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Any tricks about how to manage the 120 min for so many question?

 
Silos Antonio
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Hello everyone,
Today I tried to take my exam, unfortunately I did not pass. I feel that I know the material enough and feel prepared for the exam. However, on the exam as the time is ticking, I got nervous and of course can not focus. To make thing worse, there were some questions that looked harder than those I did practice in the mock exam.
Does anyone have any suggestions how to work through question in order to manage the time, and maybe have some time to come back and review the answers?
I prepared my exam using Mala Gupta's book(certification guide), and I was pretty confident considering my score on the mock exam in that book.
I am planning to retake the exam and I need to do more preparation. But I am thinking to try some other material for preparation. Anyone has any suggestion on practice that give real challenging questions?
Please, give some advice, and thanks in advance.

Silos Antonio.
 
Roel De Nijs
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Hi Silos,

First of all, a warm welcome to the CodeRanch!

Sorry to hear you didn't pass the exam. Maybe you should buy the Enthuware mock exam simulator. It gives you some mock exams (following same rules as the real one). Maybe you can take one to see if you are as well-prepared as you thought. Maybe you lack some essential knowledge making it harder (and thus consume more time) to answer questions. Maybe you are unable to spot compiler errors at first (or second) sight, so you lose precious time while evaluating a complex loop while the answer simply was "doesn't compile".

How much time did you take to prepare? What's your Java level prior to this certification? And what's your main reason of failure? Too many wrong questions? Or could you not answer a bunch of questions due to the time limit?

I think it's important to first discover what's the main reason why you failed. Because if your knowledge is not up to the required level, tips to help managing time will not be very useful.

Hope it helps!
Kind regards,
Roel
 
Roel De Nijs
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Hi Silos,

And some final advice: don't feel sad! You are not the only one who is struggling with the time limit. You'll find tips here, here and here.

But these tips only make sense if your java knowledge is good enough. The rule of thumb: if you score at least 80% on the Enthuware mock exams, you'll (almost) definitely pass the exam.

Hope it helps!
Kind regards,
Roel
 
Silos Antonio
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Thanks Roel.
My Java level is beginner. I jumped into java about three months ago. The last month was fully dedicated to preparation for certification( spending about 10 hours everyday). I was doing well on sample questions and mock exam from the book I was using to prepare for exam.
The main reason for my failure I believe is time. There were a bunch of unanswered questions as the time was getting to the end, and I just had to answer by guessing. I will check those tips and try to get as more useful info I can.
Thanks.
 
Guillermo Ishi
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Silos Antonio wrote:The main reason for my failure I believe is time. There were a bunch of unanswered questions as the time was getting to the end, and I just had to answer by guessing. I will check those tips and try to get as more useful info I can.


I took it in Jly and failed by 3 points. It was time management with me too. If you hit it just right there's a balance between carelessness and speed, an optimum point. How to find that I don't know! I took the rev. 8 beta test a week or so ago and came out ok on time. The scheduled time is longer and there's less time per question and more questions. I knew this speed problem that I have so before I started I wrote down on my sheet the half way time and how many questions I should have left. When I got to that point in the test I was 30 questions behind, but there was a lot of time and a lot of questions left! I just increased my pace from walking to running and finished exactly right on time. No chance to review, but at least attempted every question.

Something else, when people are really, really good at something speed comes along with it naturally. If you can play the piano well slowly, you will also be able to do it quickly. I'm taking a class where the professor works differential equations on the board for an hour like it was nothing. While he's doing it he jokes about how hard and miserable it is but he's thinking faster than he can write. He didn't work on doing it fast, he's just good. Fortunately to progress is natural and it will come along.

 
Silos Antonio
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Thanks Guillermo for your advice and sharing your experience. You are right saying that when you are good at something the speed will come along itself. I think I am going to do more practice with java, writing codes, some practice tests and mock exams. Eventually the speed will come along with confidence, and I will pass.
 
