Iarla O'Riada wrote:Hi folks,
I passed the exam with 83% and just wanted to add some info that I found helpful.
First, I want to share praise for Mala Gupta's OCA Programmer I exam certification book. Most of the advice online recommended using two books and enthuware software. Although I bought the enthuware package and used it once, I in fact only used Mala Gupta's book and some google/stack overflow searches.
I set up an Eclipse (but I'm changing to NetBeans) project for each chapter and created a class that had examples of code and a lot of comments in bullet points at the top. These were drawn from the book but eventually became my main study aid after going through the book three times. As I found errors in my interpretations or learned new info, I updated these notes and they became ingrained in my memory.
I did the end of chapter exam questions every few days and classified the errors I made. I learned how easy it is to forget over time and how important it is to repeat questions I was solid in previously. Surprisingly, the greatest mistake was misreading the question or code because I was going too fast. Also, the 'negative' questions (eg, which of the following questions are _incorrect_) caught me out a lot so I used a tip that Mala Gupta posted in the forums and crossed my fingers for these questions as a reminder to reverse my logic while reading the options to answer with.
I transferred the errata that's maintained for the book into the chapters so I knew I had the right information. I kept an eye on this from time-to-time. I also found an error and notified the author and updated my own text. Finding an error in a book can be very time consuming, but I remember the topic well as a result. In a book with a lot of errors this would be an issue, but I only found one that wasn't in the errata.
My greatest difficulty was that this was not a good time to be studying for an exam due to external factors and personal matters that needed attention. I would encourage you to pace yourself according to what exam dates are available in your test center too. Taking a few weeks off study made me very rusty and made re-reading a requirement.
In the exam itself, the first question had what I thought was an error and I spent time doubting myself. I noticed my confidence dropping so I marked it for later and moved on. I encourage you to not get stuck on questions as time may be precious.