Friday, July 23, 2004

J2SE 1.4 Programmers Exam

It's finally over!

At high noon today, I began taking the J2SE exam. I started studying for this thing over a year and a half ago. The only problem back then was that I really hadn't done nearly enough Java programming, so although the concepts seemed easy enough, I didn't have the experience to do well. So I never took the test and laid low on it for about a year

Then in December and January we started to study using a guide at work. It started off as a rather large group, but as time went on the numbers dwindled, as more and more people ran into the same issue that I had almost a year ago.

Once the study group was over, work happened, and eventually in May I started studying with Ryan at work. Eventually we got through the chapters again, and again work happened.

So finally over the past month I decided to really work at it, and go nuts on the mock exams, and everything. The thing was, I wasn't doing well on them. I was passing with 55-60% scores, which isn't what you want at all. But I had set the date for today, and I just went in there armed with studying this tutorial this morning and getting about half the 1.4 questions correct on a "really hard" mock exam.

And what happened? It paid off. I scored a 75%...better than any of my mock tests! I got 46 questions correct out of the 61. The fact that I got a 62% on operators and assignments doesn't bother me so much as those were the really tricky questions on the exam. I'm estatic that I got 87% of the Threading quesitons right!

In the end, it doesn't matter. Some claim that this exam is worthless. It's not. What this exam tests is:
  • Your ability to write good syntax so that you do not have to waste hours upon hours debugging poorly written code or designs.
  • Your understanding of how to use the special objects provided by the language to handle things like threading, data storage, and OO designs.
These are things that many people think they know, but really don't know. I know many Java programmers who have not taken this exam, and they are good coders. But since I began prepping for the exam, I have learned much in terms of good design, and I see mistakes that are made. You will become a better developer from taking this exam, and I disagree with the assertion that this exam isn't that important.

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