It's been a busy day today, some last minute revision this morning then took the SCJP 5.0 exam this afternoon. What can I say, 3.5 hours! That's a long exam. I didn't use all the time, but still that's a quite a lot of exam for the money!
Anyway, I'm relieved and pleased to pass with 83% - not bad, could have done better but I happy with that, to be fair as a balance between time spent and other commitments.
Time to celebrate tonight I think. It's nice to get that one out of the way, will have a short break then decide which one to tackle next!
(Note to self: see if you can take a drink in next time! Got really thirsty, dehydrated and sleepy in the middle of it and no one was around so I wasn't sure if I could leave the room to get a drink, so I had to stay put - ooops!)
Notes on the exam itself:
Generally I'd say it seemed easier than I was expecting. Some questions seemed very easy, leaving me in doubt as to whether I'd missed something and then spending longer on the question than I would normally, double checking the question and answer.
The mark and review system is excellent. I also used the provided dry wipe sheets and pens to keep track of questions I wasn't sure of so I could go back. Going back to a drag and drop question does mean you lose your previous answer - but it does warn you before it happens. It seems you can only review your questions once you've gone through the whole test, so it's worth finishing with enough time left to go over the harder questions that you've marked again at the end. 3.5 hours is a long time, I suspect 3 would still be more than enough, but it's surprising how long it takes to answer 72 questions, which is a lot of questions really. If you struggled on half of them you'd be mentally exhausted by the end. The exam does concentrate quite a lot on API and syntax specifics, so you've really got to spend some time just revising and remembering those specific API classes and methods. Overall, a good experience, I'd recommend anyone in a position to do it does so, preparing for it certainly gives you a good grounding in many aspects of Java SE 5.
What to do next, that's the question. Probably one of the web developer (web components or services) ones, as they would be beneficial in my job. I guess I should do an upgrade exam from 5 to 6 (or 7!) soon too, ideally.
I've made my personal SCJP 5.0 study guide available on my personal web site www.chillipower.com - specifically here http://www.chillipower.com/Primers/SCJP%205%20Study%20Guide%200.1.doc for anyone who might find it useful.
Although SCJP 5.0 is technically out of date already, v5.0 represents the bulk of the material needed in order to pass. I will at some point take the upgrade exam, but this is lower priority right now.