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I failed OCAJP 7 with 60%, some advice to take it again

 
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Hi I just did the OCAJP 7 this Monday 16/01/2017, and I got 60% on the exam results.

This is what I did to study for the exam.

Time taken: 15 days (2 weeks)
Books that I read: OCA/OCP JAVA SE7 Programmer I & II Study Guide Exams 1Z0-803 & 1Z0-804), Student Guide JAVA SE 7 Programming volume I and II.
Tools: Enthuware Mocks, and Java Programming Appby Akshay Bhange for android

Strategy of studying:
- I read the book once, and then I started to do mock exams from the Enthuware. The highest score that I got on the Exam was 63%, improved from 40%.
- I wrote 400 Flashcard and around 70 are question that are hard to me to answer, and the rest of the cards are notes and list for names of methods or rules for an specific topic.
- As well every day I was doing the exam game from the app that I mention.
- Average study time per day was 8 hours, but I found out that I was learning more with less hours of studying around 4 were Ok and 2 for practice.

Problems that I got while studying:
- Insecurity because I was getting poor improvement per day, I was felling insecure to take the exam. (I realise that is a huge improvement after I read some another post in the forum).
- Problems with the following topics: Inheritance, polymorphism (Especially casts) and overriding methods.
- Distraction a LOT of it. Even though I was studying  8 hour per day is difficult to concentrate after a couple of hours It gets monotonous and tedious.

Questions:
- What  can I do to get better on those topics that I mention (I already have tried to program basic and complex java programs following the rules of Inheritance and Polymorphism).
- Is worth to read the complete book again?
- What time should I take to retake the Certification Exam?
- Can I reset the scores of the enthuware exams and can I got any other question banks for it?

Sorry for the long post, I dont have native English sorry about my poor grammar.  

Thank you all.



 
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I might will sound silly, but the problem I think is that you want to become certified too much. Bear in mind, this is only my opinion. I personally see a lot guys whose main goal is to become certified instead of start solving interesting exercises/problems. Tendence looks that people start learning Java from setting a goal to become certified in x days.

I also think, that certification should come in natural way, meaning, that reading the book would be like a summary of all what you know from your studies/spent time on forums/read other books at your free time, etc.

Currently I got an idea, that you reading the book and trying to memorize everything by heart without an actual understanding, yeah, you'll pass this certificate maybe next or after the next time, but what will be left in your head as a knowledge out of it? Probably not too much, all would be forgotten fairly quickly probably. That is why I'm saying, that certification should come naturally without "special" kind of preparation (I have putted special in quotes, yes, you need to read the book, do some mock tests to get used to the messy style, but that should be the shortest/smallest part of all this certification path).

Question yourself for a moment - do you really need to become certified right now? Maybe set a goal within a year or two? You studied for 15 days it seems - it isn't enough, and you proved it, beside that, I'm surprised you got that much honestly.

I was studying Java for 4 years before I started thinking about certification, and passed it without any special studies and hard preparations, didn't stress out when was going to sit that, because it wasn't my main goal, so just took it as a daily fun challenge.

Here on Ranch you could find lots of well experienced people without such gained certifications at all, yeah, most likely they would pass it, and might one day will if they want to (probably not if they didn't for 10-20 years or so), but this doesn't change the fact they have that knowledge.

So my advice is - stop wanting it so much and you'll pass it after a while. Enjoy programming, practice, get actual understanding about the relevant topics and you'll be rewarded.
 
Alejandro Daza
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Thank you Liutauras.

Well I did not talk about my background, I have worked in college projects with java since 2010 so its been around 7 years of programming, to be honest it will be more like 3 year of constant programming.

I really like how you say it that has to come the natural way.

Well right now I want to become certified is because some reasons, first I haven't been able to find a formal job as developer(Programmer using java). The few real Job experience has been basic web development (HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP). Second, last couple of months I have lost many opportunities to get a really good job because I do not have any real job experience, and the certification it does not mean that I will have that real job experience but it will give me more chance to get the job that I want. That is why I am in a rush, unfortunately I do not have a job at the moment and I really want to have a job that I really enjoy.

But you are complete right, It will be better to take it easy keep doing some programming challenges and getting better with the practice more than with the theory and it will flow like the wind through the leaf.

Thank you very much for you post.
 
Liutauras Vilda
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So it seems you have more than enough experience to think about the certification. Good that you shared your unsuccessful story, we have seen some similar here recently, meaning that you're not alone and in fact I think only very few people post failure cases, numbers probably are way higher than we think. After all, even though certification is meant to cover only basic Java techniques, exam isn't easy at all, so don't lower your self confidence.

Yeah, certification won't give you an actual experience, but hopefully will give some self confidence during the interview, so, you will pass this test - earlier or later! I see you took OCAJP7 version. Current newest is OCAJP8, so maybe would be a good idea for you to get the book for this version and go through the book once again? In this manner you'd repeat common material between both versions (7 & 8) and would learn some updated topics and on top of that you wouldn't be bored to go through the book again.

Interviews - this is something what requires some other skills. Knowledge might help a lot, might not. In my opinion it is important to show potential employer your enthusiasm about what you're doing - maybe talk during interviews about your project you did in a college? Or along with certification, do some personal project (android app or some desktop or web app), not necessarily it has to be big, importance is, that you'd have something to talk about with potential employer instead of dry ping pong - do you know that? [yes/no] how you'd do... what is the... Get an idea? Employers I think want to see that programming is part of your hobby, part of your free time (spending time on forums, contributing, reading / answering various topics / being in that on daily basis) - it is important. Why I'm saying that, when employers say you don't have work experience, well, you can't get it without working, right? So, something isn't quite right about this statement. More probably of a - they didn't manage to see some other aspects. Hardly you go to company and start working from day 1, you get training (lots of them), you research yourself, and bit by bit you get used to it. You need to show your motivation during the interview. In order to get invitation to an interview - you need to have a resume which attracts. So, my advice along with that is to put more information about some actual cases you work or worked on. Don't waste page space writing - I'm a team player, I can learn fast, I know A, B, C, D, E, F, G... Better write - I know A and during my recent small project I was working on, managed to combine this with B, which in fact gave me a better understanding about underlying principles... Some kind of stuff, isn't it? But as a story, rather than a dry A, B, C... Why is it important? Because during the interview, the employer more likely will be attracted to question you about that stuff, and you'll have a chance to talk about the thinks you know rather than answer to their "tricky" questions you might won't feel confident about. Once interviewers see you know a little about your stuff, the rest of the job they will do - will give training on the things you need.

It seems I went off the topic. Sorry. Just wanted to motivate you a bit. And last thing - don't expect to be accepted from each company you're going to be interviewed, many things need to match between you and potential employer, so there is nothing weird that you "lost" (as you say) many opportunities - there are more opportunities out there, so no worries

Now, get some self confidence, go through the book once again, do some mock tests by analysing where and why you mark answer incorrectly and things should get better - you already improved your highest score from 40% to 63%, so it seems you just needed a bit more towards that. And hey, you got 60% in the exam, where passing score I think is 63 or 64%, which is one or two extra correctly answered questions - so you're quite close. Just don't rush yourself this time by desperately trying after a week or so go to sit an exam again. Train yourself a bit more.

Don't forget to come back and post your success story when you pass. More better, be around reading these forums, so you won't need to come back
 

 
Liutauras Vilda
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Nearly forgot - have a cow for sharing your non-success (yet) story - it will help a lot programmers who are in the same situation like you.
 
Alejandro Daza
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Thank you very much for that reply, It made my day, my confidence has increase a lot, I am really happy.

I will apply those suggestions about the resume, about making it more attractive to the readers, remove the lists of think that I Know and better to put a history of how I developed my skills.

As well I going to polish some of my projects to add them to my resume as well.

For sure I going to read that OCAJP 8 Book.


Thank you Liutauras.

WOW a cow!!! I am so happy !! yey! I hope to motivate and help those programmers that are in a similar situation with this post.
 
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Alejandro Daza wrote:Questions:
- What  can I do to get better on those topics that I mention (I already have tried to program basic and complex java programs following the rules of Inheritance and Polymorphism).
- Is worth to read the complete book again?
- What time should I take to retake the Certification Exam?
- Can I reset the scores of the enthuware exams and can I got any other question banks for it?


In the OcajpFaq (besides other very useful information) and this thread you'll find an overview of all available (free and commercial) resources (study guides, mock exams, video courses,...) to thorougly prepare yourself for the 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).

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
  • Need some advice after failing the exam


  • Hope it helps!
    Kind regards,
    Roel
     
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