I've started to prepare for Java Programmer I exam already in November last year. More heavily in the past 2 months. My exam is scheduled exactly in 2 weeks (it should have been today, but I've postponed it). I am a software developer for ~14 years, but not with Java as my main programming language. I knew Java before and even some OOP concepts. Still, while studying, I learned a lot of new stuff, so I don't regret embarking on this journey at all. My main study materials are:
- OCA: Oracle Certified Associate Java SE 8 Programmer I Study Guide: Exam 1Z0-808 (by Scott Selikoff, Jeanne Boyarsky)
- OCA / OCP Java SE 8 Programmer Practice Tests (by Jeanne Boyarsky, Scott Selikoff )
- OCA Java SE 8 Programmer I Exam Guide (Exams 1Z0-808) (by Bert Bates, Kathy Sierra) - just doing the exercises and the tests
Physical books I read through:
- Java in a Nutshell, 6th Edition (By David Flanagan, Benjamin Evans)
- Java 8 Lambdas (By Richard Warburton)
- Thinking in Java (4th Edition) (by Bruce Eckel)
My problem is that I am still not scoring high enough on the simulated tests. I only did 3 full test simulations so far:
- first from Sybex the Boyarsky test 1: 69%
- Enthuware Standard Test 1: 54%
- Kathy Sierra Test 1: 64% (I actually found this one much harder then the one from Enthuware, which are suppose to be the hardest, or so I hear).
I am currently going through the 9 x 50 questions from OCA / OCP Java SE 8 Programmer Practice Tests and I am scoring over 80% in all of them. But they are quite easy, because they have only 1 correct answer.
I am looking over all the wrong answers, and I do code each problem in java (without an IDE). In general I don't have the feeling there is a particular area I don't know, but more a problem of focusing. When reviewing the wrong answers, I always find at least 5-6 questions that I haven't payed 100% attention to, and there was something I missed, or I am doing stupid arithmetic errors. Even on the one Enthuware test I took, most of the missed questions were from the Easy/Very Easy category. Coming from an Eastern European country, I am not used with multi-choice type of exams. We never had them. Even in University, they were rare.
I still have 2 more weeks to go, and I've planned all the remaining tests (6 from Enthuware, one from Sybex and one from Sierra) in the coming days. In this past month my schedule has been quite intense. Week-days I study for ~4-5 hours after work. In week-ends I dedicate almost 10-12h/day to this. I know it seems like a lot, but the time actually flies pretty quick. I would really love a 30h day schedule. I hope I won't come to the conclusion that I have to postpone again (my family needs my attention to ). After 2 weeks, my 2 weeks holiday will starts, and that's without computer access. So I really want to succeed now.
The 50 question chapters with the single answer questions are meant to be easy. They are reinforcing your learning so you are more likely to increase your score on regular tests.
I recommend doing the six end of chapter review questions in the OCA book a bunch of times. As you do each one, say why the right answer is what it is. Ideally out loud. This will train your brain to look for the details likely to trip you up on the exam.
Thank you for the tips. I already did the end chapter questions 2 times. One time while I was going through the material (65% average), and second time right after finishing the last chapter and before starting doing full tests (70% average score). Still, it can never hurt to do them again. Trying to reinforce the correct answer could be a good idea, especially because those exercises are not timed.
P.S. Good job on writing the books.
P.P.S. It would be great if there would be a possibility to print out your flashcards.