Darren Short

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Recent posts by Darren Short

ohhhh yeahhhhh!   Congrats 🙌🏼

Anu Pasyavala wrote:

I wish, I had known sooner about the OCA Java 8 1Z0-808 Exam Fundamentals - Hanumant Deshmukh. Although I read only one chapter on API (Date and Time) from that book 36 hours before the exam. It helped me tremendously  to learn the Date and Time API.



+1 on Hanumant's book.   Well worth the $2.99 Amazon Kindle price, for it.   Thanks for mentioning the book, Anu.  🤙🏼

Campbell Ritchie wrote:... Solve all the exercises on sites like codingbat.com...



Thanks for mentioning this site of exercises, Campbell!   Great learning tool. 👊🏼

Sanjela garg wrote:Hello,

I really need help. I am preparing for OCA 808 for the past 3 months. I am folloing study guide byJeanne Boyarsky n Selikoff. After reading the book two to three times and practicing lot of codes. I am able to score 80% in every end of chapter exam(when attempted for the second time).Now that i am taking the bonus exams, i could only score 60% in all 3 bonus practice test and that too i took really long time to finish the exam. I am very disappointed with my self . Kindly advise what should i do to prepare better. I was planning to take Enthware mock very soon but since i could not score well in bonus practise
test, i am not sure if i am ready to take enthuware mock yet. I have no programming experience . But ihave coded a lot in past four months of preparation. Now i am questioning my self,that should i even take this exam as i have no experience as a java programmer. Kindly advise how should i prepare my self .




Hi Sanjela,

I'm sorry to hear you are not making as much progress as you'd like to after spending lots of time working on this.   First thing is to take a deep breath and regroup.   The last thing you want to do is stress yourself.
Look at exam blueprint and your practice exam scores on how you did in each exam and where your weak areas are.    Run through more practice on those weak areas.

For testing java concepts, I use repl.it (there are similar alternatives as well), which helps me without having to use a full-blown IDE.    I find that using this type of tool removes all the tips and tricks provided with some IDEs.    You'll have to modify your code and "run" it each and every time to see the results of your code.   I believe this type of repetition helps solidify concepts in your brain (vs. pop-ups automatically telling you to change some code because it won't compile, etc).    I've read from others that using paper and pencil helps as well, in this regard.

As Campbell mentioned, write lots of snippets of code for each blueprint objective to fully get a grasp of the concept(s).    There is no substitution for sitting down and just coding concepts out over and over; this is invaluable.     Write code to understand the concept, then refactor it to see what breaks.   Break things and then fix things to really understand how java is working.    Any curiosities that pop up in your head about the code, type it in and see what happens.     This type of work takes more time and energy, but break/fix with coding really helps.    Keep things simple.   Write a simple class.   Extend that class and see how things behave.  Do the same for abstract class and see what happens.   What's different?  What's similar?

Without knowing what areas you need to put more effort in, do make certain you have the "basics" down.     Things like auto-promotion with data types, operator precedence, etc.   Types a bunch of snippets in and editor and see if you guessed correctly on what the answer should be.    These types of "basic" things should feel like second nature.    With a good grasp on the basics, you can spend more needed time on the fancy stuff like inheritance, interfaces, etc.

Remember, you can do it!   Take your time with the code.    Try not to rush the process.


Campbell Ritchie wrote:What did you think of Udemy? For a long time everybody who mentioned it spoke highly of Udemy, but in the last couple of years a few posts have appeared complaining about Udemy.
Which books have you used? I am aware of Hanumant Deshmukh's book, Boyarsky and Selikoff, and I have just found there is a book by Aamer and Aamer. I am also aware of a forthcoming exam book by Mala Gupta (Manning).



I think Udemy, in general, is pretty good, particularly if you get courses around the $10 mark.   You're right - there can be quite a mixed bag of reviews on different Udemy courses.    I'm more of a networking guy, so most of my experience with Udemy courses revolve around those types of courses (some good, some not as helpful - mostly good though, I find).

I think, just like anything, there are so many variables folks use to critique why something is good or bad to them.   I tend to have a look myself at some preview videos to get a feel for a course.    I figured there are just some courses that are not "my style" of learning and there are others that work better for me.

As far as books, I've been mainly using the Boyarsky/Selikoff Sybex text.     I'm liking it.   It may sound silly, but font type/size and flow of a book makes a difference to me lol.   I've used books where they place notes of emphasis ("pop out boxes"?) on the margins.   Although, I love the additional information, that messes with my reading flow for some reason.   This isn't the case with the Boyarsky/Selikoff book, which I really like.     I think there is only the 1st edition of the Sybex book at this time (OCA SE 8)?   I haven't really ventured into any more recent study guides for SE 8.     After my OCA exam, I'll look into some other books.

About 6 or so years ago, I took the first couple of java courses at the local community college.   I think the college had a series of 3 courses for the java track (same with C++, I believe).   At the time, I picked up some of the "bible" type books like Effective Java, etc.   I'll break those out of my storage space sooner than later.  :-)
Hi All,

I have been perusing these forums for the past few weeks as I started to pursue the OCA exam.    

The forum has been great for me, as a java newbie, to read and learn what others have done to pass the OCA (and just learn java, in general).

As others are trying to navigate the preparation for this exam, I wanted to share some resources I'm using, that could be helpful (depending on your learning style of course):

- Lynda.com video courses (Free):    Access through my local public library.   You may also have this available to you, where you live.  It may be worth checking into.
- O2O/IVMF Syracuse University (Free):  For active military, military spouses, vets, etc.    3-month online program, but it's essentially self-paced within the 3 months.   You have access to Skillsoft video learning, practice exams, etc.    You're also assigned a counselor to help guide you, if needed.
- Udemy ($10 course):   Tim Buchalka's Java Cert Prep course.   The lessons are short and concise, pointing out the potential "gotchas" and other helpful advice for taking the OCA.    The instructor also walks through several practice questions at the end of each section, to get you thinking in exam mode, which is pretty cool.
- And of course all the same books everyone pursuing this exam, is already aware of.    I'm personally using the Sybex book, as the flow of it is more my style, in regards to learning and absorbing the text/info.
- Enthuware mock exams ($10?):   I've ordered this and will be firing this up this coming week to get some exam practice going.  

Well, these are just some tools I've been using for the past 2 months or so and I think I've established a nice study flow thus far.    Hopefully, other can take advantage of some them, particularly the free stuff.

I'm hoping to sit the exam within the next month, depending on how I do with the mock exams.

Good luck to everyone working on their cert 🤙🏼

Note:  I have no monetary affiliation with the companies linked to the resources I've mentioned.   This is just a personal list of tools I'm using for my studies.


EDIT:   Coursera is currently offering free courses for students.   If I'm correct, these free courses include assessments and other features not included with the free auditing of courses.    Enrollment open until Sept 30, 2020.   Courses remain open/free for 2 months afterwards.

EDIT 8/4/20:  I forgot to mention that I have a membership with acm dot org which provides access to O'Reilly Learning.    I use this membership solely for the O'Reilly stuff.    I pay something like $50/yr for the membership, which beats the direct O'Reilly membership price.   I use O'Reilly a whole bunch for lots of things, so this is a money saver for me.

Campbell Ritchie wrote:DS: Welcome to the Ranch



Thanks Campbell - glad to be here!
Congratulations - well done!