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Passed 1Z0-808 (OCA) with 80%

 
Greenhorn
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I passed OCA Java 8 with 80%.

I had hoped to sit the test in May, but found I wasn't test ready, as explained in this post...
https://coderanch.com/t/679921/certification/Questions-OCA-programmer-exam
...TLDR - I had read the Sybex book but failed Enthuware 1 with 44%.

I went on to read the MalaG book (twice). Neither book is better. I'd recommend reading both.

I re-did the EOC questions from Sybex and MalaG, then moved on to the 3 Sybex online mocks. The interface is appalling. Twice my session was somehow lost and I had to start the tests again.

To begin with, I found it very difficult/draining to focus for 2.5hours in exam conditions, but this improves over time. After each exam, I reviewed all questions (correct & incorrect) before moving on to the next mock exam. If necessary, I wrote/compiled small java programs to test concepts (I should've done much more of this as I read the books). I also read lots of stackoverflow threads and went back to the textbooks often.

My results:
Sybex mock 1 - 73%   21th Aug
Sybex mock 2 - 57%   23rd Aug  (repeated without review the following day : 70%)
Sybex mock 3 - 60%   25th Aug  (poor concentration)

Next, I sat the MalaG (Java8) mock from the book
Mala Gupta mock - 27th Aug 74%

Then I went back to Enthuware. So much time had passed since I first sat Test 1 that I thought it ok to sit a second time. For each exam, I reviewed every question and used the Enthuware forums for further clarification where necessary.
My results:
Enthuware 1 - 31th Aug (2hr25mins / 80 questions) 61%
Enthuware 2 - 3rd Sept  (2hr12mins / 80 questions) 64%
(I was aware that the exam was currently 70 questions, but the mocks were setting tests with 80. I found an update link within the Enthuware software and received the latest question bank, and it switched to 70)
Enthuware 3 - 10th Sept  (2hr01mins / 70 questions) 70%
Enthuware 4 - 13th Sept  (2hr20mins / 70 questions) 81%
Enthuware 5 - 16th Sept  (2hr16mins / 70 questions) 70%
Enthuware 6 - 20th Sept  (1hr51mins / 70 questions) 74%
Enthuware 7 - 21st Sept  (1hr33mins / 45 questions) 64%   (two days before the exam!)
Enthuware Last Day Test - 22nd Sept (2hr05mins / 70 questions) 73%

I expect test 7 was 45 questions long due to the first two tests having 80. The last 3 exams were taken in quick succession as my Oracle voucher was due to expire on the 23rd!

To start with, I had to split the exams into 20 question chunks, stopping to make tea or have a quick walk outside before moving on to the next 20. It was a real ordeal. By mid-Enthuware, I was able to sit a whole exam much more comfortably. You really do get used to it with practice.

The exam:
The interface was visually quite different to Enthuware, but functionally similar. You can move back/forward through the questions. You can strike out incorrect answers. It does tell you how many choices to select when appropriate. The first 10 questions took 30mins as I hadn't relaxed into the process and was treble checking everything. I sped up after this and had about 10mins left after completing the final question (#70). In some of my mocks, I'd missed questions by double-clicking the next button, or I'd selected the incorrect number of answers, so I used these 10 mins to scan each question to check they all had the correct number of answers. It takes a few steps to formally finish the exam - make sure you follow them all! It was whiteboard and marker for notes. I asked for extra and was given 4 (A4 size) in total. You cannot erase, so use the space carefully.

I never received an email from Oracle. After an hour, I logged into the Oracle website and found the certview section. It showed I had taken the exam, but didn't show the result. Clicking into the detail gave a technical error. About 30mins later, the tech error gave way to my result (80%). It also showed the areas Oracle suggest I might like to review.

Towards the end of the exam, I got a boost when I realised I didn't need to spend 4 hours carefully reviewing each questions. I would *love* to do that now.

OCP next, but a break first


 
Bartender
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Wow, congratulations E Hammond, that is a really good score which you should be proud of.

When you get a few moments please add yourself to the OCA Wall Of Fame
https://coderanch.com/wiki/659980/Ocajp-Wall-Fame

If you next undertaking is indeed the 1Z0-809 exam then you may want to look at the OCP Wall Of Fame
https://coderanch.com/wiki/659976/Ocpjp-Wall-Fame
This could save you time, effort, and frustration as you can read to see what materials and resources others used and how they prepared.
 
Marshal
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Congratulations, well done.
 
Enthuware Software Support
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Congratulations! Great score!!
Thank you for sharing the details of your preparation
 
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Congratulations champion for your success. Great Score
Best wishes for your next target.
 
If you like strawberry rhubarb pie, try blueberry rhubarb (bluebarb) pie. And try this tiny ad:
the value of filler advertising in 2020
https://coderanch.com/t/730886/filler-advertising
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