Of course, no problem Roel.
Firstly, about 3 years ago, I did the Oracle fundamentals and the Oracle Programmers course. I would strongly recommend these to anyone who can afford them - they are quite espensive. But they do teach you to 'think like Oracle' and this is very important when it comes to writing the exam.
Secondly, I do not program primarily in Java. I do maintenance on old Delphi programs (Delphi 7). While I have written quite a few Java programs, up until now Java was not my main languange that I work with every day.
Thirdly, I played around a lot with Java, including writing code for Android, writing image manipulation software, etc. I had a lot of encouragement from a senior programmer in our company (she has a PhD in comp sci) who set a whole lot of tutorials and assignments to do. If it is possible, I would recommend this to anyone - join a group, get some software experience, play around with the language, discover new things.
Fourthly, I am very fortunate that the company I work for have paid for all employees to have access to the Safari online library. This gives us access to many books, so was very useful for both playing around (as above) as well as serious study.
When it actually came to study:
This took about 6 weeks altogether.
I started with an 'easier' book than Boyarsky and Selikoff. This was on purpose: I wanted to get a 'feel' for the exam. I answered every question, and did every exercise. I began by doing one chapter per day, and then repeated the book, doing 2 chapters per day. The book I started with is:
I then started Boyarsky and Selikoff's book. I followed the same pattern
, starting with a chapter a day, answering every question, and writing out many of the examples so that I could see how they worked. Again, I repeated the book, paying special attention to understanding where and how I got answers wrong. Finally, I did the mock exams that the book provided access to. I failed all three - the highest mark I scored was 63%.
I then started the Enthuware practise exams. I did two exams per day. I failed most of the exams - my highest score was 73%, and I passed one other exam. I failed the 7th day exam - I got 43% for that one. I went through every answer, trying to understand why I had got it wrong or (more rarely) why I had got the answer right. One of the key things about doing the practice exams is learning how the questions are asked - this is as important as understanding the material.
When I wrote the exam, I was really worried. However, I found the exam easier than expected, and finished in 1 1/2 hours, answering all questions, and going over those I had marked for review.
My advice for anyone studying for the OCA:
Read the 'Study Tips' in Appendix B of Boyarsky and Selikoff. They are worth following closely.
Draw up a study timetable.
Don't rush - go back over stuff you don't understand.
The $10 I spent on Enuthware is worth it.
One issue I found with the Enthuware exams - I found no way of marking a question so that I could go back to it.
Hope this helps others