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Taking the exam tomorrow; any last advice?

 
David Borchgrevink
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I know I'm still a beginner. I've only been programming (and only in Java) since the beginning of February. But my OCA Exam is scheduled for tomorrow, and I feel I'm ready. As of this morning I've now passed 11 mock exams in a row (Ucertify, Enthuware, Mala Gupta - cycling back and forth so I don't memorize the questions). I'm getting an average score of about 74%-75% with a high of 82. I feel like I'm studying myself to death here, the day before, and I think I need to just stop and breathe. Does anyone have any advice before I go into this tomorrow?

Can anyone offer any insight on the style of question asking I'll be presented with? Each and every resource I've used has had different questioning styles. My current instructor (much better than the last) thinks that the Mala Gupta style is most accurate - he even said he thinks she knows someone in Oracle administration because her question styles are so accurate to the real exam. Which would definitely make me happy as those seem easier than the Enthuware or Ucertify styles.

Either way, thanks coderanchers for all your help the last 4 months, and putting up with my bullshit. Wish me luck!
 
Roel De Nijs
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Here is some advice. And it's still valid
 
Mala Gupta
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Hi David,

I wish you Good Luck. I'm sure you'll pass this exam with flying colors!

With respect,
Mala
 
Paul Anilprem
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David Borchgrevink wrote:As of this morning I've now passed 11 mock exams in a row (Ucertify, Enthuware, Mala Gupta - cycling back and forth so I don't memorize the questions). I'm getting an average score of about 74%-75% with a high of 82.

Not sure if by cycling back and forth you imply that you took same mock test more than once. If you did, you can ignore the score on the second attempt while computing your average. Your scores on the first attempt are the ones that matter.
 
Ed Cardenas
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You can pass it (me too also)!
 
David Borchgrevink
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Welp. I crawl back defeated. No bueno score-o for me In fact I did awful. 51% (maybe we need a Wall of Shame?)

So I'm not going to give in, I'll study my ass of (even more), but maybe I need to change prep materials? In this Java community, what is the best best best material? Maybe I should also look at different test taking strategies. The whole scored/unscored thing really screws with me. Friend in my class took it today too, and he got a 53%. And we both were doing really really good with the prep materials. He managed to answer like 70 of the 90, while I just barely answered all 90 (which I figured HAD to give me a higher score right? ugh...incorectto mundo)

But again, I'm down but not out. I just need some advice/direction on materials if anyone wants to chime in, because i DEFINITELY plan on kicking this thing's ass.

My new life motto, down but not out...

EDIT: and while I won't blame the college, I guess studying night and day will only get you so far when you're in a 6 month accelerated program :/ Wasn't for lack of trying I know that. In due time...
 
Blake Edward
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About 20 months ago I chose "learning Java" as a goal at work. The way I would prove I had gained some mastery was passing this test. There was lots of pressure applied by my manager and the system we use to pass the test before the end of the calendar year, so I spent 4 months studying, took the test anyway and failed it. I knew I would fail when I walked in. I spent most of my waking hours for four months just studying and making small programs.

I took a month off, I then built some programs that worked, built a location based android app for my phone and then took some time away from it. I just started studying again a few weeks ago. I bought the Sierra/Bates book and have started with that. The first chapter alone is eye-opening. I have many good study materials but this book somehow makes obvious the things I had muddled in my head. I can see a passing grade in the future with more hard work. I think this book, even though it has few diagrams, generates good mental images that I need to succeed. I am an art major who does front end design for a large chip manufacturer here in Oregon, I know I can do this. So you can to. I can say that the dryer Oracle books for the test are good reference material, Enthuware is a nice asset to have as well, and the Bates/Sierra book. I will buy the Gupta book in a few months when I exhaust these others and I have a project in mind for the coding aspect of it all. I also started making charts and graphs that help me visualize the access based on the modifiers used. I'm a visual person and was groping in the dark, but the Sierra/Bates book is really turning on some big lights for me right now.
 
David Borchgrevink
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Blake Edward wrote:About 20 months ago I chose "learning Java" as a goal at work. The way I would prove I had gained some mastery was passing this test. There was lots of pressure applied by my manager and the system we use to pass the test before the end of the calendar year, so I spent 4 months studying, took the test anyway and failed it. I knew I would fail when I walked in. I spent most of my waking hours for four months just studying and making small programs.

I took a month off, I then built some programs that worked, built a location based android app for my phone and then took some time away from it. I just started studying again a few weeks ago. I bought the Sierra/Bates book and have started with that. The first chapter alone is eye-opening. I have many good study materials but this book somehow makes obvious the things I had muddled in my head. I can see a passing grade in the future with more hard work. I think this book, even though it has few diagrams, generates good mental images that I need to succeed. I am an art major who does front end design for a large chip manufacturer here in Oregon, I know I can do this. So you can to. I can say that the dryer Oracle books for the test are good reference material, Enthuware is a nice asset to have as well, and the Bates/Sierra book. I will buy the Gupta book in a few months when I exhaust these others and I have a project in mind for the coding aspect of it all. I also started making charts and graphs that help me visualize the access based on the modifiers used. I'm a visual person and was groping in the dark, but the Sierra/Bates book is really turning on some big lights for me right now.


Thanks so much for the response! I was feeling pretty down yesterday, but even before reading your reply (and more so afterwards!), I'm feeling just fine today, aside from being 270 bucks lighter in the wallet Your reply also made me realize that in my post I'm coming off as only wanting that piece of paper which isn't true. I know to be successful in this field I need to understand what I'm doing, and not just memorizing crap. But taking and not passing the OCA just made that more obvious to me. I want to know what I'm doing, and the unforgiving truth at this point, is that I don't right now. BUT from where I was at the beginning of February and now? I never thought I'd get this far. And I'm okay with that, because that just points me in the direction I need to go to be successful

At one point in life I wanted to be an audio/recording engineer. Had zero experience in that field. Went to school for it with a boat load of people who had years of experience, and I finished with 1 of only 3 4.0's in a class of 500. I did get a good job with that degree, but my interests faded. If I can learn to rock an SSL or Neve console with 2,000 buttons, 50 time based/dynamic processors, and a 100+ different patches all working together with zero experience, then I can do this. Point being, with time and effort, anything is possible And I will definitely check that book out ASAP, and get moving towards my goal. Thank you again
 
Blake Edward
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I understand also about it not being about the paper. I think this test is a legit challenge to my personal ability to learn and understand a subject that at times seems over my head. Passing this test doesn't make me a "developer" but it does give me confidence and I'll be more willing to go seeking a job with the certificate in hand and a few projects to show. Of all the things I've done lately this is the one that frustrates me the most. In my time away from studying, I knew in the back of my mind that I would have to get back in the ring and get this done. I decided that I would not have a timeline but that I would study six days a week, some hard, some light, until I was ready to pass the exam. I also separated this goal from work because now it's personal. Coming back after all the study time I have put in, well it just seems like it's starting to make some sense. It's funny, I have a Lead Developer title where I work but it's all front end stuff that takes a good eye for design. It's all built in Adobe CQ which has a Java EE6 back end, JSP, LESS and much more than that. That's what I'm really interested in. Anyway, you sound like me now, that it's a personal thing and you know that within the next 12 months you'll write that test and pass it.
 
David Borchgrevink
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Blake Edward wrote:I understand also about it not being about the paper. I think this test is a legit challenge to my personal ability to learn and understand a subject that at times seems over my head. Passing this test doesn't make me a "developer" but it does give me confidence and I'll be more willing to go seeking a job with the certificate in hand and a few projects to show. Of all the things I've done lately this is the one that frustrates me the most. In my time away from studying, I knew in the back of my mind that I would have to get back in the ring and get this done. I decided that I would not have a timeline but that I would study six days a week, some hard, some light, until I was ready to pass the exam. I also separated this goal from work because now it's personal. Coming back after all the study time I have put in, well it just seems like it's starting to make some sense. It's funny, I have a Lead Developer title where I work but it's all front end stuff that takes a good eye for design. It's all built in Adobe CQ which has a Java EE6 back end, JSP, LESS and much more than that. That's what I'm really interested in. Anyway, you sound like me now, that it's a personal thing and you know that within the next 12 months you'll write that test and pass it.


Thanks again for the kind response! I'm looking for the book you're talking about, and there are a few different Sierra/Bates Java books. Can you tell me which one you're referring to that was helpful? I didn't even realize they write the Head First series; that's what we're using for JavaEE right now. Looking to buy a PDF asap
 
Blake Edward
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David Borchgrevink wrote:Thanks again for the kind response! I'm looking for the book you're talking about, and there are a few different Sierra/Bates Java books. Can you tell me which one you're referring to that was helpful? I didn't even realize they write the Head First series; that's what we're using for JavaEE right now. Looking to buy a PDF asap


I am using "Sun Certified Programmer for Java 6 Study Guide" by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates. It is/was for exam 310-065. Includes 360+ practice questions. Bought it through Amazon.
 
Animesh Nath
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David Borchgrevink wrote:I know I'm still a beginner. I've only been programming (and only in Java) since the beginning of February. But my OCA Exam is scheduled for tomorrow, and I feel I'm ready. As of this morning I've now passed 11 mock exams in a row (Ucertify, Enthuware, Mala Gupta Wish me luck!


Hey David , I hope you will pass the certification . Don't get too nervous before the exam and I am too preparing fo the exam and I feel that the resources you are following are sufficient to develop concepts.

I am following:
-Mala Gupta's book
-Enthuware Mock Question Bank

Please share with everyone the score ASAP.

Thanks,
Animesh
 
mark mcpadden
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Hiya David

Like you I am a beginner, I took the exam a month ago and failed it got 58 percent, reapplied for the exam the testing site was under construction so there was a delay in getting the resit anyhow passed the exam with a 75 percent grade..
Just to let you know where I messed up the first time was on time management, I had marked a lot of questions for review more than I had thought so left myself with 7-8 minutes to answer the review questions. I also over thought on questions making sure countless times on the answer which just drained my remaining time left.
For the resit I took each question and only marked the ones I really couldn't work out with totalled about 5 questions, I finished the questions with about 30 minutes to spare to have a look back at the answers especially any questions with a compilation fail answer option.
I also found useful to draw quick diagrams of the structure of the extending classes A extends B etc just to get clear on my head.
The strikeout option is also handy, in one or two question once I had struck out the incorrect answers I was left with the correct options.
Be sure to remember any questions you mark for review once answered unmark it.
I wish you all the best for the exam...
 
Roel De Nijs
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mark mcpadden wrote:Just to let you know where I messed up the first time was on time management, I had marked a lot of questions for review more than I had thought so left myself with 7-8 minutes to answer the review questions. I also over thought on questions making sure countless times on the answer which just drained my remaining time left.
For the resit I took each question and only marked the ones I really couldn't work out with totalled about 5 questions, I finished the questions with about 30 minutes to spare to have a look back at the answers especially any questions with a compilation fail answer option.

An interesting, useful tip: because there is no negative marking (no point deduction for wrong answer) you could select the required number of answers for a question before marking it for review. Using this approach even if you don't have time left for reviewing you still have a (slight) chance to have answered the question correctly. But your chance will still be greater than when you didn't answer (or just partially) the question. The more wrong answers you can eliminate, the more chance you'll have to "guess" the correct answer.
 
Guillermo Ishi
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Roel De Nijs wrote:
mark mcpadden wrote:The more wrong answers you can eliminate, the more chance you'll have to "guess" the correct answer.


I have answered several questions on mocks by eliminating all the wrong answers when I could not do it by selecting the right answer. I read about this technique in an article about passing the auto mechanic exam. Hope that question wasn't about brakes!
 
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