I cleared SCJP 6.0 with 81% on January 25, 2010 (putting this up after a long gap), not a really good score, but happy to get a “PASS” :). I did manage to do some 25 days of preparation (serious preparation), but my coding experience in Java helped me a lot- In understanding the basic concepts easily and giving more time to learn the less used concepts like Generics, Collections, Threading. Through out my preparation and after appearing for the exam there are few things I wanted to share with the aspirants:
- Which Is the book to be referred? I would say SCJP Guide By Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates is the best for SCJP- Covers all the concepts required. There’s one more book by Khalid Mughal, which covers lot of concepts and has too much of information for the exam. Its Generics and collections chapters are exhaustive.
- Do I need to buy the mock exams? or the Question Database? No, U need not. For Mock Exams there’s a fantastic software- Examlab, free to download and use. Also SCJP Guide By Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates comes with a CD which has mock exam and database of questions. So these two should be more than enough to help u with your mock exam and additional question needs. Examlab in particular has an exactly similar UI experience as that of the actual SCJP Exam, but its a bit tougher than the actual exam. A score of 60% should be good enough. But once U finish the exam, dont forget to analyze the mistakes and your correct answers with the justification provided in the solutions. This will help u a lot during the exam. Same goes with the CD that comes with the book.
- While preparing for the Exam- Code a lot, dont just try to read it as a theory. Also while coding avoid (or I would say DONT) using IDE. This mistake of mine- not using the simple editor- cost me atleast 3-4 questions. Cause using IDE we do Ctrl+Space or google for the class or the IDE will guide u with the possible errors u have in your code but that will not be the case in the exam. So avoid IDE while practicing for the exam or if u are starting to learn java.
- Try to focus on Generics as there can be some really tricky questions from there and also dont leave any concept unclear. Questions will test multiple areas.
- There will be few drag and drop questions on the exam which are pretty easy. One can go through the exercises given in Head First Java to get a feel of them.
- Dumps are of no use- They may be able to get you higher percentage, but it will not add to your practical knowledge and will not clear your concepts.
- Give enough time for preparation, solving mock exams- Dont take fix the exam date and start preparing, fix the date only when U are sure of scoring good.
- Best place to hangout- JavaRanch– The best place for SCJP preparation
- Useful FAQ- http://faq.javaranch.com/java/ScjpFaq
- Myth- SCJP Will get u a job- I would say proper preparation for SCJP and a good score will increase your Java skills => Will higher your chances of getting a job
These are few things which I wanted to share. Will keep updating as and when I come across any tips. Also people who have cleared/prepared/preparing for SCJP, please drop in comments which I will promptly add it to my post!
- As pointed out by Jose Fernandez: Effective Java by Joshua Bloch is a really good book to learn the effective ways to write Java code.
- I forgot to add another book: Java Puzzlers by Joshua Bloch– Superb book which explains concepts which are often not understood well. This will be really helpful for SCJP Preparation.
- Another Useful link– Has lot of concepts explained. A bit verbose.
- An useful FAQ about the Java Certification