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Passed Java SE 8 OCA exam with 85%  RSS feed

 
Greenhorn
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I’m super happy for passing the exam. I’d like to share my experience:

Background
I had some experience programming in Java a year before I started studying for the exam. I took a few courses in a span of 6 months (in a very non-consistent, not very organized and very slow-pace fashion). I also had more experience programming in Javascript in a somewhat professional set.

My journey
I started getting prepared for the exam at the beginning of October 2018. I got Mala Gupta’s book and decided to read it from A to Z as if I was a complete newbie, despite having some knowledge in Java. Indeed, I came to realize my knowledge in Java was rather shallow and I learned a lot of new stuff from day 1.

I had expected to finish my preparation process in a month. Oh boy, I was wrong. I did start strong and spent about 4-5 on average every day: reading, taking notes, coding, checking other resources, etc. I completed all chapters in about a month and a half.

I then focused on taking exercises and mock exams, so I bought Enthuware’s software. I did acceptably in the Foundations test but failed the first mock exam test and found myself falling short in time. I realized I had to review important concepts, improve my code analysis, concentration, keep coding and be able to identify exceptional circumstances that Enthuware is especially good at. I passed the next two exams but again using more than 2:30h.

Agree, Enthuware’s exams are harder than the real exam. However, the “Last Day”, which I took a few days before the real one, is VERY similar to the real exam so I strongly recommend it! I did complete this one in under 2:30h.

The weeks leading to the real exam I used Boyarsky & Selikoff’s book as my primary book to review concepts, exercises and so on. I made use of Wiley’s Test Banks extensively, which offers a lot of exercises, flashcards and additional mock exams. Very useful!

I kept my notes and code files very organized, which helped me a lot whenever I had to revisit them. For every question I got wrong in the mock exams, I always took notes. I also took notes for those questions I found interesting or were about a concept I wanted to reinforce, even if I got them correct.

Some recommendations
- Set a good study plan, be consistent and make sure you study at a healthy pace that allows you to fully grasp what’s being covered. Try not losing momentum (I did for about two weeks and it was a negative experience) so you’ll be fresh the day you take the exam. When you feel ready, schedule your exam right away.
- Pick up a good book and read it thoroughly. If you’re unsure about which one to pick, review the first chapter to see which is better for your learning style. Don’t make assumptions as you will certainly learn a lot of new stuff, even if you have some experience in Java. Consider complementing your learning with a second book.
- Take Enthuware’s exams but don’t be scared if you score low in the first ones. If you see concepts not covered by the books I mention, don’t be too distracted by them if your goal is to take a more practical approach and are short in time prior to taking the exam.
- Take and review Boyarsky & Selikoff’s book chapter exercises,  Wiley's Test Banks and mock exam.
- Take and review Mala Gupta’s book chapter exercises, “Twist in the Tales” and mock exam.
- Make use of this Forum, you’ll find answers to your questions.

Books
OCA SE 8 Programmer I Certification Guide, by Mala Gupta -> Uses more different approaches to explain concepts.
SE 8 Programmer I Study Guide Exam IZ0-808, by Jeanne Boyarsky & Scott Selikoff -> More practical and concise.

Mock exams notes
- Enthuware
Foundation Test: 76% (completed in under 2:30h)
Test 1: 64% (spent a bit over 2:30h)
Test 2: 70% (spent a bit over 2:30h)
Test 3: 71% (spent a bit over 2:30h)
Last Day Test: 77% (completed in under 2:30h)

- Mala Gupta’s mock exam: 86% (completed in under 2:30h)
- I also averaged 80-90% in each chapter’s Review Questions in Boyarsky & Selikoff’s book.

Thank you to the authors of each book and Enthuware’s team for the resources you make available, and everyone else that has indirectly helped me with their answers!
 
Marshal
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Well done and thank you for sharing your full experiences.
 
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