This certification study-resource from Authors: Sierra & Bates is a winner! As someone who recently succeeded at the SCJP 1.5 exam, i can vouch for this book. The following review is thus for those interested in preparing for the exam and not quite sure whether this book is the right tool for the job.
I am a beginner in Java, interested in becoming a Sun Certified professional java Enterprise Architect ie: SCEA. I decided to start the trek to the java-technology apex with the SCJP programmer certification, whilst actively preparing for the SCEA accreditation.
I used the following books in preparing for the SCJP exam:
(Book 1.) SCJP Study Guide - (SCJP SG )
(Book 2.) SCJP Exam for J2SE 5 - (SCJP E5) (Sanghera)
(Book 3.) Agile Java - (a 5 star book!!)
(Book 4.) Head First Java - (a 5 star book!!)
Note: (due to review real-estate constraints, i shall limit this review to (Book 1.) ie: [The SCJP Study Guide] - (the current book in question). you'll find a review for (Book 2.) on the customer review page for (Bk 2 #) using: Link to Book 2 .
Like most new-comers to java, I wanted to get-up to speed in java rather quickly. Therefore, the [SCJP E5] book from Sanghera was chosen as the first reading-reference, as it seemed concise, compact & condensed. However, if i had to do things-over, and choose which one book to use in order to scale the SCJP 1.5 exam -(whilst learning the Java language as well), I'd pick the [SCJP SG] from Sierra & Bates.
About (Book 1): [SCJP SG]: This book proved to be a more thorough read compared with the (SCJP E5) book from Sanghera. I obtained from it the finer level of details that i believe a beginner might require in order to have a better grasp Re: certain exam topics which were difficult to absorb from reading the (SCJP E5) Sanghera book alone. (Please refer to the (Book 2 #) Review link above, for details Re: the exam-topics in question.
However, upon finishing the (SCJP SG) book and answering the questions, i didn't feel quite ready to tackle the real exam. A lot of my other green-horn friends, decided to brave the exam after using the (SCJP SG) alone & uniquely to study & pass the exam; And failed at the first attempt!
- What was missing was: good exam-revision practise material.
While the test-practise question material in Q&A guides from companies like: Testking, Fravo, Certkiller, offered good exam practise-questions, it was surprising to find that all that was done in these various Q&A documents, was to simply list the answers to the various questions wherever they could, but without providing any detailed explanations or analysis as to why any one answer was correct or another-one wrong!
searching led to a SCJP 1.5 Exam-Practise book targeted at assisting the exam-taker in this respect. SCJP Sun Certified Programmer for Java 5 Practice Exams (Exam 310-055) (Certification Press). This book is also from Authors: Sierra & Bates. However, this book isn't due out till the 4th quarter of 2007 ie: (December 1, 2007)! (others): Java Programmer Certification Mock Exam.
-what i did about it: I had to go away and put-together my own exam-practise guide! based on a composite of various exam-revision material encountered during all of my time revising. I found that the time spent coding and verifying references, together with re-reading material about the J2SE5 spec and including detailed & verifiable (explanations + references) in the exam-guide compiled, proved indispensable.
As space is short, i shall include only a few of the key exam-revision practise resources which really helped below: (for details Re: other key resources used, u might want to refer to my customer review posting for (Book 2 ); see Link to (Book 2 #) Review above.
(1a.) The eplanet Study Guide For The SCJP Certification. Google: [ "tech groups yahoo + SCJP-Sun-Certified-Java-Programmer" ]; Is a good Q&A exam-practise + study-guide offering detailed explanations.
(1b.) Fravo SCJP 310-055 [fravo] (-OR-) Testking [testkingonline], (-OR-) Certkiller. They all offer the same compendium of 180 (Q&A)'s, featuring code-exhibits & simulations.
(1c.) For those who are able to, i'd equally recommend getting the 310-055(.pdf) Q&A document from Actualtests. It is a compendium of 224 exam-practise questions. you can download it for free from the ExamCollection site. This is an awesome site for exam takers! It would be even better if u could download the "(.VCE)" version of the Q & A pdf document , but u will need to download a copy of the VCE manager application as well, in order to view the questions. hint : ...Google: "vce manager"
(1d.) Turn to the Java certification success guide (Part 1: SCJP) from the (IBM.Com) site. Its free but, u'll normally need to do an email registration in order to download it. Google: ["developerworks + java certification success"]. It is a short and concise (.pdf) document from the whizlabs group, useful in preparations for the SCJP 5 exam.
understand the stuff & leave no stone unturned.
Schedule, Sit and Ace the exam in 2hrs:55mins, when u've finished with these various exam-practise questions and study-guides.
The exam is comprised of 72 questions of which several are fashioned as drag & drop coding-scenario questions. Although, the pass mark is 59%, I think most people -(myself included!), view the exam as tough, because of its code intensive nature. I think reading, tackling & spotting possible coding errors in code-samples 6-30 lines long is tough under such time-constrained exam conditions, Plus, No credit is given for partial answers. However, on the up-side, it is do-able with the appropriate revision preparation regime.
for those wondering, i took the SCJP 1.5 exam on March 19th 2007. the passing-score achieved was: 98% ie: (71 out of 72 questions ). The pass-mark is 59%.
next stops: SCBCD, SCWCD, SCEA, SCJWSD.