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Need advice for OCAJP7 preparation

 
Mesharma Sharma
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Hello all,
I am new to this forum.I am finding it very informative.
I am complete beginner in Java just jump into it 3 months ago.Dont have any programming experience.
I have registered for the Oca Exam its on 19 May.Since last 3 months I am keep on studying myself for almost 6-8 hours per day following the Book OCA/OCP Java SE 7 Programmer I & II Study Guide (Exams 1Z0-803 & 1Z0-804) (Certification Press) with the help of some tutorials on YouTube.For mock test I am using Kaplan test and enthuware but still I am scoring very less, on an average 46% that's really a very bad score after doing this much preparation. I am pretty confident about the knowledge that I gained after completing the Syllabus but there is a big but that still I scored so low.
So today finally I decided to postpone my exam in mid of June.Stopped giving mocks revise my syllabus all again thoroughly.
Could you please suggest what strategy now I follow to speed up in solving the numerical and revising the syllabus.I am very much confuse now at this stage from where to start and how ... To get through the exam ..

Thanks in advance😐
 
nick woodward
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Hi Mesharma,

Firstly, how many times have you read that book? I know from experience that, as a complete beginner, you can read that book and think you know more than you actually do. What sort of scores are you getting on the end of chapter tests?
RE: mock tests - stop doing them for the time being. I got 43% on my first enthuware exam, and went back and reread the book AND bought Mala Gupta's book. I learnt A LOT from those second and third passes.

My recommendation would be this:

1. Don't take any more mock tests for the time being. For the most part, ditch youtube. There is very little on there that is explained in the detail you need, in my opinion, it gives false confidence.

2. Re-read K&B, answer the end of chapter questions after reading each section, and note your scores. Make revision cards for any hard topics. Write sample code. Search for similar topics here- do you understand them?

3. Read another certification guide (Mala Gupta's would be my recommendation). answer their questions (and mock exam). Make revision cards............ etc etc (as above).

4. Redo the K&B end of chapter tests. (You will be better, but they'll still be hard)

5. Take the 1st enthuware test. Then go through every answer on their forum and search on here, asking questions until you fully understand. Repeat with each test. Make more revision cards. Write sample code.

6. Find someone who has passed the test on here, and look through their post history. Make more revision cards.

7. Take the K&B mock. Then take the last couple of enthuware tests.

8. Reread the revision cards.

9. Take the test.


I know this sounds long, but it's pretty much step by step what I did from a very similar position to your own. I would also consider (given you should probably buy another book anyway) potentially looking at the OCA8? Maybe others will chime in on this, but basically you've laid a solid ground work so far for the exam. Now you have to learn that inside and out, and the option is still available to get the latest cert (although I personally don't think it's that important, just an option). Anyway, it really is a case of practice, practice, practice. You will get better, it just takes a lot, but thankfully there's a lot of help available here!

Hope that helps,

Nick
 
Roel De Nijs
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Hi Mesharma Sharma,

First of all, a warm welcome to CodeRanch!

Mesharma Sharma wrote:I am complete beginner in Java just jump into it 3 months ago.Dont have any programming experience.

As a Java greenhorn you might benefit from reading a book on Java first (rather than a certification study guide). Many alternatives are available: Head First Java, Thinking in Java, Core Java, Deitel & Deitel, and so on. Other great resources are this forum and the Beginning Java forum of course and you also have the (free) Oracle Java Tutorials.

Mesharma Sharma wrote:I have registered for the Oca Exam its on 19 May.Since last 3 months I am keep on studying myself for almost 6-8 hours per day following the Book OCA/OCP Java SE 7 Programmer I & II Study Guide (Exams 1Z0-803 & 1Z0-804) (Certification Press) with the help of some tutorials on YouTube.For mock test I am using Kaplan test and enthuware but still I am scoring very less, on an average 46% that's really a very bad score after doing this much preparation. I am pretty confident about the knowledge that I gained after completing the Syllabus but there is a big but that still I scored so low.

