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Using OCA8 study guide to prepare for OCA7

 
c banta
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Howdy All, I'm currently studying for the OCA 7 exam and have the Seirra and Bates book as well as the Boyarsky & Selikoff book for 8. I'm finding that I can read and retain the B&S book better, I know there's a few differences with 7 and 8, but will the B&S adequately prepare me for the OCA7 exam? (I'm a WGU student working on this for my degree)
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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We have a page that compares the two exams. As you can see, most of it is the same. Which means you can mainly use K&B and then supplement with the relevant Java 8 only sections.
 
c banta
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I actually prefer your book over the Seirra and Bates, I find that it holds my attention much better. Would it be foolish to use your book on 8 to prep for the 7 test?
 
Paul Anilprem
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:We have a page that compares the two exams. As you can see, most of it is the same. Which means you can mainly use K&B and then supplement with the relevant Java 8 only sections.

I think OP wants to use your book (meant for OCA8) to appear for OCA7. It might be a little tricky because some conceptual changes in Java 8 affect the answers for Java 7 exam.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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c banta wrote:I actually prefer your book over the Seirra and Bates, I find that it holds my attention much better. Would it be foolish to use your book on 8 to prep for the 7 test?

Oh! I misread and thought you were asking the opposite.

Good news. The OCA 7 is a subset of the OCA 8. Which means you can use our book in it entirety. Just skip the part about dates/lambdas. (Or skim it but don't waste time memorizing that part.) Note that this approach will not work when you get the OCP. For the OCP 7, you have to use an OCP 7 book. A number of topics were removed between the OCP 7 and the OCP 8.

One question though - if you haven't bought your exam voucher/test yet, why not just take the OCA 8? it's a more recent version of the exam and you already have/like the book for it.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Paul Anilprem wrote: It might be a little tricky because some conceptual changes in Java 8 affect the answers for Java 7 exam.

Not really. The only one I can think of is that interfaces can now contain default/static methods. And we call this out in the book. For the OCP, this would be a disaster of course.
 
c banta
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:
One question though - if you haven't bought your exam voucher/test yet, why not just take the OCA 8? it's a more recent version of the exam and you already have/like the book for it.


Awesome thank you very much! I would prefer to do exactly that, but I'm doing this as part of my Bachelors degree with Western Governors University, so I'm stuck doing the exam for 7. I originally purchased your book figuring I might as well get the most recent cert if I'm going to be doing it, but got that bubble popped fairly quickly. This is my second crack at the Java certs, it's by far much more challenging than any of the courses I've taken so far and has me struggling a bit. Nothing against Sierra&Bates, its a great book and has helped many people, but for me your book has been much easier for me to work though, so thank you very much and thank you for answering my questions so quickly at that, I had not expected that at all!
 
Roel De Nijs
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Hi c banta,

First of all, a warm welcome to CodeRanch!

c banta wrote:I'm currently studying for the OCA 7 exam and have the Seirra and Bates book as well as the Boyarsky & Selikoff book for 8.

Wow, what are the chances that the authors of two study guides for the OCA exam have (almost) exactly the same last name initials. We have Sierra & Bates versus Boyarsky & Selikoff. That might cause some confusion when their abbreviations are used Luckily the study guide for the OCA7 exam by Sierra & Bates is commonly known as K&B7 (using first name initials), because the authors are really so famous: they have many editions of this study guide for earlier Java versions (6.0, 5.0, 1.4) and also a bunch of other technical (Java) books. It will take some time before J&S8 will be commonly known as well

c banta wrote:I'm finding that I can read and retain the B&S book better, I know there's a few differences with 7 and 8, but will the B&S adequately prepare me for the OCA7 exam?

1/ The best choice to prepare for a certification exam is of course using a study guide which is dedicated to that particular certification exam. Pretty easy: carefully study the book and you'll be ready for the exam.
2/ You often see people prepare the OCA exam using a study guide for the previous version. So that's not a problem at all if you do some additional studying of the new topics which where (of course) not covered in the study guide for the previous version.
3/ You very rarely see someone using a study guide for the most recent OCA exam to prepare for the previous certification exam. And that could get really tricky! Because often a newer Java version has new language concepts/structures or some syntactic sugar which won't compile in the older Java version. So in the study guide these code snippets will compile successfully, but in the Java version you are preparing for the same code snippets fail to compile. And in the end that could become really very confusing. And that's mainly the reason why I would not recommend to use the most recent study guide (*). But I think you are lucky: there are a few major concepts/topics (lambdas, streams, date/time API) added in Java 8 and therefore do not compile in Java 7, so these can be easily skipped. And as Jeanne already has mentioned as well: in Java 8 an interface can have abstract, default and/or static methods; but in Java 7 you can only have abstract methods. So these are probably the only changes you need to be aware of when using an OCA8 study guide to prepare for the OCA7 exam.

But I would definitely use K&B7 as a complementary resource and if you are in doubt, definitely check this study guide, because it's written especially for the OCA7 exam. And if you still have doubts after verifying K&B7, just create a new topic in this forum and share your doubts/questions

Happy studying!
Kind regards,
Roel

(*) For example I would never recommend to use an OCA7 study guide to prepare for the (if it would exist) the OCA6 exam, because in Java 7 many small changes (strings in enums, underscores in numeric literals, diamond syntax,...) were introduced which would not compile in Java 6 and that might become very confusing in the end.
 
Roel De Nijs
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c banta wrote:I originally purchased your book figuring I might as well get the most recent cert if I'm going to be doing it, but got that bubble popped fairly quickly.

You definitely want to bookmark this page. It's the official errata overview of the study guide, maintained by Jeanne. And if you would stumble upon another typo/issue in the study guide, just start a new topic in this forum and if confirmed your name will be on the list as well

c banta wrote:This is my second crack at the Java certs

What happened the first time?

c banta wrote:thank you for answering my questions so quickly at that, I had not expected that at all!

Yeah, that's definitely one of the advantages of these forums. Authors often drop by to answer your questions, they are so close you can almost touch them
 
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