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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

My Experiences With SCJP 5

1. Disclaimer
I don't know is it needed or not ? But frankly this is the place, most of the times for me and my friends only. And these are my personal experiences so please don't blame me for anything wrong.

2. In Short
SCJP1.5 is a nice paper, which will test you on anything specified within the syllabus. I observed that 1/3 questions were real fun, 1/3 were all right in which candidate have to scratch at least his/her mind and rest were BOSS questions.
If worked properly, you can obtain 85+ easily.

3. SCJP1.4 or SCJP1.5 ?
Still thinking ? have a look on the following survey threads on javaranch:
For 1.4 http://saloon.javaranch.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=24&t=032481
For 1.5 http://saloon.javaranch.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=24&t=032482

Difference between both and Many other answers are available at
SCJP FAQ http://faq.javaranch.com/view?ScjpFaq#15diff14

SCJP 1.5: http://www.sun.com/training/catalog/courses/CX-310-055.xml
SCJP 1.4: http://www.sun.com/training/catalog/courses/CX-310-035.xml

4. Test Centers, Voucher & Scheduling
A list of Prometric testing center's is available online at http://www.2test.com .
In India the voucher cost is Rs 7200/-.
I scheduled the exam one week before, but my one friend told me that he done it on the spot, but its better to scheduled before so that you can make a good plan.

5. Time needed to prepare
This is a very platform dependent question & it depends upon you only. But 2-3 months intensive preparation is a good time period if you are already familiar with Java. And if you are working like me then you may have to prepare irregularly which can extend the preparation to even 6 or more months. In mine case, it was around 5-6 months.

6. Books
Their may be many books but for SCJP5 :
SCJP Sun Certified Programmer for Java 5 Study Guide (Exam 310-055) (Certification Press Study Guides) (Paperback)
by Katherine Sierra, Bert Bates

You may try Khalid Mugal first, I did that even though its only for SCJP1.4

Khalid Mugal is very compressive and can be used apart from SCJP for reference.
While K & B are among the exam creators and their book is only focused on the exam with some interesting amusement.

7. Other Resources:
The best way I think is to join as many as SCJP groups, take part actively and visit related sites often.

Groups: javaranch scjp group, javabeat_scjp , orkut SCJP communities,
javaranch: http://saloon.javaranch.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi
javabeat: http://www.javabeat.net/

javabeat_scjp groups provides Question of the Day for SCJP1.4 and preparing for SCJP5. They are really useful.
Question of Day for SCJP5: http://www.examulator.com/phezam/question.php (although are bit easy)

Others including Mock Exams:
Here is the whizlabs link http://www.whizlabs.com/register.html?myproduct=SCJP5.0

SCJP 5 Mock exam written by John Meyers http://rapidshare.de/files/19245771/JMMock.zip.html
(must say that its just lovelllllly)

MasterExam 1,2 with K&B5 book
Test104 demo: www.test104.com http://www.test104.com/en/board/topicshow.asp?id=76
examulator exam: http://www.examulator.com/phezam/login.php
Javabeat 1, 2: http://www.javabeat.net/javabeat/scjp5/mocks/index.php
cool generic quiz: http://www.grayman.de/quiz/java-generics-en.quiz
Cool study notes: http://java.boot.by/scjp-tiger/
Sunil's Collection: http://sunilparmar.com/Documents/SCJP.html

8. Procedure & Preparation:
Books -> Exercises in them -> Revision -> Mocks

And Last minute Drills from the book.
I will suggest not to dive directly into the mocks unless you are habitual of hypertension.
First go through books and then mocks are must.

9. Are you ready for exam?
It depends upon you and you will know it surely.
Most of the times when you start scoring 80+ then its time to call Sun.

10. So its Battlefield
When you will be on the exam desk, unlike other battlefields, your playground will be chilled from outside and most probably you can hear your heart beats. For first stage you will struggle hard to concentrate on the exam and to have a feel of the environment.

First of all a survey about your java experience will be presented to you, and 15 minutes are allotted for this survey.
After it? on your mark, get set go.

User Interface:

[Next] [Previous] [Exhibit] [Item Review] [Comment]

Exhibit: This will popup a window with full source code in the popup
Item Review: Will show you summary of question numbers and marked 'Review'
Comment: This will be popup a window having textarea to enter some comment on current question

As suggested in K & B, have a quick look for cherry pick questions. You should have familiarization & then, when you will start medium questions, it will boost your confidence. Now at this stage you will be in the 5th gear.
Then after fighting with BOSS questions and marked Review, either time will finish or you will press finish exam. What ever it be, automatically print command will execute, and then you have to wait on official's desk for print out (it was the longest waiting time. I don't know why printers are so slow? )

11. Problems You may face
Automatically resetting of Drag & Drop questions, if you will review them.
Natural calls ?? haha no way.
And Air Conditioner, ya for people like me, my environment switched from Delhi's hot climate to AC room so quickly that with in 30 minutes I knew that my stomach is going to upset. ooop, have a break plllzzz...
Ambiguous language, even though it is rare.(But i encountered atleast one, and I commented it :-) )

12. Tips
* First of all, know the fact that if you followed proper path, their is no fear of failing.
* Any drinking etc must do before exam
* First survey is fine, which asks for your java experience(spent some time on this to have a feel of environment), but if I remember correctly their was a another form which was asking my permission, if they can contact me for promotional schemes of their products, BEWARE I saw that time was already started for exam at this point of time.
* Threads & Generics were tooooo much on the exam.
* While preparation, Code small examples to make clear point, particularly odd ones
* Drag & Drop, questions were really plain simple if you know API's . Attempt them in last and don't review them.
* In whizlab's SCJP5 simulator, Drag & Drop questions, I observed that once you dragged a answer you cannot remove it easily. But real exam is cool for adding or removing options, except resetting problem .
* While exam, believe me, don't think about result, just concentrate on the questions and do your best.

13. Congrats!! now ?
Hey don't you want to register in Sun's certification manager to check your progress ?
and how will my resume look with Sun' Logo ?
Yes for these: http://www.certmanager.net/sun
and for logo: http://logos.sun.com/logosite.jsp?Category=sunuse

14. Moral of the Story
Here it is: Good Luck !!!
And if you like this blog, want to query, any correction, your experiences... just comment it out. I will try my best to respond.
And if you are really very kind then help me out for searching good job :-)
Again, All the Best!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cleared SCJP5

So at last!!
After a long delay, i cleared SCJP5.
It is another thing that i scored merely 76% when i was hoping 85+.
Surely it was only my fault. I din't revised properly as i was just frustated with the delay and i decided to give exam thats it. I think i lacked some code practice also. And at last, my crazy schedule was amazing.
I did a 5-5 night shift, then traveled from Jan Shatabdi to delhi till 1 Noon,
searched center and attempted exam at 2-5 Pm.

Well, its fine. Now its a nice experiance to be Sun Certified Java Programmer, SE5.
next time i will keep my mistakes in mind.
Ya ofcourse this certification was enough reason to celebrate, and relax for sometime.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Scheduled SCJP1.5

So this friday i am giving SCJP1.5, better should call SCJP5.
Well about preparation .... lets c the result only.
Till then GuD luCK to me :-)