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My less-than-ideal 1z0-815 exam experience

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Seeing that some people have posted about their less-than-ideal certification experience, I’ll share mine and what I would have done if I had known what the test was really like.

I took the Oracle Java SE: Programming I course (https://education.oracle.com/java-se-programming-i-ed-2/courP_10211). I studied the material thoroughly, and the topics matched up with the published exam topics, so I reckoned that I would be adequately prepared for the 1z0-815 exam.

I took the test on October 1 2019. Unfortunately I failed the exam with 60% (pass mark is 63%). I got 2-3 too many questions wrong; I would not have been happy with just scraping through with 63%, however.

When I started my exam, for the first time in my life I got that sinking feeling; I realised that my knowledge was not up to scratch. While I had a good grasp of the theory behind most of the concepts, I realised that my knowledge of the actual code was not what it should be, especially in regard to knowing the API (mostly StringBuilder, String and Arrays methods). Probably this was also aggravated by the fact that I had been introduced to Java just four and a bit months before, so I didn’t have a lot of hands-on coding experience. I also found the code harder to read than I expected; I had always used an IDE.

It would really help if the exam topics weren’t vague and misleading. I was taken aback when I got a question starring generic methods, which I didn’t know existed (the question was about overloading and overriding). I also got other concepts which I thought would only appear in the 1z0-816 exam, collections in particular, which I had not studied. The Oracle course I took covered neither generics nor collections (apart from using ArrayLists, but pretty much only as a substitute for arrays). I was also not prepared for some of the lambda questions; I knew the basic syntax but not the different functional interfaces.

If I could rewind the past I would definitely go through the Enthuware tests and study all of the questions carefully. I would also search online to see other people’s experiences, and what the challenges are. I would have also taken my time and not rushed into the exam prematurely. To improve my code reading skills, I practise writing code in an ordinary text editor (some in vi, but it really slows me down), and also the practise tests help with experience reading the kind of code you will get in the exam.

I’m not put off by this setback, however. I’m studying hard, and I plan to retake and pass the test soon. Watch this space!

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