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Passed Java OCA 7

 
Paul Gallagher
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Well after a long, long preparation interrupted by work (not engineering I left it after the .com collapse but I’m on the way back I hope) and taking care of my Mother when she was sick I finally passed Java OCA 7.

I used OCA/OCP Java SE 7 Programmer I & II Study Guide (Exams 1Z0-803 & 1Z0-804) (Certification Press) by Kathy Sierra & Bert Bates and the Enthuware Mock exams.

I had never programmed in Java but I have an electrical engineering degree and had programmed in C while in College.  I'd started Java with a book about 4 years ago but then I got a job again so I abandoned it.

Then last summer I worked on it but I then spent a lot of time helping my mother who was sick, getting her house converted and grants and paper work while visiting her in hospital a lot.  She is back home now and doing great thanks to a great home care package and better medication.

In any case, then I was working and very busy up to Christmas. 

I was then unemployed for 5 weeks and got started on the enthuware mocks I got 63% on the first test, 61% on the second and then a lovely 45% on the third.  Then around this time I got work again and was kept busy only working some weekends on Java.  In that time I also got Shingles which really dented the work I was doing and progress. 

So then I had finally just under 3 weeks to resurrect myself and go for it.

Well Mock 4 I got 61% Mock 5 60% Mock 6 70% Last day test 64% although I'd say I was affected by time a lot in that one.

Then in the real exam I got 75%

Okay so that is not the whole story, in that I repeated the mocks a few times and then did the objective wise tests too.

I'd say a mistake I made was not writing more programs closer to the exam.  Programs that include inheritance and casting which is simple but you know how it’s slippy I think I should have been writing the same program from scratch several times covering a few core topics to home in on things like that.

The highest repeat mock was 93% mock 1 after 4 attempts.  The others i got 79% on average on repeat and then I went over all missed questions from those tests a few weeks later scoring around 80% of those ones.

I probably spent too much time reading posts like this but hey I got there in the end.

I'm not 100% happy with 75% but very glad it is over.

Now I am starting a course lasting 8 weeks and hope to do OCP at some stage early next year.  I'm looking forward to writing some actual programs again!!

Thanks for all the  posts here and if you are studying now and think... I should just give up..  keep going I felt that way loads of times!! 


 
Roel De Nijs
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Hi Paul Gallagher,

First of all, a warm welcome to CodeRanch!

Paul Gallagher wrote:I finally passed Java OCA 7

Congratulations champion! Great achievement Now it's time to relax a bit and have a (well-deserved) (or 2 or 3). And if you want to spoil yourself have a Belgian beer, our beers are the best of the world

Thanks for sharing your experiences. Other ranchers will definitely benefit! Have a cow!

Don't forget to add your name to the OcajpWallOfFame!

Kind regards,
Roel
 
Roel De Nijs
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Paul Gallagher wrote:I'd say a mistake I made was not writing more programs closer to the exam.  Programs that include inheritance and casting which is simple but you know how it’s slippy I think I should have been writing the same program from scratch several times covering a few core topics to home in on things like that.

You are definitely correct! Besides a study guide (and Enthuware mock exams) writing code snippets is probably the most important thing to do if you want to pass the certification exam (with a decent score). Certainly if you are a Java greenhorn. Learning a programming language is like driving a car: you don't learn how to drive a car by just reading a book (or taking mock exams), 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.

Paul Gallagher wrote:Now I am starting a course lasting 8 weeks and hope to do OCP at some stage early next year. I'm looking forward to writing some actual programs again!!

I strongly suggest using the aforementioned approach during your preparation of the OCPJP7 certification exam, because this exam will be much harder than the OCAJP7 certification exam. And the reason why is very simple: you need to know much more advanced topics (generics, collections, file i/o, nio, threading, concurrency,...) and you need a really in-depth knowledge of all these (advanced) topics.

On the OcpjpWallOfFame you'll find some stories about the experiences of other ranchers who have passed the OCPJP certification exam. And you'll probably find a lot of useful information in the OcpjpFaq as well. And if you have some doubts or questions, don't be shy and share them in the OCPJP forum.

Hope it helps!
Kind regards,
Roel
 
sofia miller
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Congratulations! Paul Gallagher
Well done
 
Paul Gallagher
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Thanks everyone.  I did have some Belgium beer but I started a new course the next day so it is keeping me busy.  One small problem though is a course called "Java Fundamentals" where I have to sit for like 3 hours learning about for loops and if statements. It will get harder quick I guess and in the mean time the Agile software team project is keeping good to be learning.  I've no time for the OOP for now but I'll be back to it at some point in this course.
 
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