Most helpful positive review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The best Java study guide available--highly recommended!!!
on January 21, 2003
I had just passed the Sun Certified Programmer for the Java 1.4 Platform exam (with a score of 80%), and I want to help prospective test takers in finding the "right" Java study guide. I was bewildered by the number of books available, and I had to try many of them before I settled on the right one. Here are my short reviews for each of the major Java study guides:
"Sun Certified Programmer & Developer for Java 2 Study Guide" by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates (five stars): I felt this book was the best among all the Java study guides. Both the authors were responsible for the Java certification exam's development, and the practice questions are *very* similar to the actual exam. The authors also cover exactly what will be on the 1.4 exam, pointing out potential topics, questions, and pitfalls. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
"A Programmer's Guide to Java Certification" by Khalid Mughal and Rolf Rasmussen (four stars): This is a good choice if you plan on taking the 1.2 exam. The book also has a dual purpose of teaching Java and sometimes goes beyond the actual scope of the exam, but it is nonetheless excellent. However, as the title suggests, this isn't the book for you if you don't have any programming experience. Also, the book's practice questions are much, much harder than the actual exam.
"Complete Java 2 Certification Study Guide (3rd Edition)" by Philip Heller and Simon Roberts (two stars): This was the most disappointing book of all. I don't know why so many people swear by it, but the book appeared to have been rushed into production. Many of the errors and typos have been updated in the book's second printing, but the book's coverage of topics is quite weak. Lastly, the practice questions were not only too easy, but they don't look very similar to how questions look on the real test. It's not a terrible book (many people appear to have passed the exam with just this book), but there are better options.
"Java 2 Exam Prep" by Bill Brodgen (three stars): This compact study guide isn't a bad choice for prospective test takers with a good Java foundation. It covers all the exam's topics succinctly, but as another reviewer noted, it should not be your primary study guide. I personally did not find the book particularly useful.
Lastly, sign up for Sun's ePractice practice exams. You'll get three sample tests, and they will help you prepare for the exam by showing you how the questions will look and what type of questions they will ask. I didn't like the idea of spending the extra money, but the practice exams definitely helped me prepare for the real thing.