I took the SCWCD exam on Saturday and managed to clear it by scoring 91%. I was expecting to score between 80-85% based on my mock exams. So 91% was a pleasant surprise. The real exam was much easier than I expected. There is lots of time and most questions are really direct and simple.
I had scored 93% in SCJP in Nov 2005. I bought the HFSJ book in Feb. Was reading it on and off and reading the posts on JavaRanch. Started preparing seriously from July 1st. I thought that I will have a steep learning curve, since I was new to Servlets and JSP. Thankfully, the HFSJ book got me up and
running in no time. It is an AMAZING book. I was able to grasp the concepts much faster than other books. Kudos to the authors!! Marty Hall's page was real helpful for configuring my Tomcat server.
I read the HFSJ book two times till August 10th. I made notes for myself in A4-size sheets. I also tagged the posts in Javaranch that discussed tricky questions using del.icio.us. This helped me to quickly access all the important posts when I needed them at work or at home.
Then I started doing lots of code examples using Tomcat. Mikalai Zaikin's notes were really helpful. I tried reading the specs. But they were too dry and technical. Zaikin's notes gave a concise summary of the specs and
helped me get a better understanding of the concepts. I will probably use it as a reference manual when I move to a web project. Hopefully this score will help convince my boss to release me to a better project. Otherwise,
I will have to move onto greener ranches
I bought the EnthuWare JWebPlus CD for $35 based on the suggestions of so many ranchers. It was worth every penny. I saw atleast five questions which were almost exact copies of questions from the CD. My scores in the seven exams were 84,77,77,80,87,77 and 84.
Then I took the much-feared HFSJ mock exam. I got 72% (the twenty percent rule worked for me). I got 50 of the 69 questions correct. Then I calculated how many questions I would have got right if I had known the number of correct options for each qn. That way, my score would have been 87% (60/69 questions).The day before the exam I just went thru my notes, Zaikin's notes and retried all the chapter-wise mock exams. I had a A4-sheet with four columns listing all the functions of ServletRequest, ServletResponse, HttpServletRequest and HttpServletResponse. I kept reading it till it was burned into my brain. Quick recall of these four interfaces helps you with lotsa questions.
The exam started off with lots of easy questions. One of about 4-5 questions will make me pause and think. Otherwise it was basically testing my basic knowledge of the APIs and the execution flow of servlets and JSPs. According to one of the questions, PUT is idempotent. That had me stumped for a while.
All the patterns questions were vaguely worded. I tried to pick out keywords and use the pattern with the most number of keyword match. Even then, I got
two patterns questions wrong. Then I got one wrong each in deployment, EL, standard action and servlet technology. I got 63 out of 69 correct. It is infuriating not being able to see your current answer for the drag-and-drop questions. Otherwise, the interface is simple and intuitive.
Thanks to all the posters who helped me by sharing their knowledge and experiences in this forum. It was like having a professor at my beck and call at all times. I don't know how I cleared SCJP without this kind of support. I hope to return the favor by helping others, now that the SCWCD monkey is off my back. Celebrated the weekend with lotsa beer, mojitos and fried food
My advice to all the people sitting on the fence, trying to decide whether to take the exam - it's easier than SCJP and requires about 2 months of preparation if you haven't been exposed to Servlets and JSPs. Good luck to everyone who is currently preparing for the exam.