Just thought sharing my exam experience might be helpful for others who are preparing...
I have over 10 years exp in Java world. SCJP & SCBCD( EJB 2.0) with excellent scores and good knowledge of Web tier technologies and web services (WSDL and Axis manly, never used JAX-WS API).
Started preparing for part 1 almost 6 weeks ago. Here is the sequence of events ....
1) Week1: Crash course of first 5 or 6 chapters of Cade's second edition. I found it easy so wanted to jump on next step....
2) Week2 to Week3: bought ePractiseLabs simulator. I set my goal to 80%. Very first attempt of tests, I was getting about 65 to 80% in tests. I failed in couple of java security related tests. In 2 to 3 weeks, I felt very comfortable in this simulator and I set goals to 90% and then I was at 95% in most of the questions.
Note: This simulator is good for refreshing the memories and judge your basic knowledge but I felt it's too easy and PLEASE do NOT expect any same question, usecase or business scenario in the real exam. The real exam for me was far beyond the standards of this simulator. But this simulator package boosted my confidence initially.
3) Week 4: Went thru the JEE tutorial real fast. I skipped details of JSF, JPA & many other pages because of time constraint.
4) Week 5: By now, I had identified my weaknesses and reviewed all of them and prepared more on them. I did 10 sets of mock exams on Java Champ. I found them very useful but again nothing similar or same in the exam. The quality of test questions in Java Champ is better than ePractizeLab and similar to Oracle's ePractise test. I scheduled my test after getting an avergae of 87% score in Java Champ.
5) Week 6: I bought Oracle's ePractise and scored 87% & 78% respectively. At this point, I was confident that I can clear the real exam.
I appeared in the real exam today:
1) Every single question, yes I mean every single question was tricky and above my expectation. All GoF pattern questions were based on business scenarios. My test started with GoF and few questions checking the knowledge of 2 to 3 patterns within same question. So if you are confused about even a single statement or pattern, whole question is wrong. Most of the J2EE patterns were about the advantages & disadvantages of patterns. No direct text matching from books.
2) Most of the security questions were related to drag and drop. The dragging and dropping was very tricky. I could not drop the first choice for almost 3 minutes. I thought, I am missing something or doing something wrong. It wasn't staying after dropping. Then, somehow I noticed, if you keep dragging in the area, in particular place, it changes the cursor and that's when you want to release the mouse -
3) Overall 80% questions were lengthy and in some cases, I really had no idea what the business scenario was talking about. I read them twice but when I saw the options, they did not match much and I gave up in those questions.
4) I had gone thru almost 500 different set of questions in mock exams but trust me, I did not see even a single question appearing in the real exam from these mocks...
Most of the mock exams talk about standard ESB question. I was happy for few seconds while reading the question but when I saw the options, ESB was not available to pick so I picked JAX-WS.
5) Oracle's ePractise is complete waste of money for me.
Finally, I was able to get a score of 67% in real exam.
SCEA5 is real tough exam and i will say almost everybody will agree that it's race against time also. Questions are lengthy and they are not on one single topic-they test your knowledge for multiple topics in one single question. The prometric center i went in Central Jersey was telling me in 2009 that almost 80% people have failed this exam(part 1)-don't know how much true that statement is.
One need to have very good fast reading habit and ability to understand it better.
Yes you are right, non of the books or mock exams come close to real exam and that's why the candidates are sort of unprepared. One has to really hold on to the nerves to pass this exam.
Once again congrats!!!
You are yet not done....1st Aug 2011
will myers wrote:Hmmmm, less than 2 weeks before I take this exam and I thought I was fully prepared for it!
I have seen in other posts that the patterns are mostly the JEE patterns and not GoF, is this correct?
That wasn't true in my exam at all. I got more questions from GoF patterns and none of them was straight forward or text matching stuff from books. Couple of questions were business cases where I had to pick multiple patterns 2 to 3 patterns in the same option means you should exactly know whats fitting & where. I think, I got all those questions wrong as the options were also almost similar like A) Prototype, Builder, Visitor B) Abstratct Factory, Builder, visitor C) Builder & Visitor only....something like this.
Most of the J2EE patterns questions were about the advantages & disadvantages. Trick here was to pick 3 out of 6 options. In most cases I picked 2 advantages very easily but the third one gave me tough time in every single question.
Also, forgot to mention yesterday that when the test begins, you are presented with terms & conditions page, your time for the test starts right from there so in my case I just skipped the T's&C's page after 30 seconds.
Marcelo Ortega wrote:Congrats Rajan and thanks for the advise.
By the way, how would you compare the real exam to Cade's questions in his study guide?
IMHO, the only good thing about the Cade's question is that they are based on business use cases. But the complexity, trickiness & quality of questions can really not be compared with real exam. I found real exam questions drafted very carefully. There were many ups & downs for me in the exam. At some point I gave up & then somehow got back to business with new hopes