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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.
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on January 28, 2003
I had purchased another certification book and was struggling through it. Trying to work full-time and prepare for the exam is not an easy job. Then I got this book and felt *much* better about working on the exam. This book made it much easier than the other book, and does not bring in extra material that you do not need for the exam. I found the practice exams to be virtually indentical to the real exam. I think if I had had more time with the book, I would have scored even better than 93%, but I am still very, very happy.
There were a few times in this book where I thought that there were not enough details, because of the way some other practice exams are so difficult, but it turns out that those other details are not part of the exam, so I should not have stressed about that.
This book, and a little time and practice, is all you need. Do not expect to learn Java from the ground up, but you *can* expect to learn everything you need to do well on the exam.
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on January 31, 2003
I cannot rate this book high enough. Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates have put together a fantastic guide for passing the test. The tone is very casual, but they cover everything you need to pass the exam in depth. I had about six months of experience with Java prior to purchasing the book, and I found that it filled in many gaps in my knowledge that I hadn't known I had.
The book has a set of 20 or so questions at the end of each chapter which help to cement your knowledge. Also, the book comes with 2 mock exams whose questions closely mimic the difficulty and style of those I found on the exam.
I do have one caveat though...only purchase this book if you are pursuing the SCJP. This book has good information for those interested in becoming a SCJD, but the bulk of the book is devoted to preparing you to become a certified programmer, not developer.
If you're pursuing the SCJP, this book should be the only one you'll need.
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on February 11, 2003
This book is perfect for people who wants to pass the 310-035 exam. I have been a computer science student for three years, I started studying java in august 2002, I bought this book in december 2002 and I passed the 310-035 exam in january 2003. Need I say more?.. yes.
The author illustrates the material in colorful anecdotes that make reading enjoyable. I have read the programmer part of the book in a week. There were some subtle typos and if you want to pass the developer exam you will need to do more readings.
I suggest you try the "patterns in java" tutorials... I will add more later once I pass the 310-027 exam. happy cramming !
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on February 15, 2003
This is the best book to consider while preparing for Sun Certified Programmer for the Java 2 Platform 1.4. The book greatly explains all the details about Java programming. The Exam watch and 2 minutes drill are very helpful. I have succeded Sun certification with a good percentile only be studying this book and trying out the examples using note pad.The test exams and master exams really helps you and provides you a complete GUI similar to Sun Certification. I strongly recommend this book to be considered for your Sun Certified Programmer for the Java 2 Platform 1.4.
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on January 28, 2003
I think this is the study guide that will get you to pass the exam in the best way. It is simple and clear and the explanations are making sense to me more than some others do. I became very prepared for the exam this way, and I followed the book 9 chapters in sequence and did all the practice exams. I knew that I was ready for the real exam when I did well on the exam on the CD-ROM. This study guide is very nice to read and I enjoyed it very much. I understand things now that I had doubts at before.
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on January 23, 2004
This book isn't so bad, however I have some things I have to say:
1. Too much humour: At the beginning I liked it, however, when you learn it into deep for the certification, it is quite disturbing and confusing too. I tried always to keep concentrated on the Java stuff that is required for the exam, but I often loose concentration, because the authors put TOO OFTEN hilarity inside the book. It seemed sometimes as it would be a "Dummies" book (I hate them meanwhile...).
2. You also need another book to understand the OO and Java concepts. Unless you are a very experienced Java programmer, you will need something more to cover some topics of this book, like "Exceptions" and "Assertions" (by the way, they are not so good explained). I can suggest you to buy also "Beginning Java 2" by Ivor Horton - despite of the title, you don't must underestimate it; it is a very good book, also for later when you will be experienced in Java. "Beginning Java 2" is a HUGE book (over 1200 pages!), but all the concepts are very well explained, with a lot examples.
3. There is also some positive about this book: the CD is very good, you have the whole book as PDF, and you have also som exams on it. The questions/ansewrs for the exam and the "Two minutes drill" are also well done.
I suggest you to buy both books for your certification: "Sun Certified Programmer & Developer for Java 2" plus "Beginning Java 2".
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on January 8, 2004
I took the SCJP exam today and scored over 90%. This book made all the difference.
I've been programming in Java since 1.1. I went through the entire book. Not only did I learn what I needed to pass the exam but the review of the Java language, as it stands today in version 1.4, was great. I gained a better understanding of some of the new 1.4 features as well as old features and features I don't use very much. Even things I thought I knew, I gained new insights.
The book is very well organized and written. Great diagrams and tables too. The sample test questions at the end of each chapter were at the same level as those on the actual test. In fact, I would swear that several were on my exam. So after finishing the book, I took the test and passed. Looking back, I feel that the book fully prepared me for all parts of the exam. There were no surprises. The exam was challenging but you can pass it if you study with this book.
The book comes with a CD but I never even used it. It also covers the SCJD exam. I have not read that part so I won't comment on it.
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on December 3, 2003
Don't hesitate to make this book your primary guide for SCJP 1.4 preparation. The authors have made a marvellous job about delivering the vital facts you need to know for the exam while leaving out tons of otherwise valuable data that fall beyond the scope. Both authors have participated in creating the real questions for the real exam thus providing an invaluable insight to discern the true nature of what you are up to doing.
This book won't teach you how to program in Java, it won't make you proficient in the object-oriented concepts, nor will it even cover all the basics. Its sole purpose is to painlessly walk you through the rough process of becoming Sun certified. About the only area of expertise being overlooked is the daemon threads, but Kathy made the supplement trails available on [...]
Unlike many other certification guides and "guides", this one makes a perfect reading. The most boring and repulsive Sun objectives in the book are nicely interwoven with the gems of refreshingly spicy humor.
Having said that, I strongly recommend that you supplement the book sessions with taking mock exams and writing and testing code snippets. Read the book twice, pay attention to the exam watches and two-minute drills, and you will be rewarded generously on the test.
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on November 3, 2003
I really enjoyed this book on many levels. First of all, everything is here and explained fully. Hard to grasp topics are unfolded piece by piece with plenty of very pertinent exam alerts. The questions in the book were harder for me than the actual exam, which was good. Secondly, it is well written with personality and some real good natured humor, like calling a Thread that is Running as "in the big time" and "what it's all about". Other books that have had a personality writing rather than a machine have sometimes gone too far with it and left out material. Not this one, the good writing and clever humor all adds to the unusual excellence of this work. The book is full of challenging questions and clear examples. Most computer books have typos or incorrect answers marked by mistake. I could find nothing but accuracy and attention to detail on every page. If certification books all came like this, it would be a better experience for everyone improving their skills. I passed solidly today and I know Java in far more detail now than I did before. This is the ONE!
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