I already passed the test for “Sun Certified Java Programmer (SCJP 6)” with 83 percent after a lot of time-consuming preparation. Here are my experiences about doing the certification and the hints I can give you. Although now, the name has changed to Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 6/SE 5 Programmer, I am sure the following information will help you.
What Should You Keep in Mind Before Starting Your Preparation for the Exam?
- The preparation is a lot more time-consuming than I thought, also for experienced Java developers.
- You really improve your programming skills a lot (As many other people, I doubted this fact when I started learning for the exam and looking at these tricky, non-practical code snippets).
- You should do the preparation and test in English language – almost no good non-English resources are available. At least, I can speak for the German language.
- Do not care about the score. Personally, I also do not care – I just wanted to pass the exam. But I was prepared very well and some wrong answers happened only because some questions are not clear in my opinion. E.g. the questions about encapsulation, coupling, inheritance and cohesion are not clear – sometimes several answer look correct to me.
My (Bad) Experiences with the “Prometric Test Center”
- There are plenty of test centers worldwide. You can choose the date and time very flexible, it is no problem to book only one day before an exam.
- There is no quality assurance for the registered test centers. “My” test center was awkward: A lot of noise, a defect lamp, a very bad display. Next time, I will choose another one. If you can, ask some colleagues for their experiences in your area.
The time (3 hours for 60 questions) started when you had to read the license where you have to confirm with yes. So I think nobody reads the license because it has many pages…
- I had no technical problems with drag and drop questions (as I have read from some other guys).
- I registered directly at Prometric for the test. I did NOT get an invoice with my company’s name! So there are huge problems to get the money back from my company, because they need an invoice with their company’s address on it.
I contacted Prometric, and I got the following answer: “Please be informed that Prometric does not send out invoices in a company name. The file is in the candidate name and therefore the receipt is always addressed to the candidate.”
Which Resources Should You Use to Prepare for the Exam?
In my opinion, the following three resources are sufficient (and also there is no good alternative):
- The book “SCJP Sun Certified Programmer for Java 6 Study Guide” (Author: Kathy Sierra): This book explains every important fact for the exam. It also contains some realistic Q&A and two full mock exams.
- SCJP forum at www.coderanch.com: I got an answer to each question within twelve hours. Great!
- ExamLab: Some (very tough) mock exams, for free. I think you need to do some of these because the ones included by the above book do not contain all pitfalls. Beware: These mock questions are very tough! If you can reach 50 percent here, you will probably pass the real exam.
I propose every Java developer to do the exam, but if you have time to prepare only after work or at the weekend, plan at least six months for it.
In 2011 or 2012 I plan to make the SCEA, which will probably be a lot more work.
If you have any comments about my experiences, let me know…
Kai Wähner (Twitter: @KaiWaehner)