After about 4 weeks of rather intense preparation, I passed the Java SE 7 Programmer I(1Z0-803) exam this Thursday. This forum helped me a lot to set up my preparation/study strategy, and it's my turn to share mine.
First of all, people on this forum unanimously recommend Mala Gupta's book and the Enthuware mock exams... BELIEVE THEM!! I can't think of any better materials, and they were crucial in helping me to pass the exam.
I am a university student, and I do major in computer science. However, i only took one course that taught Java, and didn't do so well .
I started on May 5th, and based on the recommendation from folks on this forum, bought Mala's book, studied at the speed of one chapter a day, and read the entire book very throroughtly in a week since it has 7 chapters. Do note that I studied quite rigorously, read every word, tried to memorize every concept, and made sure that I understand every question at the end of each chapter.
On the 8th day I did the mock exam attached to the book, and only got 55 question out of the 90 (61%). I wasn't shocked because I anticipated this exam to be difficult.
The next day I looked up Enthuware, and decided to buy the ebook version by Hanumant Deshmukh on amazon. Did the first 3 mock exams, got around 65% on each, quickly re-read Mala's book in 3 days, then very thoroughly studied the 4 mock exams again.
On May 28th I did the 6th(the last one) exam of the Enthuware set, got around 70%. So on the day of my exam, which is the 29th, I read Mala's book twice , did 4 Enthuware exams along with the one attached to Mala's book.
Here is my mistake: I pulled an all nighter before the exam to review everything again, and felt like sh*t during the whole exam process!
Exam itself was a bit tougher than Mala's mock exam but a bit easier than the Enthuware exams. So, with a very tired body and mind, I finished the exam very painfully, and got 73%. I passed the exam, earned the certificate, but I spend time to review my marked questions(u can do that after 150 minutes, but you can not change your answer , I marked about 20 questions, and immediately found 9 of them wrong! It pis*ed me off because I could easily figure them out during the exam and got above 80% if I wasn't that tired! Well, passed anyways lol~
So guys, in conclusion, Mala's book and Enthuware exams were my only two sources, and they are indeed very very very helpful, I appreciate them. And, do not study overnight before this exam, since this is the type of exam that requires lots of thinking and focus, an all-nighter will only make things worse!