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When should you go for Certification?

 
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Hello Jeanne Boyarsky & Scott Selikoff, thank you so much for contributing,

I thoroughly enjoyed your OCA: Oracle Certified Associate Java SE 8 Programmer I Study Guide: Exam 1Z0-808, and used the practice exams to help.

I thought I was ready to attempt the exam, was passing things regularly and high 80% from the mock tests, but when the day came for the exam only got 61% (I know one question off!).

I understand everybody studies differently, at different paces, to different levels, but, from your experience and expertise in your books, when do you think you can safely assume you will be ready to undertake the certification test?
I know from the previous book you gave some good tips, but what is an ultimate level judgement / key indicators that a developer might be ready for the final exam?

I personally will be going for OCP 11 now, and need some guidance that I will be confident going into the certification.

Thank you.
 
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Do you practice writing code without an IDE?  We often recommend people use a simple text editor when studying for the exam. That's one way to study that should help improve your retention.

Generally, the questions we write in our book are harder than the real exam questions.  This is by design to help prepare you for the real exam.  For example, while the exam will tell you how many correct answers there are, we do not.  With that in mind, I can think of two reasons you might score higher on our review questions than on the real test.  The first is to practice your test-taking skills.  It's possible that you are in a hurry or nervous when you take the exam.  Slow down and read every question carefully.  Luckily the Java 11 exams offer a full 3 hours, while the Java 8 exams were only 2.5 hours.  It's likely you are missing what the question is asking for.  Anytime I come across a question where I know a line of code does not compile, I instantly know the correct answer to the question.

For example.. does the question involve a parent class.  If it does, are the constructors implemented properly?  If it involves an abstract method, is it ever used as a concrete method?  If it involves an exception being thrown, does the catch block match the exception?  Figure out what the question is likely about, then work backwards on what it could be asking.

The other possibility is that you are studying the practice questions so much you've started to memorize them.  Generally, we tell people to take the review questions as much as they want but save the exam questions until you think you are ready to take the real exam.  The fact that you said you were passing them regularly, makes me think you might have been taking them more than once.

Whatever the issue may be, good luck in your studies!  I will warn you that the 1Z0-815 is significantly more difficult than the 1Z0-808 exam!

 
Trentan Healey
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Hi Scott,

Thank you for the concise response, pretty much nailed it there (and also the reassurance other esteemed members of this forum have given as well).

Do you practice writing code without an IDE?


Funny you mention that, as with my initial result, that is all I did for a month (and brought it up in a response to one of my initial posts). It really did make a world of difference. Then later on it was simply a matter of copying into an IDE, it helped refine my skills and I wasn't constantly looking for the ctrl + space option.

Slow down and read every question carefully


Anytime I come across a question where I know a line of code does not compile, I instantly know the correct answer to the question


Two gems I think will be my mantra prior to my next attempt.

I understand 1Z0-815 will be comprehensively more difficult, and will make sure I undertake full study prior to attempt.

Looking forward to the book and many trials and errors awaiting me. Really hoping to come out the other end with a certification, but if anything, evolve more through my Java undertakings.

Cheers

 
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