Yesterday, I gave the OCPJP 6 programmer certification exam and got 98% (59 correct out of 60 questions). I want to thank all the members of this forum and especially Kathy & Bert Bates for having written a great book on SCJP 6. I am a great fan of Kathy. The most important thing about her writing style is that, she tries her best to make the reader 'understand' the topic in a more natural way with humour. I simply love her writing style. Period.
Here is how I prepared for the exam, just in case that it might help some one.
To start with, I read Head First Java, which is (one of) the best introductory Java programming book(s). I liked it more than any other book so far. Including the exercises. After reading this I thought I could clear the exam easily. But after having read some mock exam questions, I realized that I was no where near my target.
Next I have gone through the SCJP 6 book written by the same authors, which is another gem. I have read this book for two times. After the first read, I tried the mock exams on the CD, and I was really afraid of the percentage. So, I had to re-read all the contents of the book again. Most importantly, I tuned my mind to solve difficult questions. This time I could understand the concepts well and read in between the lines. This book is more focussed on the exam.
OCPJP 1Z0-851 is no walk in the park. I had to carefully follow all the code samples given in two books, type them and execute them. This is the key to success. I tried to solve and understand the chapter-wise questions given in SCJP book. You can use a good IDE, which actually helps organize all the small the programs you write. After the completion of the preparation, it will be very helpful to go through the code samples and write comments. This will enforce the understanding and you'll learn topics in a new way.
Then next, I took the mock exams on the CD and scored 72% and and 75% percent. This really gave me lot of confidence. After this, I took the exam yesterday and scored well. Actually I thought I would get somewhere around 85%. But scored 98%. So, finally I am a bit happy and wanted to share this with all of you.