I took the SCEA5 part 1 exam and managed to pass with a score of 44/64 (68%). Though not a great score yet I would like to thank the community here whose valuable insights made me prepare quickly as I was pressed against time. I had brought the voucher at a discounted price and the expiry date was approaching , but being crunched against time I had v little time to prepare. With this post I would like to convey some of the areas I felt could be helpful for architects who are planning to take the exam but do not have much time to prepare.
* Please do not attempt to take the exam with 3 weeks preparation if you are not have much hands on experience with java technologies. This is because most of the questions are based on experience not from study materials.
** That said here are few measures that could help you as a crash course - typically 3 week preparation, with the assumption that you have atleast 6-8 years of reasonable experience with Java technologies
 Understanding the exam : Most of the posts here actually would help you understand what kind of questions are asked. Take out 1 day to navigate some of the posts in this forum, which will give you a brief idea about the exam.
 What to study : Soild understanding of Design Patterns, EJB 3.0 (as well as backward compatibility with Ejb 2.1) ,JSF, JMS, JCA,JAX-WS their strengths and weakness and applicable areas is sufficient to cross you little above the halfway mark (32+) . Remember as mentioned so many times no APIs are asked, but what kind of APIs exist will make you solve some of the tricky questions
 The leftovers : Being strong in  above should easily fetch you around 31-33 marks. To ensure a complete passing focus on Java Security and all JEE areas where securtity can be applied.
 Common sense from working experience : Common Architectures and Applicability of JEE architectures are based directly on your experience. Apply what you would have done on your projects that will ensure you some marks.
 At the prometric centre Since passing is the major criteria here, focus to attempt EVERY question and spare atleast 30-40 mins after the 64th question for review. This review could prove crucial , espicially if you did some corrections the last moment and found that the score is 37, dot pass. One mistake and few worthy dollars goes in waste. So make sure to spend ALL the alloted time and sound review.
Finally  SCEA 5 materials : The exam demands understanding than remembering study materials so the entire focus for study should be to gain quick insights into the technology. Books and eBooks that focus on all the important concepts should be of help.
Design Patterns : MZ notes are awesome, take that to be some kind of Bible for DP
EJB3.0 : Mastering EJB3.0 (focus also on backward compatibility)
JAX-WS: SOA using Java Web Services
Security : JEE Tutorial
Congratulations & Thanks for sharing your experience, can you share for the below qns as well?
how about questions on web tier components ? do we need to know all the tags and their usages in JSTL?
And how did you prepare for Section 6: Applicability of Java EE Technology ? is SOA using Java Web Services should do for this?
Questions are asked exactly on what the objectives have been laid out. So for web tier if you check the objectives from sun site
-State the benefits and drawbacks of adopting a web framework in designing a Java EE application
-Explain standard uses for JSP pages and servlets in a typical Java EE application.
-Explain standard uses for JavaServer Faces components in a typical Java EE application.
-Given a system requirements definition, explain and justify your rationale for choosing a web-centric or EJB-centric implementation to solve the requirements. Web-centric means that you are providing a solution that does not use EJB components. EJB-centric solution will require an application server that supports EJB components"
Expect questions on those lines only . Like whether Swing, Ajax or JSF which one will be most high in performance. No tags are required but its important yopu understand the 6 important stages that JSF undergoes , try to compare them to a servlet architecture or JSP and see where you can use them. EJB's are used where there is transaction and concurrency requirement else you could just use DAO and servlet. Some basic things like that. When would you use JPA persistence and when would you not?
As an architect you might have already done this exercise when laying out a design strategy. If not here is an exercise that will help you. Draw a table with all distinct layers and tiers as it headers vertically and horizontally and then fill in the required technology or API. The picture that comes out of this exercise will be sufficient to make you understand when and where which technologies are required.
Except for questions on design patterns most of the questions cannot be singled out beloning to any specific section because underlying principle behind all questions is one and same and that is "architecture understanding".
I also had a similar experience about 2 days ago. I answered most of the questions from my real life experience.
I would appreciate members who have secured 90% and above to share their experience on how they prepared for the questions.
To me, most of the questions could have been answered in two different ways, specially in the Web Technologies section. I prefer JSP over JSF because JSF is new and may be, there are no resources available. So while answering the questions, one has to align their thought process with the exam creators, to score good.
Preparation from standard texts will only provide knowledge, but not the expertise required to score high :-). Again, this is my personal opinion.
Any suggestions on how to start preparing for Part-2 and 3 of the exam would help.
pie. tiny ad:
Building a Better World in your Backyard by Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop