Like most of the posts on this forum I guess I'm looking for some advice, maybe some re-assurance. My workplace is putting a bit of pressure on me to take the exam as soon as possible so realistically I'm looking at doing it in the next week.
I have a number of years Java experience but only at a very low level. I bought the Finegan / Liguori book about 3 months ago and worked my way through it. I then signed up for the Whizlabs exams and only got 50% in my first exam. While the Finegan / Liguori is not a bad book; easy to read and understand, unfortunately I don't think it covers all the material required for the OCAJP, based on my experience anyway. So after reading some recommendations I decided to get Mala Gupta's book which is excellent.
After reading Mala's book, I went back to Whizlabs and did tests 2 and 3 and I got 75% and 78%. Just to be thorough I then signed up to the Enthuware exams and they were quite a challenge! I've done 3 so far in the last week, the first I got 56%, the second 62% and the latest I got 66% so at least I'm getting better.
I've read some of the other posts here and the general consensus is that the Enthuware exams are a lot harder than the actual exam. Is this correct? How should I spend the last week, should I finish the last 3 Enthuware exams? Should I try some of the "most-missed" or "tough" Tests? Should I mix up the tests with some from Whizlabs? Also what's the general standard of the Whizlabs tests? I obviously got better scores in them and the questions seemed to be about the level I expected of questions in the real exam, where as some of the Enthuware ones seem like rocket science.
Currently it takes me about a day (exam and reviewing answers) for the Whizlabs tests, and about a day and a half for the Enthuware ones. So how do people think I should best spend my remaining time?
While you wait for suggestions from other knowledgeable folks here, I would like to tell you that your score in Enthuware tests is not too good and I do not recommend taking further Enthuware tests without first going through a book or other reading material. Merely taking mock tests does not help, specially when your initial scores are low. Low score on initial tests implies that your fundamentals are not yet strong and you need more thorough understanding of the concepts. If you keep taking tests, you will be using up all the questions and will lose an opportunity to gauge your true level after you are done studying.
I would also suggest you to stay away from Objective wise tests or practice tests if you want to keep the Standard tests for the last leg of your preparation.
Firstly, thank for your reply Paul. I did take on board what your said but as I mentioned work was putting a bit of pressure on me to take the exam. Earlier in the week my manager suggested I take the exam and see how I got on, no pressure. So I actually took the exam today and passed with a score of 76%
I've enjoyed reading the threads from others on this Forum about how others got on, so I guess I better share my own experience.
In the days since my original post, I did the final day Whizlabs test getting a score of 76% (although this should have been slightly lower as Whizlabs seem to give marks for partially correct questions since they upgraded to their new site a few days ago) and did the final Enthuware exam getting a score of 58%
The actual exam itself was extremely close to the final Enthuware exam, I could have sworn at least 10% - 15% of the questions I got on the real exam were on the Enthuware final exam, so good work on that front. It definitely helped my score.
I agree with your statement that merely taking mock tests does not help, however I was not simply taking the mock tests, I was taking the examples given and using them, playing around with them in order to understand the concepts better. If I can put it in some context; I originally started with the Finnegan and Liguori book about 3 months ago, I ran through this book twice to make sure I understood it and then took the first Whizlabs exam. Upon taking this exam it was evident that the Finnegan and Liguori book does not cover all the material on the exam, therefore I spent some time playing with the types of questions/sections of code in the Whizlab exams which weren't covered in the Finnegan and Liguori book. I felt I still had gaps in my knowledge so on the recommendation of reviews on Amazon and people on here, I got Mala Gupta's excellent book. After completing this book I felt comfortable with the level on questions on the Whizlabs site, however just to be thorough I decide to try the Enthuware exams that everyone was mentioning. This was like Deja Vu in that the material in Mala's book didn't seem to cover a lot of the question on the Enthuware exams. So in the course of doing the Enthuware exams if I came across a question/concept not covered in Mala's book then I would again take the code sample and play around with it to better understand the concepts. While the harder question on the Enthuware exam did help my score, some of them did feel like overkill but I appreciate that they're only there because people report getting those type of question in the actual exam.
Anyway that's my 2 cents, I just wanted to also say thanks to Mala, Mr. Finnegan and Mr. Liguori, and the folks and Whizlabs(even though they did also lose some of my test scores when migrating to their new website!) and Enthuware. Now it's time to grab a beer
Congratulations for passing and thank you for posting your detailed study method. You followed the right approach of going back to a book and writing code for questions that you were not comfortable with and you have been rewarded