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Passed 1Z0-808 Java SE 8 Programmer I OCAJP8, 92%

 
Julian West
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I passed the OCA8 exam today with 92%.

I used all but 3 minutes of the time allotted.  I finished with about 20 minutes remaining and used that to review the 7 questions I marked for review.  I evaluated every answer and crossed out the ones I eliminated before selecting the one(s) I evaluated to be correct.

I am new to OOP but not new to programming (BASIC, a little 6502, Z-80 assembly, Turbo Pascal, VB6, scripting); OOP is definitely a different paradigm.

I took some Udemy courses but only recommend this one: Java Tutorial for Complete Beginners (Udemy) (free)

I studied K&B7, OCA chapters, took practise tests twice.

I studied J&S8 (are we calling it that?), took practise tests twice, took missed questions a third time, managed to not punch anything or anyone.  (They are hard but they are a necessary evil for getting all the material with all of Java's subtleties and interactions.)  // Jeanne: feel free to tell Sybex/Wiley that they really need to extend the time-out on their site; it's annoying and I lost my results before I could review them.  Good job on the test questions--they are quite the crucible.

I did a bit of these: http://codingbat.com/java as well as writing small programs with a text editor, using IDE only when experimenting with specific compiler behaviour.  This is necessary.

I wrote a program in NetBeans that uses/attempts-to-use all permutations of a class, subclass, abstract class, interface, subinterface, access modifiers, in and outside of package really helped to keep it straight--especially abstract classes vs. interfaces, static vs. instanced, properties vs. methods, etc.  I commented out what didn't work with an explanation as to why and commented when default access was implicitly public and properties explicitly static, etc.  I reviewed it regularly.

I lurked on this forum and answered a few questions that were in OCA scope--explaining concepts helps to reinforce them and can even broaden understanding of them.  (Why my responses can be elaborate...
...that and I can be a windbag.)

Finally, I used EnthuWare.  If you don't use EnthuWare, you should fail the exam for that reason alone!
I took the Foundation Test and scored 79%.  Having gotten cocky after that score, I took the "Most Missed Test" and scored a 63%.  That's a pretty good starting assessment.
I took the remaining seven tests, one per day, took notes (OneNote) on what I got wrong/why I missed the question and reviewed my book highlights/wrote code as necessary.  There are a few mistakes I kept repeating and documenting that really helped eliminate my blind spots.
My EnthuWare average was 81; my exam score was 92; the real exam is pretty much the same (look, feel, types of questions) as EnthuWare but a bit easier.  Taking these tests also has the side-effect of developing a comfortable pace to where time is not a real concern during the real exam.

My rule for any exam is to completely rest the day prior--no studying, no review, no puzzle-solving gaming, no learning anything new, nada...watch shows, play some mindless shoot'em-ups or something to let the brain rest and digest--especially after running the EnthuWare gauntlet.

OCP8 is next; any tips based on my OCA experience would be welcome--I plan to do essentially the same thing: watch more Udemy courses I already have, write larger programs, study three books, close with EnthuWare.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Julian West wrote:I used all but 3 minutes of the time allotted.  I finished with about 20 minutes remaining and used that to review the 7 questions I marked for review.

Whew. I read you used all but 3 minutes and thought that was your first pass. That would have been a problem on the OCP where you are more time constrained.

Julian West wrote:I studied J&S8 (are we calling it that?)

We've just been calling it Sybex .

Julian West wrote:// Jeanne: feel free to tell Sybex/Wiley that they really need to extend the time-out on their site; it's annoying and I lost my results before I could review them. 

It would actually be helpful for them to hear that from customers. The complain URL is: http://support.wiley.com

Julian West wrote:OCP8 is next; any tips based on my OCA experience would be welcome--I plan to do essentially the same thing: watch more Udemy courses I already have, write larger programs, study three books, close with EnthuWare.

A few pieces of advice for OCP:
  • It's a much more difficult test. Be patient while studying
  • When reading K&B 7, note that there are a number topics no longer on the exam. Check the [url=https://coderanch.com/wiki/659978/Wiki/OCPJP-OCPJP]differences between OCP 7 and OCP 8
  • so you don't wast time with things like listening for changes on the file system (which is a pain to study and not on the OCP 8).

    If you haven't already, can you post a review on Amazon? (There's some lag on Amazon posting reviews to the author page)
     
    Roel De Nijs
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    Hi Julian,

    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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    Julian West wrote:// Jeanne: feel free to tell Sybex/Wiley that they really need to extend the time-out on their site; it's annoying and I lost my results before I could review them.

