May I ask, why did you take OCPJSE6 and not OCPJSE7?
That's what I heard too: I read it here in the Code Ranch and in the book, and one of the guys in my group who passed the exam (with a 90% - ugh!!) said that the exam was way easier. I guess maybe the questions on the exam aren't harder per se, but they are different. The exam asked questions about code examples that have issues that are addressed in the book (thoroughly), but the issues are not specifically in the practice exams or self-tests. I think I went in to exam thinking that it would be made up of questions just like what I had been practicing with, just with different class and variable names and wording. The exam seemed to be testing me more on my practical programming knowledge (i.e. "does this code compile/produce this output...") and less on my academic knowledge (definitions, true/false statements, etc), which is the style of about half of the questions that I practiced with. I think I have to take those academic practice questions a step farther and write code that applies to them, just to see exactly what it looks like.
Also, I am concerned now myself, because I have read somewhere that the questions in the Bates/Sierra books are WAY harder than those on the real exam.
The weekend before my exam, on quiz A attempts, I was getting between 80 and 90%. On quiz B, I was scoring a little lower, somewhere between the low 70s and mid 80s. I think that I was getting scores that high because by the fourth and fifth time I was taking the quizzes, even though I was trying not to, I was recognizing the problem, remembering what "the issue was" and honing in on it instead of really figuring it out or thoroughly understanding it.
How well did you do on the practice exams in Bates/Sierra?
I totally know what you mean - it seems like my poor book has more of my writing in it than that of the authors'! And I printed out each of the questions on the practice exams and wrote lengthy explanations of the answers that gave me trouble and the page numbers that they corresponded with. I was asked about my failure "Aren't you disappointed?" and "Aren't you mad?" I can honestly say if it had been a Finance exam (I'm a recovering Business major), I would be totally p***ed to have wasted that many hours/days/weeks/months of effort on something that I couldn't care less about. But man! Having gone through the Sierra/Bates book so thoroughly has given me SUCH a great foundation. Just a few months ago I barely recognized the words "polymorphism", "interface", or "exception", not to mention I didn't have a clue what a thread or a hashcode was. The work I've put in over the last few months gave me the ability to have an intelligent conversation with my coworkers about object oriented programming, not to mention the general foundation that I'd been wanting for almost a year! Now I just have to fine-tune it so I can pass that darn exam!
A large part of my effort in studying for this exam is the effort involved *after* I have answered questions - in fact, I often have to take a break before marking questions because I know there's just as much effort involved in the marking bit.