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How to study efficiently

 
enrique davis
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I've been studying for for the OCA exam for months now. When I take a sample test I get 90% of questions wrong
I coded in PHP and Java for years and consider myself and intermediate programmer. somehow I just can't figure out how to pass this damn test. I'm thinking about quitting. what ever I do it doesn't work
I'm just wasting time and not getting anywhere

Any suggestions?

 
Roel De Nijs
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Hi enrique davis,

First of all, a warm welcome to CodeRanch!

enrique davis wrote:I've been studying for for the OCA exam for months now. When I take a sample test I get 90% of questions wrong

Sorry to hear your preparation doesn't give you the result you were expecting/hoping for.

enrique davis wrote:I coded in PHP and Java for years and consider myself and intermediate programmer. somehow I just can't figure out how to pass this damn test. I'm thinking about quitting. what ever I do it doesn't work
I'm just wasting time and not getting anywhere

You do not have to feel bad and certainly not get demotivated. The certification exams can be really tough and really require a good, solid understanding of Java and OO basics. Never give up! Perseverance pays dividends. Always!

enrique davis wrote:Any suggestions?

You didn't provide much details about your study process so it's very hard to give you appropriate suggestions. Do you use a study guide? How many hours do you study each day/week? Do you write code snippets? Do you take mock exams? ... Awaiting some more concrete information about how you study/prepare, I can already share this topic. It's about someone who was also struggling to prepare for the OCA exam but in the end he passed. So it already contains a lot of tips and tricks you can use in your preparation and it could be a mental boost as well.

Hope it helps!
Kind regards,
Roel
 
nick woodward
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This has personally helped me improve a decent amount, hopefully it helps you too:

1: Reading the study guides multiple times. I've now read Mala Gupta's book once, and K&B twice. I'm also thinking of getting Jeanne Boyarsky's book and going for OCAJP8 - but I'm not sold yet...
Anyway, my point is it is *amazing* at how much quicker I can read the topics, how much more I understand, and how I cringe at some of the logic/notes I made while doing the practice tests the first time round (when I too was convinced I knew the subject areas). I'm *still* caught out by the odd question too, and it bugs the hell out of me!

Personally I'd read the book(s) again, and at the end of every section, or chapter, google 'topic + coderanch' and have a read through here too. I'm much better at a variety of topics because I asked here.

2: Repetition. I've studied for months too, and although it may sound like a positive I've found it gives you time to forget the intricacies of the language. For example, I know I (probably) can't quickly remember *all* of the attributes of interfaces and their members even though I could 'work it out' - this isn't good enough under exam conditions and I know it, but I've got an obvious page in my note book that I can easily flip to. Having written that I've now stuck it to my wall. There is no way I'm forgetting it now! Coding examples helps too, and people swear by it, but I'd stress that you need to just keep coming back to the topics repeatedly, coding or otherwise.

3. Enthuware. Take the test, near the pass mark? Back to the books. Nearer 70? Go through the answers one by one, carefully. This way if you're borderline on the test you *don't* look at the answers and risk memorising them. Enthuware's forum is useful too once you've a better grip on the exam.
4. Beg Roel to take it for you. I'm not sure how successful this suggestion will be, but I get the feeling payment would be in Belgian beer

Hope that helps - I'm certainly no expert and haven't passed the thing yet, but have a 68% and a 64% on the first two enthuware exams and know deep down that I don't know the topics well enough. I'm pretty sure that'll be the case for you too. It isn't about 'knowing how to pass the test', it's about knowing the content inside and out!

Regards

Nick
 
Roel De Nijs
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nick woodward wrote:This has personally helped me improve a decent amount, hopefully it helps you too:

Have a cow for such great advice (except for the 4th point )

nick woodward wrote:4. Beg Roel to take it for you. I'm not sure how successful this suggestion will be, but I get the feeling payment would be in Belgian beer

Good one! Although I'm from Belgium, I don't drink beer, I even don't drink any alcoholic beverages Maybe that is why I'm good at memorizing those little intricacies of the Java language. So that might a good suggestion as well
 
nick woodward
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nick woodward wrote:This has personally helped me improve a decent amount, hopefully it helps you too:

Don't drink.

Regards

Nick


 
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