Tuesday, October 20, 2009

5 Reasons that make SCJP certification exam tough

You start to prepare for your SCJP certification exam with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm. You do research on the internet and after reading on various Java forums and registering into some of them (about 3 or4) you go out and buy that 1st book on SCJP certification exams. You are now really committed to study 2-3 hours every day and clear the exam in about 1-3 months time.

The next 2 days go by and you didn’t get those 2 hours to study. Then 1 full week goes by and now you are getting a little worried but you decide to give it more time over the weekend.......sounds familiar.

We asked many SCJP exam takers and realized that most of them sail this familiar boat. Here are five most common reasons why we slip in our preparation and tips to deal with them.

  1. You are not in reality of the preparation of your exam
    Most of the time preparation for this certification exam is approached in the conventional (old habituated style) style especially the way you did preparation back in school and college days. However the reality of this exam is that you are no longer in school or in college (some exceptions maybe there) you are in a full time job and you have to mange job responsibilities and also are going to study after a break of 3-4 years. Hence the preparation approach must be also different.

    The Fix: Plan Ahead
    Rather than beating yourself up for not studying the way you did earlier design a new approach as the circumstances are different now. Make a study plan keeping the reality of the current circumstance in mind.
  2. You only prepare theoretical aspects of the exam
    The SCJP exam now-a-days have coding questions. Small code snippets are given and either with compilation errors or code logic errors need to be answered.

    The Fix: Practice practice practice
    These days questions can be best answered if you have done hands on programming in Java and if not then you will need to practise many such questions that give you exposure of coding. Look for mock tests/sample practise tests that have you practise a lot of coding.
  3. Preparing Alone Preparing for the certification exam
    Preparing alone is a trap you will never be able to study alone as you have never done that in school/college etc you had your entire class friends preparing with you.

    The Fix: get a group of committed people to take the exam with you
    Get a friend/colleague or register in a Java forum to belong to a group of people and prepare along with them. Not only will it be fun but it’ll also give you the required competition and keep you on your toes.
  4. Nothing happens over night
    You might have heard of this great person (most likely your boss’s story of his certification process) in your office who passed the exam in 1 week or 1 month and now you are impatient as to how long it’ll take for you to be certified. You plan for 1 month and soon the plan goes to the dogs so now you are really impatient and in your mind you have made it a very tough exam that will take lots to pass.

    The Fix: Build brick by Brick
    Don't try to learn the entire language in a week/month, take your time. Keep the objective of learning and not just somehow passing the certification exam. Learn "why" something works a given way, not just that it works one way. This will surely see you long way in your journey as a Java professional.
  5. Am I ready?
    This is a tough one to answer. And exam will always be an exam meaning it’ll always give butterfly in your stomach and make you feel like throwing up the moment you think of taking the exam.

    The Fix: Don’t be guided by you feelings
    Here again I will point to the 1st point in this article keep in touch with the reality of your exam preparation. Let the scores in the practise tests/sample tests/mock tests guide you if you are ready for the exam. If you are scoring 85% + in the mock tests (and do take a variety of mock tests) do go take the exam.

    Sudeepa Basu
    Chief Marketing – Whizlabs.com

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