Guillermo Ishi
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You're welcome, and you're right.

I wanted to suggest Enthuware like you will see a lot of people doing. When you think your head is full up, take the first test and see how you do. There are maybe 12 tests and different modes and a discussion board dedicated to it with a mod who will answer your Java question pertaining to the test within a few hours. It's only $9 and they take PayPal, Insane value.
 
Silos Antonio
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Thanks again Guillermo. Definitely Enthuware is my next step as it has been suggested by many people. I will try it, I really need a practice with more challenging questions and I believe Enthuware may be good at it.
 
Roel De Nijs
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Silos Antonio wrote:I think I am going to do more practice with java, writing codes, some practice tests and mock exams. Eventually the speed will come along with confidence, and I will pass.

Very good attitude Practice makes perfect! And will make you faster too.
 
Silos Antonio
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Thanks Roel (and to you all guys) for advices. I really now feel much better that I was when I first saw my result. This forum is not just a source of info, I found it to be also a source of encouragement.
Hey Roel, about your question regarding what I think was the reason for my failure, I need to work hard on reading those code very fast, that is the weak part for me. If I can do that everything should be ok. So may be you know about some techniques how to go through the code very fast? I was also thinking about those techniques used in some other tests (like SAT, ACT, TOEFL, GRE) where they sometime recommend to look at question first and then find the answer in the text. But I do no think that would the case for the java test. Anyway I am trying any trick and technique that can help me. Anyone with ideas, please bring it forward, they are greatly appreciated. One more thing, as one member mentioned, the Eclipse is not a good thing, it makes people lazy. I was kind of mixing both Eclipse and text editor/command line. But now I am dumping the Eclipse and will be using text editor ONLY.
Ok thanks and take care.
 
Guillermo Ishi
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Silos Antonio wrote: I was also thinking about those techniques used in some other tests (like SAT, ACT, TOEFL, GRE) where they sometime recommend to look at question first and then find the answer in the text.


Sometimes when people pass it, along with their congratulation seeking here they give some good advice. One such thing I remember was to read the question before going over the code snippet. If the question is "will line 3 compile or will it throw an exception" you waste time if you figure out everything the snippet does, and then when you get to the question realize you didn't need to know all that. Along the same lines is if one of the answers is "doesn't compile" first skim the code to see if there's something that makes it not compile.


Silos Antonio wrote:One more thing, as one member mentioned, the Eclipse is not a good thing, it makes people lazy. I was kind of mixing both Eclipse and text editor/command line. But now I am dumping the Eclipse and will be using text editor ONLY.


You will write more code if you use a good editor. Maybe Eclipse or Intellij has a mode where real time compiler error indication is turned off. But if you use a bad editor you pay worse for making a mistake, and I think that's the theory.

Back in the day, I was very expert in Pascal. I got that way mainly from typing in examples from books, probably thousands of lines. Books didn't come with software back then so you couldn't copy and paste. It wasn't as complicated as Java but it's still an interesting thing to ponder.
 
Silos Antonio
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Thanks Guillermo for great advice.
 
Guillermo Ishi
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If the question is "will line 3 compile or will it throw an exception"

That's not much of a question. I meant "Will line three cause a compiler error or will it throw an exception."
 
Sergei Zhylinski
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You wrote, that you attempted the exam in the Mala Gupta book. Please note, that this exam has an old format. It has 90 questions. The passing score is 77%. The new OCA exams are a bit harder, the questions have become more detailed. The passing score is 65%. I managed to pass the exam in the Mala Gupta book with 93% score. Then I purchased Enthuware tests. My first exam was only 75%. And I had lack of time, I failed to relook even 20 questions.
 