With the OCA/OCP Java SE 7 Programmer I & II Study Guide (also known as K&B7) and the Enthuware mock exams you are probably using the best resources currently available on the market for the OCAJP7 certification exam. So there is no need to purchase/check any other study guides. But you could always use another study guide as a complementary resource, certainly when your mock exam scores would be (very) low. In the OcajpFaq (besides other very useful information) and this thread you'll find an overview of all available resources (study guides, mock exams,...) to thorougly prepare yourself for the OCA certification exam. And on the OcajpWallOfFame you'll find plenty of (links to) experiences from other ranchers (including resources they have used). So it can be useful to determine which resources are useful (and which are not).
You might be pretty confident about your Java knowledge, but the mock exam scores clearly illustrate your knowledge is currently not at the desired level. Remember that the OCAJP7 certification exam is a very hard and difficult exam, many people have failed the actual exam once (some of them even twice). You really need a very good, solid understanding of Java and OO basics, otherwise you'll probably fail the exam.

Mesharma Sharma wrote:So today finally I decided to postpone my exam in mid of June.Stopped giving mocks revise my syllabus all again thoroughly.

That's a very wise decision! And I'm pretty confident mid June will probably be too soon as well. If your current scores are less than 50%, you'll probably need 6-8 weeks to improve your knowledge and prepare yourself thorougly for the exam.

Mesharma Sharma wrote:Could you please suggest what strategy now I follow to speed up in solving the numerical and revising the syllabus.I am very much confuse now at this stage from where to start and how ... To get through the exam ..

You didn't provide much detailed information about your preparation. You only mentioned which resources you are using and you have studied 6-8 hours per day, but no further details. Did you for example only read the study guide once (or twice), then take the practice questions and finally a mock exam? Or did you write also code snippets during your preparation? If you did write code snippets, did you use an IDE?

If you just read the book once and think you'll be ready to pass the exam, you'll probably in for a very unpleasant surprise Take your time to prepare thoroughly for the exam. The exam itself is really hard and difficult. Even if you know how to write a Java application, you still might fail the exam. You need a very good and solid understanding of all basic Java and OO concepts to be able to pass the exam.
Learning a programming language is like driving a car: you don't learn how to drive a car by just reading a book, you have to get your hands dirty. During your preparation you should definitely write a boatload of small code snippets, preferably using your favourite text editor, javac (to compile your code) and java (to run your code). On the exam you need to assess code snippets, spot compiler errors, select the correct output,... (without an IDE). Each code snippet in the study guide should be the starting point to do plenty of experiments (change access modifier, change return type, add throws clause, mark an instance method static or final, and so on). And before you compile (and run) the program, you try to predict what will happen after you made the changes. Then you compile the program (and if it successfully compiles, run it as well) and see if your expectations/thoughts were correct.

If you use the search function, you'll find plenty of topics with advice to prepare (and ace) the OCA exam. Here are a few:
  • Studying so hard just to fail(1z0-808)
  • Failing Java SE 8 Programmer I
  • Bad Experience with OCA 7 exams
  • Any tricks about how to manage the 120 min for so many question?
  • second failed OCAJP


  • Hope it helps!
    Kind regards,
    Roel
     
    Roel De Nijs
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    nick woodward wrote:My recommendation would be this:

    Great advice! Have a cow!

    nick woodward wrote:6. Find someone who has passed the test on here, and look through their post history.