    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:It would actually be helpful for them to hear that from customers. The complain URL is: http://support.wiley.com

    It was already reported here by another rancher. I contacted Wiley Technical Support to get this sorted out. They would contact me again once they had more info (and/or solution), but it has already been 6 months since I filed this complaint. And clearly the issue is still present. I'll try once more. It will be my final attempt!

    Julian West wrote:If you don't use EnthuWare, you should fail the exam for that reason alone!

    Uh-oh, I passed all my certification exams without using Enthuware

    Julian West wrote:OCP8 is next; any tips based on my OCA experience would be welcome--I plan to do essentially the same thing: watch more Udemy courses I already have, write larger programs, study three books, close with EnthuWare.

    No real tips as your OCAJP8 preparation looks very good. And you know what they say: never change a winning team! But please keep in mind that the OCPJP8 certification exam will be much harder than the OCAJP8 one. And the reason is simple: you need a more in-depth knowledge of a set of advanced and complex topics. So don't rush and take your time to prepare yourself thoroughly for this exam.

    Hope it helps!
    Kind regards,
    Roel
     
    Ganesh Patekar
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    Congratulations Julian!!    Thank you for sharing how you achieved a milestone. Best of luck for the next one   
     
    Roel De Nijs
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    Roel De Nijs wrote:I contacted Wiley Technical Support to get this sorted out. They would contact me again once they had more info (and/or solution), but it has already been 6 months since I filed this complaint. And clearly the issue is still present. I'll try once more. It will be my final attempt!

    I have contacted Wiley Support again. I will post any follow-ups in that topic as well.
     
    Julian West
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    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:
    Whew. I read you used all but 3 minutes and thought that was your first pass. That would have been a problem on the OCP where you are more time constrained.
    ...
    A few pieces of advice for OCP:
  • It's a much more difficult test. Be patient while studying
  • When reading K&B 7, note that there are a number topics no longer on the exam. Check the [url=https://coderanch.com/wiki/659978/Wiki/OCPJP-OCPJP]differences between OCP 7 and OCP 8
  • so you don't wast time with things like listening for changes on the file system (which is a pain to study and not on the OCP 8).

    If you haven't already, can you post a review on Amazon? (There's some lag on Amazon posting reviews to the author page)


    Thank you for the advice.

    I took my time with each question but glanced at the clock about every half hour (the pacing from EnthuWare tests pretty much makes it natural).

    My deadline for taking the OCP is by the end of the year (the 35% off deal and the real motivation...a T-Shirt!).  Since I am retired, I have more time to put into this endeavour over the next 3-4 months and can handle a little scope creep (heh...funny...I actually want to know about listening for file system changes for a future project.)  I'm reading the K&B7 first so the outdated stuff won't really get in the way of retaining the OCP8 stuff.  I felt that your OCA book and the K&B7 book explained things a little differently that somehow had a little gestalt thing going on.

    I posted a review on AZ a little earlier and they approved it, 5 stars.  I posted my test score (I only read the reviews that have test results, 'cos, duh!) and punctuated with liking it enough to buy the OCP book.

    Roel De Nijs wrote:
    Julian West wrote:If you don't use EnthuWare, you should fail the exam for that reason alone!

    Uh-oh, I passed all my certification exams without using Enthuware

    My assertion still stands!  Because...we "are supposed to use assertions, even on public methods, to check for cases that we know should never, ever happen" (K&B7, p.388...book is payin' off already!)

    Roel De Nijs wrote:But please keep in mind that the OCPJP8 certification exam will be much harder than the OCAJP8 one. And the reason is simple: you need a more in-depth knowledge of a set of advanced and complex topics. So don't rush and take your time to prepare yourself thoroughly for this exam.
    ...
    And if you want to spoil yourself have a Belgian beer, our beers are the best of the world

    Thank you.

    heh...Belgian IS my favourite...especially the older abbey ales.  It also has the side benefit of my wife not liking them and therefore not drinking them.  It's like my private beer field is even encapsulated with private accessor methods!

     
    Roel De Nijs
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    Julian West wrote:It's like my private beer field is even encapsulated with private accessor methods!

    So that means your wife can't bring you a beer while you are watching some TV from your comfy chair
     
    Julian West
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    Roel De Nijs wrote:
    Julian West wrote:It's like my private beer field is even encapsulated with private accessor methods!

    So that means your wife can't bring you a beer while you are watching some TV from your comfy chair

    Oh I didn't say the mutator method was private!
     
    Scott Selikoff
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    Wow, that's an awesome score!  If you have a moment, please write a review on our Amazon OCA book page to help other developers studying for the exam.
     
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