Prathima gaitonde
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Hi All,

The suggestions are really helpful thank you. I am preparing for the exam from last 2 months. My prepration material for the exams are

  • Java Practice Questions: Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 7 Programmer (OCAJ)
    by Esteban Herrera


  • OCA Java SE 7 Programmer I Certification Guide
    by Mala Gupta


  • OCAJP Oracle Certified Associate Java SE 7 Programmer Practice Exams
    by Hanumant Deshmukh


  • Enthuware simulator


  • I have not yet tried Enthuware simulator. But have come to know for sure that Mala gupta's book alone is not only insufficient some times I found that lots of the topics are not covered at all.

    Esteban's book is good with 2-3 misleading information, but really worth for your money. I learnt lot of things that, I dint even have hint after reading Mala Gupta's book.

    Hanumnth Deshmukhs book is good but the forum that he has does not really clarify the doubts that we have.

    Finally I did know that I will struggel with the time, so got Enthuware simulator. Don't have the courage to try it. So nervous about writing real exam.

    Can any one tell me is paper and pen allowed in the exam? Do they provide it or shall we take it?

    Thanks.....

     
    Roel De Nijs
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    Prathima gaitonde wrote:Can any one tell me is paper and pen allowed in the exam? Do they provide it or shall we take it?

    This thread will definitely answer your questions.
     
    Prathima gaitonde
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    Thanks, Roel It was very useful.
     
    Roel De Nijs
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    Prathima gaitonde wrote:Thanks, Roel It was very useful.

    Nice to know: instead of making a "thank you" post, you could also the post(s) which you liked. It's easier, faster and other ranchers will see immediately which are the "starred" posts.
     
    Roel De Nijs
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    Silos Antonio wrote:Hey Roel, about your question regarding what I think was the reason for my failure, I need to work hard on reading those code very fast, that is the weak part for me. If I can do that everything should be ok. So may be you know about some techniques how to go through the code very fast?

    First of all, when you study, create little programs and take more mock exams, you'll get more familiarized with the exam format, with the possible pitfalls, things you certainly have to watch out for,... So in the end you'll spot them much faster without any specific technique. It's just like driving a car: in the beginning it's very difficult and you really have to concentrate very hard or you make a mistake (and the car stops). But after practicing many, many days/weeks/months driving a car has become an habit. And besides driving the car you can talk to someone else, sing along with the radio, wave at some cute girls (boys),... and you are still driving smoothly

    I think (one of) the best technique(s) you should use to not lose your precious time (which is already mentioned): read the question and have a quick glance at the possible options. If you don't see a "compilation fails" option, you don't have to worry about compiler errors, just focus on the control flow. If you see a few "compiler error on line X" options, focus first on thes lines before you start executing the control flow. When you see a "compilation fails" option, ALWAYS check the code snippet for compiler errors. It would be really a waste of time if you spend 5 minutes working on some complex nested loop counters and then you spot a variable which is used outside its scope

    Silos Antonio wrote:I was kind of mixing both Eclipse and text editor/command line. But now I am dumping the Eclipse and will be using text editor ONLY.

    I can only applaud On high school I could not run an IDE (due to a very outdated computer), so I had to use notepad, javac and java. In the beginning I struggled a little, but once I was up to speed my java level was a lot higher than my classmates (although we got same course and training). And I'm convinced you'll experience the same: at first a little difficult, but in the end reap the rewards! Good luck!
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    One piece of advice I haven't seen in the thread is to never leave any questions unanswered. If you see you only have 5 minutes left, answer "c" (or "d" or whatever) for all the rest. At least that you can pick up some points randomly.
     
    Roel De Nijs
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    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:One piece of advice I haven't seen in the thread is to never leave any questions unanswered.

    That's because we focused on tips and techniques to not run out of time and answer (and possibly review) all questions.

    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:If you see you only have 5 minutes left, answer "c" (or "d" or whatever) for all the rest. At least that you can pick up some points randomly.

    But if you are running out of time, this is an excellent tip! There is no negative marking (so no point deduction for a wrong answer), so you can guess for free and maybe score a few extra points.
     
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