions are very tricky. Apart from this, I found the questions on Web, EJB3, Web services, SOA pretty straightforward. There were a lot of tough questions on Security , an area I didn't score very well in.
Here is the list of resources I used (most of these are the ones listed in the other forum posts )
1. MZ's notes (very concise and useful for focussed preparation)..Thanks MZ...u rock!!!
2. J2EE tutorial from Sun (Web, JSF, Web Services,EJB3) - This is a good resource but it calls for selective reading, as it is basically a developer's guide and so is very code intensive. One has to filter out the concepts useful for the exam.
3. EJB3 in Action - Very good for EJB3 and JPA
4. HeadFirst Design Patterns - Excellent Primer for GoF patterns
5. Design Patterns in Java by Steven Metsker and William Wake - Good for understanding the GoF patterns in a Java context
6. Core J2EE Patterns
7. SCEA Study guide for 310-051 by Allen & Bambara. For the older exam but good for some of the common objectives.
8. Notes from sites like javaworld.com , IBM site , on AJAX, Web Services, JCA, Stax, Webstart etc.
9. Whizlabs Mock Exam for SCEA 5 - Good for practice, but nowhere close to the real thing...
Hope that benefits a lot of fellow ranchers, just like it did me!!!