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Passed the SCJP - 85%

 
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I missed 9 questions out of 60.

80% Declarations, Initialization, and Scoping
90% Flow Control
85% API Contents
100% Concurrency
70% OO Concepts
87% Collections/Generics
88% Fundamentals

I used the SCJP book by Katherine Sierra and Bert Bates, the Rules Roundup here at JavaRanch, and my own notes compiled while studying for the exam. I worked every example in the book, created a custom sort module which will be useful on the job, created many small test programs, and performed many Google searches, as well. I'm just happy to have passed; I would even have been happy with the minimum passing score of 58%, because I REALLY didn't want to waste the 300 dollar testing fee, which came out of my own pocket. I feel the thing that helped the most, was actually compiling my own notes! There's nothing like writing something down, or explaining something to another person, for really understanding study material.

I studied for about 192 hours over a 6 week period, to ensure I didn't waste that $300. It may have been overkill, but not by much - some of the subtler aspects I discovered during that 6 weeks period, were on the exam, and had I not studied that long, I would have missed them.

A better score would have been nice, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it. I have some concerns about the quality control on the test. One of the questions asked 'Which 2 of these OO concepts are being illustrated?', yet gave me a radio button to pick two items! There's no way I could have answered that question correctly - I would have needed checkboxes to pick two answers, not radio buttons. Another question had as its function signature something like 'public int() SlapHappyCoding { // do something here; }', yet 'Do not compile' was not one of the available options. People who got 100% must not have gotten the questions I got.

I would say the questions on the test were equivalent to the easy-to-medium questions on the mock exams. The questions all seemed fair, and reasonable - I didn't encounter any questions like the ones I disliked from the mock exams, where you have to figure out this big long program, and calculate the correct answer, but STILL get it wrong because "you didn't import java.io.* up top! Har! Har!".

I don't know how much help the mock exams really were, in the big picture; after going through this process, I don't think they helped as much as I imagined they would. The first time I took them, I scored in the 50% area. I didn't feel too badly, because the tests contained new information that wasn't presented in the book, and several of the questions seemed unfair. The second time I took the mock exams, I got 95%, but at that point, how much of the score is due to knowing the material, and how much of it is recognizing the answers from the first time I took the test? It's like the mock exams are useful only once, but beware - they may come at the cost of gutting your self confidence. The main useful thing the mocks exams gave me, was this: be very, very careful in reading the wording on the question - sometimes they're not testing you on what you think they're testing you on.
 
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Congrats
 
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Congrats, Cindy!
 
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Congratulations.
 
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. . . Congratulations - Hope to join you soon. Thanks for the comments . . .
 
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Big congratulations, Cindy. After you posted a note yesterday morning that you were taking the exam in two hours, I (as everyone else) grew concerned from not hearing back from you all day. Well, as it turns out it's happy news and a nice long debriefing report from you. Many thanks.
 
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Congratulations!!! Cindy!!!
Even i was waiting to hear from you, after your "taking the test after 2 hours"
Iam giving the exam on coming Wednesday. I was concerned my mock scores are not great. Now i feel little better.
Did you read the "2 minute drill" at the end of each chapter in K&B book, before the exam as recommended?

 
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congrats cindy
 
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Congrats Cindy!!!
 
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Congrats, and thanks for the link to the notes. They are well made.
 
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Congrats and keep up the good work.
 
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Congrulation ..... really your comments are so usefull and also your syudy notes
 
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Congrats!
 
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Congratulations !!
 
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Congratulations Cindy
Thanks for yours comments and also for sharing your notes !!!
 
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Great Job Cindy, congrats!

It sucks that your employer won't pick up the cost of the exam for you.

Your notes are quite thorough. Thanks for making these available!

I took the SCJP 1.4 back in Nov 08 and got a 49%...just short of the required 52% but only took 3 weeks to study (it clearly wasn't enough!). I am now studying again for 1.6 and agree with you about the mock exams...they sometimes seem overly difficult and I question how helpful they are.

Which mock exams did you take? Sun's Own or some other brand?
 
Vinod Tiwari
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Congrats Cindy
 
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Congrats buddy
 
Cindy Carney
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Thanks everyone!

I read the "2 minute drill" at the end of each chapter in the book, but I was disappointed by how sparse they were - they didn't cover lots of stuff that was presented in the chapter, that I felt needed highlighting. I don't think reviewing those 2 minute drills would be enough to pass the test - that's why I made my own notes. I wanted to present all the information that I was apt to get wrong, in a condensed format for cramming the day before.

The mock exams I took were the ones that came with the book. I also took Sun's mock exam, but it was very small, and didn't explain wrong answers, so I didn't count it when listing what I studied.

Basically, the notes should be considered as supplementary material for someone who's learning Java from other sources, such as the Sierra/Bates book. Though the notes are short, they ARE useful! I think the multithreading example I presented in Section 9 is quite compelling - it really nails home multithreading for the confused and befuddled. I also incorporated educational information in the notes that I DIDN'T find on the book or the mock exam with the book, such as the fact that you can't compare enums with < or > .

Feel free to use the ideas presented in the notes however you want. I haven't really seen a good treatment of multithreading in a Java book before, which is why I spent all that effort on Section 9; I think it would be keen if my multithreaded explanation makes things easier for future Java students.
 
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