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how do you manage your time during the exam?  RSS feed

Jeanne Boyarsky
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I like seeing discussions (and not just Q&A) during book promos, so I'm trying to start some.

How do you manage your time during the exam?

My answer:

I do two to three passes when I take a certification exam.
  • First, I calculate how much time I could spend per question if I spent an equal time on each. Then on my first pass, I answer the questions I think I can answer in about half that time. I flag any time consuming ones or ones I'm unsure of.
  • Then I go back to all the flagged questions
  • If time permits, I take a quick pass through as a sanity check. I almost never change anything at this point, so it is more to make me feel better
  • .

    Disclaimer: I live in New York City where people tend to do things quickly. I think fast even for a New Yorker. When I was in school I routinely finished tests with half the available time remaining.
    Scott Selikoff
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    My Answer:

    I think I'm a little less organized than Jeanne! I tend to do only two passes. On the first pass, I flag any question that I am not 100% confident I answered questioned correctly. Some times when you're taking the test you encounter questions where it is somewhat obvious what the question is "really asking". Like a question about threads that uses a Java keyword incorrectly, and really has nothing to do with threads. For example, using "throw" instead of "throws" in a method signature. When I identity an easy one, I will often not go back to these. On the second pass, I review any flagged questions that I wasnt completely sure about. I tend to take a lot of time on these tests (pacing is important!) so I finish after the second pass. I find if I go back to much I start over analyzing the question and make a mistake.
    Roel De Nijs
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    Just like Jeanne I do two to three passes on a certification exam. But I don't calculate a time limit for each question

  • When I struggle too long with a question, I mark it for review and continue with the next one. I try to hold on to a certain pace (depending on number of questions and exam duration).
  • After the 1st round I start again at the beginning (the 1st question). During this iteration I verify the questions I already answered in the 1st round and I answer all flagged questions.
  • If time permits and I'm still not fed up , I take another quick pass through of all questions. I only make a change, if I'm 100% convinced my current answer is wrong.

  • I took the OCAJP7 exam at the beginning of this month. I tried to keep a pace of 1 minute per question during my 1st iteration. I needed 65 minutes for 70 questions, so mission accomplished. I believe I flagged at most 10 questions which got all answered during the 2nd iteration. I still had 15-20 minutes left, but it was the last day of my vacation, so no 3rd iteration When I took the SCJP6 a few years ago, I did 3 iterations and I even changed an answer in the 3rd iteration of a very tricky question.

    I'm not from New York City, but I think Jeanne's disclaimer applies to me as well. Although I needed more time for my school tests and exams
    Tina Smith
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    I will do two or three. The first thing I do is check the number of questions against the time allotted so I know how long I have to spend on each question. Then I subtract half an hour (or up to an hour) from that (so I can review) and calculate again.
    * In the first pass I go through and answer all of the questions, only marking for review those I know I probably got wrong. I try to leave my target time for review.
    * In the second pass I go through and review all of the questions. I verify every question I have answered, paying particular attention to those I have marked for review. At this point I can guess an approximate %. I may mark additional questions for review if I'm not 100% sure about them.
    * If time permits, I will review the questions that have been marked in both the first and second rounds. I don't change my answers unless the actual right answer jumps out at me.

    When I did the OCJA 7 beta exam, I was able to do the full three rounds. When I did the OCJP 7 beta exam, I barely finished round 1, so with only about 5 minutes left I jumped directly to round 3. With the OCJA 8 beta I was able to go through all three rounds again, and changed a few of my answers in the second round.
    Don't get me started about those stupid light bulbs.
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