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Passed certification - collective wisdom

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Howdy folks,

I've just recently passed the exam (91%) and would like to share my collective wisdom which hopefully someone might find helpful.

Self assessment
* be aware that the preparation is a long distance run (it took myself 3 attempts to see this through). It takes a lot of perseverance and discipline.
* it took my 200 h (7 weeks) with some prior exposure to servlets and jsp. You can check the time you might need here:

Learning techniques
* write a lot of code - maybe even build a real-life website
* split your training session into small units (1-2h) - 5x1h is better than 1x5h
* write your own summaries of the lessons learned
* don't get stuck on particular problems - move on and return later. Think of a puzzle - the image gradually becomes clearer
* write the stuff you simply can't get inside your head on PostIts and put them on your fridge door or whereever you often look at

* Head First Servlets and JSP (skip chapter 10 - Custom Tags are as far as I know no exam objective anymore)
* Servlet 3.0 Specification read especially the features new to Servlet 3.0: annotations, pluggability (web fragments) and asynchronous processing

Mock exams:
* Enthuware mock exams - find your weak spots, get familiar with testing situation
* Piotr Nowickis Mock exam: - learn and test your knowledge about the new features (it covers the whole material though)

* - of course ;)

* Servlet and JSP API: javax.servlet.*, javax.servlet.jsp.* - learn it inside out

My schedule
1. work through HFSJ (read, code, mock exams) - 60 h
2. new features: read Spec, code, mock exam - 25 h
3. Review HFSJ: skim through book, read bulletpoints, read own summaries, take mock exams - 15 h
4. Review HFSJ again: read own summaries - 10 h
5. HFSJ Final day mock exam and review - 5h
6. Review new features - 10 h
7. Enthuware Mock exams: take mock exams and review, study API - 75 h

Mock exam test results:
* HFSJ: avg. 66%
* HFSJ 2. run: avg. 69%
* HFSJ Final Day mock exam: 57% (there are some remarkably obvious errors in there - at least in the 2nd of HFSJ which I used. Please check
* Enthuware mock exams: avg. 80%. last day exam: 83%

Real exam
* was pretty straight forward, no especially tricky questions
* a bit more verbose in some cases than Enthuware Mock exam - it took me a little longer to read the text and understand what was asked
* only a few questions on the new features async processing, annotations, pluggability (maybe 1-2 each)
* a lot is about excluding the wrong answers rather than knowing the correct one such as classes or attributes that don't exist or syntactictal mistakes (to know the API will help you a lot)
* time (140 min) is more than sufficient - I even had time to skim through all questions once again

* you probably won't need that much time to prepare dependent on your skill level - but I'm kind of a chicken and I hate to fail ;)
* use enthuware mock exams - you get a lot of "bang for your buck". It costs 20$ and you can really knock yourself out
* if you are on a tight schedule or just in it for one more trophy on your letterhead you might try the fast lane and take your chances by just reading HFSJ and study the API - but I've read comments of people who had a lot of the new features on the exam - so don't blame me ;)

Good luck for your own attempts!

Creator of Enthuware JWS+ V6
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Congratulations Barry !!!

Welcome to Coderanch! Well done and thanks for the detailed description. I am sure others will benefit from this.

Have a Cow!
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Congratulations and thanks for the detailed description.
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Congratulations Champion!
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Hi Barry,

Kudos on your stellar score!! Many congratulations!!

Many thanks for such an informative post that will help many.

I'm preparing for the OCPJWCD 6. The link you have to Servlet Spec 3 didn't open for me, so I'm pasting a link here.

Download Servlet Spec 3.0 - FInal.

Get meta with me! What pursues us is our own obsessions! But not this tiny ad:
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