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Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 7 Programmer - failed exam twice - online course tips?

 
Laura Jones
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Hi

I have failed the OCA Java 7 exam twice now. I have used head first java, and Mala Gupta as well as the Sierra and Bates book. I have also went through all of the enthuware mocks - passing quite a few of them. First exam I did feel unprepared - however with the 2nd attempt I definitely felt a LOT more confident - however scored lower in it.

I am struggling to see where I am missing out on the exam. I feel as though something maybe just has not clicked for me. I cannot afford the official oracle online course (£1700 I think it is) so am wondering if anyone has completed any of the free online courses and felt as though they have helped them? Or if there are any websites/other exam questions which could be beneficial?

I feel as if this stage the enthuware mocks may not even help me - as I remember the answers more from memory which is probably what is allowing me to score higher in them.

I really need to pass the exam 3rd time. So any tips will be appreciated  
 
Murat Kutluer
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Hi Laura,

I am also preparing for the OCA 8 exam. I guess my working plan may help you.

Here is what I do:
- I bought Safari Books Online subscription. This gives unlimited access to all Java and certification books.
- I read Scott Selikoff, Jeanne Boyarsky OCA8 book again and again. This is my reference book for the exam. Also I occasionally loot at Herbert Schildt Java The Complete Reference book, if I need help.
- In these books I have just solved the questions and mock exams. Total count of mock exam is 19 with Scott Selikoff, Jeanne Boyarsky OCA8 (3 mock exams) and Enthuware exams (7 mock exams).
    - Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates OCA-OCP7 (2 oca / 2 ocp mock exams)
    - Mala Gupta OCA7  (1 mock exam)
    - Khalid A Mughal, Rolf W Rasmussen OCA8 (1 mock exam)
    - Budi Kurniawan OCA7 (1 mock exam)
    - Budi Kurniawan OCA8 (2 mock exams)
    - Finegan Edward, Robert Liguori OCA7 (1 mock exam)
    - Finegan Edward, Robert Liguori OCA8 (1 mock exam)
- I will take Enthuware exams (7 mock exams).
- I do not use the IDE. I'm using only text editor.
- I tried to write all code snippets and play with them as much as I can. I have seen really weird things even no book tells about.

Regards,

Murat
 
Roel De Nijs
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Hi Laura Jones,

First of all, a warm welcome to CodeRanch!

Laura Jones wrote:I have failed the OCA Java 7 exam twice now.

Sorry to hear you have failed the OCAJP7 certification exam twice.

Laura Jones wrote:I am struggling to see where I am missing out on the exam. I feel as though something maybe just has not clicked for me. I cannot afford the official oracle online course (£1700 I think it is) so am wondering if anyone has completed any of the free online courses and felt as though they have helped them? Or if there are any websites/other exam questions which could be beneficial?

You definitely not need to purchase the official Oracle online course. I even doubt if you are guaranteed to pass the certification exam when you follow this course. In fact, you only need a study guide to pass the certification exam. But you need to prepare yourself thoroughly. With the OCA/OCP Java SE 7 Programmer I & II Study Guide (also known as K&B7), Mala Gupta study guide 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, video courses,...) 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).

Laura Jones wrote:I really need to pass the exam 3rd time. So any tips will be appreciated

You didn't provide much detailed information about your preparation. You only mentioned which resources you are using and that you went through all enthuware mocks, 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 thought you'll be ready to pass the exam, you were 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
     
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