I started studying for the OCA quite a few months ago. My tech department's library had a very official Oracle Press book called OCA Java SE 8 Programmer I Study Guide. It had a CD with mock exams on it, plus over ten chapters with questions at the end of each chapter.
This book seemed official. What else would I need? I just finished reading Head First Java, so I decided to study this book in and out.
I must have read through this book three times. It got to the point where I was scoring near perfect on the chapter tests (partially because I was remembering the answers), but I was also scoring between 75%-85% on the CD's mock exams, which had questions that were different from the chapter tests. I felt like I was ready. I also skimmed through the Mala Gupta book because a co-worker had it, but I felt the questions in the chapter tests from there were bogus and didn't really help me understand Java better at all. The final exam in the Mala Gupta book seemed a bit more "reasonable", although more difficult than the Oracle Press book, if that makes any sense.
About a week ago (I took the exam today, by the way), I discovered Enthuware software. I decided to purchase it, but realized that it was much more difficult than the Oracle Press book and software. I took one test, scored a 44% on it, and then made the decision not to use it anymore. Upon googling and reading some threads from this website, I heard that Enthuware was more difficult than the actual exam, and I decided that a weeks worth of time wasn't worth the stress of failing Enthuware tests. So I decided to stick to the "official" Oracle Press book and software.
Well, needless to say, I got a 58% on the exam and needed a 65% to pass, so it's a somewhat disheartening. I'm determined to pass this exam and get this certification, so I'm going to use the Enthuware software for the next month or so and grind out. I'm REALLY bummed out that something advertised as coming straight from Oracle was not sufficient enough for me to pass this exam, but I guess now I know better (I should have done more research).
If I could suggest anything, I would say that the Oracle Press book is good for fundamentals, but not for passing this exam. The material and practice tests given just don't prepare you for the actual exam. If I was just trying to learn basic Java, then this book would have been okay. But to pass this test, this book does NOT cut it. I also felt that the Mala Gupta book did more harm than good for me, in that the questions there were wacky compared to the exam questions. I'll give myself a month or so with Enthuware, then take it again.
Anyone have any advice in general, or advice based on the information I provided about my experience?
I am sorry to hear that you failed the exam. I agree that it is a bit disappointing to get blind sided by the questions in the exam specially when you have put effort as advised by the resources that you have been following. It is for this reason that we have made our question a bit tougher than the real exam. It is always better to be over prepared that to be under prepared. More than the exam fees, it is the failure that stings
I am not sure if you have seen Enthuware average scores page but it shows that people usually score about 13% higher on the real exam than on our exams. So even from this metric, your score of 44% was a little too low for you to be attempting the real exam. Had you posted your score here on the ranch, I don't think any one would have suggested you to go ahead with the real exam.
Anyway, that is past now. I will suggest you to go through topics on which you scored less in your first Enthuware exam from a good book before moving to the next mock test. 44% means, you have a lot to read. So do not hurry. Your goal should be to score at least 60% on your next Enthuware mock exam. So attempt it only after you gain confidence on the topics. May be try a different book.
Kyle Walker wrote:Well, needless to say, I got a 58% on the exam and needed a 65% to pass, so it's a somewhat disheartening.
Sorry to hear you have failed the OCAJP7 exam.
Kyle Walker wrote:Anyone have any advice in general, or advice based on the information I provided about my experience?
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: