Below is the exact copy of the review that I've just posted on Amazon.com for the 1Z0-808 Study Guide by Jeanne Boyarsky and Scott Selikoff:
Six weeks ago I failed my 1Z0-808 exam at 62%. Was too naïve, cocky and self-confident to the point of arrogance - and the exam creators taught me a lesson. Which I did learn because the day before yesterday I retook the exam and passed it with the 98% score. My study kit consisted of three tools each of which, IMO, is a must for all those who need solid, certification-grade Java skills. Here's the list:
- this study guide, which will give you every single bit of the theoretical and practical knowledge required to pass the exam with flying colors;
- a video course on preparing for the Oracle JSE exams by Simon Roberts (the very person who developed the initial concept of the questions a couple of decades ago; his video course was *the* foundation upon which I built and expanded my knowledge base further by reading this book);
- and, finally, the 1Z0-808 Test Studio by Enthuware, with its 600+ questions, which will probe, drill, grind, boil, and pig-roast you on all possible aspects and nuances. When you are done with it, you will be seeing both Java and yourself in a completely new light.
Clench your teeth, bear the pain - a lot of it is coming your way, especially if you are new to Java as I was - but stick to these three tools, and you *will* get your certification.
Unfortunately, none of these fine instruments can give you the second key to the success: they all discuss in detail purely technical matters while the way you work through and with the questions during the actual exam is equally important. At what speed should you go through the test? Since many of the questions are booby-trapped, is it advisable to second guess yourself and attempt to re-solve the problem some other way? When you immediately see the "correct" answer, should you check every other option? Or is it better to move to the next question right away because this way you'll save time, and it is time that is the most precious resource during the exam... What about 'cherry picking'? What about the 'Review Later' checkmarks? Just how restrained or generous should you be with them? Is it safe to trust your gut instincts rather than do things by the book, checking and re-checking every single LOC methodically? As I found out - and at a great coast, too, - some of the answers to these and many other questions are, in fact, counterintuitive and even paradoxical.
Tactics, guys, I'm talking tactics here. All those study guides, video lessons, exam simulators, and testing suits crafted by talented people are a part of your winning strategy but - sorry for sounding like Captain Obvious - it's the execution that gets the job done. If you think this psychological cr*p is something that belongs to the 70s and that you'll never have use for it, be my guest. Just go ahead, I wish you all the luck. You'll need it. As for me, I had to learn this lesson the hardest way possible, for which I am actually grateful. The initial failure forced me to scrap and then rebuild my entire approach, devise a fool-proof plan of attack, invent shorthand notations for cracking loops, diagramming the objects' lifecycle dynamics, expressing inheritance, polymorphic behavior, etc. and even to formulate dozens of concise, easy-to-remember rules all the while saturating myself with the Java code until my eyes start hurting whenever I see an erroneous snippet. No study guide that I know of, no software and no Java coders' forum teach such skills, which I find quite puzzling because they are simply indispensable. To the extent that I am going to write a small book on the whole experience but it won't be available until, er, somewhere around November, 2016. Hopefully.
Now, if I may, a direct advice: code. Code as much and as often as you can, immediately test all your ideas or doubts while reading, listening or simply thinking about what you've been learning AND DO NOT use an IDE for the first few weeks as the very minimum. Stick to your Notepad++ instead and run everything from the CLI. This will reveal your soft spots and the typical mistakes that you tend to make.
Still reading? Hmm. Well, stop then and go get this study guide by Jeanne Boyarsky and Scott Selikoff, the test suite by Enthuware and the video course by Simon Roberts. Best of luck! I actually envy you: you still have your chance to score the perfect 100%