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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 5, 2003
This book is very well written and covers all topics in detail for SCJP 310-035. The presentation is just wonderful and it keeps you interested. After every chapter, there is a two-minute drill which is a summary of the chapter and would definitely be useful the day before the exam.
Also, for passing the exam, try taking as many mock exams as possible. They all really help.
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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 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 March 24, 2003
I just got back from the testing center, passing with a 90%.
So why four stars instead of five? Glad you asked. To be fair, I'll give the pros first, then the cons.
1. The practice questions are almost exactly like the questions you'll see on the exam. Be sure to download that extra exam!
2. Coverage was complete and well-explained.
1. Lots of errors in the text. Thankfully, the authors are maintaining a web site with errata.
2. The MasterExam didn't do a great job mimicing the behavior of the real test; you can't mark questions for later review, code snippets are always displayed in the same window with the answers (unlike the real test, which sometimes forces you to view an Exhibit), etc. That said, MasterExam _did_ help me prepare.
3. The book is, I feel, somewhat misleading in referring to itself as a guide for the Developer exam as well as the Programmer. This is _not_ one-stop shopping for both exams, whatever the cover might suggest.
This book will definitely help you pass the Programmer exam. What higher praise can I give it? After all, that's why you're looking at this, right?
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on March 1, 2003
In general, I think the book is useful, but I cannot imagine that the authors passed this test let alone co-wrote it!! It is full of errors! If you buy this, plan on visiting the web site and spending at least 45 minutes correcting all the errors. The errors are under 'errata' on the site. (It's not explained where to find them, so I thought I'd post that) and even after updating my book, I'm STILL finding errors! Some are simple typos, but others are errors in their example problems that if you don't catch will screw you up during the test!! I've currently read through chapter 5 and so far found 50 errors! The content is good though. I will also say that the authors can't seem to figure out if they're Java geeks or comedians. In case they read this, I'll answer for them... geeks. Example: "we can't say you'll be a "complete OO being" by reading this chapter.)(We can say however, that your golf swing will improve.)" At first, these are moderately amusing, but after awhile, they just get downright annoying. Authors, keep writing code, leave the jokewriting to the pros...
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