    If you are looking for a really daunting task, you might go through my post history If you can answer all my (famous) pop quiz questions (which you can find throughout this forum, free of charge of course), you'll be ready to ace the exam (and that's probably something Nick will concur with ).
     
    nick woodward
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    thanks!

    while i don't disagree with roel - writing code is invaluable, it's actually something i didn't do heavily until late in the revision process and i don't think it hampered my effort. i feel writing code helps more when you're looking at the difficult edge cases - like the 'pop quizzes' that Roel keeps giving away rather than publishing in his our book (this is what happens when you don't respond to my 15% offer ). they are representative of why you are getting 40% rather than higher, in fact they are representative of the 70%+ you aren't achieving, but you'll learn the difference by understanding them. Personally, and I think Roel is right we don't know enough about your situation, I think that a book like head first java probably gets you to 50% or so. So I think at least the daunting task of going through his pop quizzes (after rereading the cert books) is the right move.

    i'd agree with 8 weeks. It can be done in less, but you want to know everything there is to know before you start enthuware. I did one mock per day in the morning, and worked through the answers in the evening for a week prior to the date, and that was tight.

    and although i personally found it easy (and so will you if you do the above) - easier than the last couple of enthuware mocks - I messed up the timing. My enthuware timing was close - make sure you're faster. although having said that - i absolutely smashed the last 10 questions, because, as Roel said - it's like driving. I was so used to it that I eliminated the unnecessary questions quickly when it mattered, even though i was tight on time.

    i know this might be disheartening, but you have to reread the content. the plus side is that it is actually very rewarding when you do, because you understand a lot more each time.

    hope this helps,

    nick


     
    Mesharma Sharma
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    Hello Nick and Roel,
    First of all I would like to say thank you for your responses and cooperation for helping me out in my preparation.
    Actually I have already started rereading the book.
    Yes it's take long time but not that long that I took before because that was my first time i was taking long to understand the concepts now I feel like I have to dig in each and every chapter thoroughly , learn each and every bit of it. And i have started making flash cards as well.Let c how long it will go...
    Could you please suggest me for writing small programs what exactly Should I follow .....
    This is very much clear that this exam is really very very hard 😳
     
    nick woodward
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    it's less about creating a program, and more about writing small code snippets to see if you understand what, and more importantly why, the result is output.

    *edited because the example was bad.

    i would click on Roel's name, click on the 'Posts by' link, then filter with the drop down menu at the top ("OCAJP forum"). You'll see a list of his replies to people asking OCA questions, and generally he posts code snippets and pop quizzes. Those are the sort of types of code, the tricky stuff, that you want to write in my opinion. you could also search the OCA forum for a topic, like casting, for example.

    Nick
     
    Roel De Nijs
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    Mesharma Sharma wrote:Could you please suggest me for writing small programs what exactly Should I follow .....

    You should just follow your imagination! When it comes down to writing boatloads of code snippets, the world is your oyster! You could write tons of code snippets on each concept and/or topic. Each code snippet from your study guide and/or mock exam is a (very) good starting point to create code snippets yourself and start experimenting. What happens if I change the access modifier of that method? And will it still compile if I change the return type? And will the output be the same if I put the default case of a switch statement at the top of the switch? And if I remove the break statements? ... Things you have tried yourself and seen with your own eyes, you'll remember much longer than if you have simply read them from a book or encountered on a mock exam.

    And the same applies to code snippets you encounter in all topics in this forum. If you have a look at this topic and this one you'll find a bunch of code snippets I have created myself on the spot to illustrate several concepts. And that's exactly what you should do as well. Even a code snippet which you can't run (like this one) might be very useful to learn which method declarations are allowed in an interface. And then the next step would be very obvious: create an abstract class which implements only a subset of methods from this interface. Is this allowed? And what happens if you remove the abstract keyword? Or what happens if you create a non-abstract subclass of this abstract class without implementing all methods? And can you create an overloaded method in this class? And can you invoke this overloaded method using a reference variable of the interface type? What about changing the access modifier of an overriding method in the class? And what about adding a throws clause with a checked and/or unchecked exception to an overriding method in the class? ... I just needed 4-5 minutes to list all these different code snippets you could create. So it's pretty obvious with a little bit of imagination the possibilities to create code snippets are endless.

    Hope it helps!
    Kind regards,
    Roel
     
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