13 lipca 2009

SCJP - preparations for exam and impressions after

Readers from Poland: this is English version of my old post written in Polish which has additional information interesting only for Polish readers.

It's been some time since I passed my Sun Certified Java Programmer 1.5 (SCJP) exam, but I hope this post will help somebody to choose their way of preparations to the exam and consequently achieve better final result.

Teaching aids
- SCJP Sun Certified Programmer for Java 5 Study Guide (Exam 310-055), definitely "must have" book for everyone planning to pass SCJP. This book covers everything you could encounter on exam. I read it whole once but some chapters twice (mainly Generics and Threads which I didn't catch on at first).
- simulator EnthuWare JQ+, it costs only 28$ or 18$ (for students) but wihout it my score would have been lower.

- Java Language Specification and javadocs for further reading about small details
- your favourite IDE to test your own ideas and experiment with questions from example tests. Question 'What would be if I change ..." is one you should ask often while learning :)
- forum SCJP at JavaRanch.com, where you can meet many people who already passed SCJP and also authors of SCJP book.

General tips
1. I think trying to pass the exam without doing some example tests isn't good idea. Questions are rather specific and after few hundreds of example questions your speed and accuracy will increase significantly. Additionally you will be able to see some problems and errors right after you look at the code, almost without deeper analyze.
2. Money spent on SCJP simulator are never wasted money.
3. Play with code. If you are unsure about how something works, check it with your IDE. Try changing some code and see how it works then. My experiments with NetBeans give me a lot of additional knowledge.
4. Don't learn too long. I know it's hard to say with great confidence "I am ready for the exam", but you should pick a date (even in 3-4 months) and do not change it unless you are really, really justified. With such deadline in your head, you will be more motivated to learn regularly with better final effect. A friend of mine is learning for SCJP for 6 months without any plan and his preparations seem to be endless :)

More user stories about how people prepare for SCJP could be found at:
JavaRanch SCJP Wall of Fame.

PS: My result was 80% :)

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