Good day all,
This is my first post on Code Ranch, and I hope I can come to be as helpful as many others seem to be here. I am studying for the OCAJP 8 Exam. I started studying Java in January of 2018, when I took a semester-length (~5 months) class at my college in Java. Then, I read the prep book by Jeanne Boyarsky and Scott Selikoff twice from front to back. The first time I went over everything in detail and did the end-of-chapter tests. The second time I re-studied the bits I struggled with over and over. Then I spent about a month studying with the video series from Whizlabs, and doing their chapter tests too. I again restudied the things I struggled with most from that series. To supplement all of this, I have also researched individual topics I struggled with online, and I've done some minimal one-on-one tutoring with a peer who is much more experienced in Java.
This all being said, I have been studying/preparing for about a year now, and I am nowhere near ready to take the exam. I have no trouble postponing, as I will not be taking it until I am ready. The question is, when will I be ready? What more can I do to prepare, given that all I have done so far has done relatively little for my exam readiness?
When I took the shorter tests/quizzes (10-20 questions) that came with my study materials, even on the first time, I would usually get 50-65%. Not a passing rate on the real exam, but at least getting close. When I take an exam-length practice test (I am using both Enthuware and Whizlabs), I am scoring around 20-35%. This isn't even close to passing for the real thing.
Two things that seem to be tripping me up the most are this:
1. I get the principles and rules that are taught about a topic, but when I take a practice quiz or practice test, I get caught by these one-off, special case scenarios. How do I prepare for these on the real exam?
2. I do at least a little okay on the shorter quiz materials, but when I attempt an exam-length practice test, my scores get cut in half. The questions on the exam-length tests seem much, much more complex, and I often find myself getting totally lost on a complicated test question, to the point where I have 0 idea what's going on, and my mind goes blank. It's like being caught in an avalanche, where I'm totally disoriented and I have no idea which direction is up or down. How can I overcome this? I try to read the explanations for the test questions, especially the complicated ones, but I can't even understand the explanations in most cases, no matter how many times I re-read the explanations or try to re-study the topic at hand.
I apologize for the lengthiness of my post, but I would really love to hear any feedback anyone might be kind enough to share. I am frustrated to the point of tears every time I sit down to try and prepare for this exam, because it feels like no matter how much more time and effort I put into this, I am getting no better on the practice exams. What can I do differently? At this point, should I walk away from this and stop wasting my time?
Thank you so much.