registering for the scea part 2

Note: Oracle no longer uses Prometric so this procedure is no longer valid.


Registering for Oracle Java Enterprise Edition 5 Enterprise Architect Certified Master Downloadable Project was a nice little adventure.  I expected it to take 5-10 minutes.  Instead it took close to a half hour to figure out what to do.  I’m writing up the tricks here to expedite the process for others.

As regular readers of this blog know, I took a break from the SCEA while taking the Core Spring certification.  (To read about part 1 see Jeanne’s SCEA part 1 experiences.)  Now I’m ready to buy the assignment portion – part 2.

In theory, what you need to do is well documented by Sun/Oracle.  The names of things are in a state of flux.  But that’s to be expected given the certification names are switching from Sun to Oracle in four days.  That was not a problem.

Let’s walk through the procedure together.

Click First Time Registration and create your web testing profile. You must have your Prometric ID you used when you took 310-052 at Prometric when you create your web registration here. Without this Prometric ID your certification records will not merge. Your Prometric ID will start with “SR” followed by 7 characters.

Issue #1: Looks like I need my prometric id before I get started.  That should be in my e-mail confirmation for part one, right?  No such luck.  I found it in two places.

  1. Logon to prometric and choose “update personal information”. Then it shows your SR_______ id.  (It is not located in candidate history under prometric which is another place I looked.)
  2. It is on the score report for part 1.  Had I registered for part 2 right after part 1, this would have been more readily apparent.

Issue #2 : I looked high and low on the prometric site for a “first time registration” link.  (Added confusion that this can’t be your first time registring – you’ve already taken and passed part 1.)  Eventually, I decided to read the SCJD instructions in hopes of a clue.  And voila – the “first time registration” link is underneath that on the same page with the instructions!  I do not find this obvious at all.  Once you are done reading the SCEA instructions, one would think everything else on the page is about the SCJD.  Why it isn’t a clickable link in step one of the instructions is beyond me.

Issue #3: After entering my prometric id, I need to “Select a Test Provider or Program”.  My choices are “Certification” and “Sun Partner Advantage Certification.”  I’m going to assume it is the former because I would have heard of the later if it applied to me.

Issue #4: Prometric already has a lot of this information (address/phone/etc).  Why do I have to enter it again?  It should be linked from my candidate id, no?

I’ve now spent about twenty five minutes just on step 1.  I certainly hope it goes smoother from here on out.

Once you have created your profile by First Time Registration you will be at the candidate menu, click the Public Tests Submit button.

Issue #1: There is no “public tests” link after creating my profile.  There is a “take tests” link.  And once I click that, there is a “public tests” link.  Not an important missing step – at least here it was obvious what to do.

Choose the SCEA 310-301A exam. There is no promotion or voucher code.

This step went smoothly.

Your SCEA assignment is randomly chosen from a pool of assignments. You must print your assignment. The exam session will stay valid for 2 hours after which time you will not be allowed to relaunch the exam assignment. You have up to one year to complete the assignment and the essay. The Part 3 exam (310-062) is an essay which you should take immediately after completing your work on the assignment. The essay exam asks you questions about your assignment, so it is important that you take 310-062 while your assignment is fresh in your mind. You must take 310-062 at Prometric, like you did with 310-052. We cannot grade 310-301A without the completion of 310-062.

Almost.  Oracle’s page says you get two hours to print the assignment.  Prometric’s page says you get two hours in the test summary and one hour in the description.  It really is two hours.  The two hours begins from when you choose “begin test.”  Printing was easy – everything is on one web page so it is just browser print.  It was a four page printed document.  I also printed a copy to my installed Primo PDF driver to save it as a PDF file in case I want to print another copy later.

And done!  Now I can actually read the assignment.

A finally interesting note – while registering for the exam, it said the passing score is not disclosed.  But the passing score is in the exam description.  Odd.

spring 3 certification – about the test

Table of contents for the Spring 3 certification series of posts:

  1. Jeanne’s core spring 3 certification experiences (Background information)
  2. About the test (includes Scope of the test and Spring 2.5 vs 3.0 exam)
  3. What did I read and how were the resources I tried
  4. My study plan
  5. Skills guru mock exam
  6. What I would recommend as a study plan

About the test

It really shouldn’t be necessary to put this in a blog post.  But the information is so scattered that it is.  Here’s what is known:

  • 50 questions
  • 90 minutes (it was 88 minutes when I took it, but it is possible they counted the two minutes I spent reading the rules about what can and can’t be shared.)
  • passing score is 76%
  • there is an official study guide
  • there are no official mock exams

That’s it.  That is literally all the information I found about the Core Spring 3 certification.  There is also some information about the 2.5 exam linked from the JavaRanch Spring Certification FAQ page.

Scope of the test

As Dan said in his 2.5 writeup:

Although I am not allowed to comment on the specific questions I can comment on the topics. One of the frustrations that I and many others have, is that there is just no real decent way to simulate this exam from a trusted source like you would with a Sun certification. So you are quite in the dark when it comes to an effective preparation on what is a massive topic. So hopefully the following information might be useful to you.

Following that philosophy, here’s the distribution for Spring 3:

  • Container and test (20)
  • AOP (10)
  • JDBC (3)
  • Transactions (4)
  • Web (2)
  • REST (2)
  • Remoting  (2)
  • Security (2)
  • JMS (2)
  • JMX (2)

The total does come to 50 because the questions were ordered in the same way as on the study guide making it easy to remember.  It could vary of course – this is just what I got.

Types of questions

Each questions has four answer choices.  There were a few types of questions. I note this because one of the few things I thought I knew prior to the exam was that each question has only one correct answer.  This turned out to be incorrect.

  • Select one answer
  • Select X answers
  • Select one or more answers (I don’t like this type where they don’t tell you how many are correct.)
  • Select the one that is not correct (this is ok – this is like “select three”

Most of the questions were fairly high level with a few detailed ones.  It didn’t stray far from the course or study guide which was a pleasant surprise given what I heard about the 2.5 exam.

There was also a question that contained a spelling error.  I was disappointed to see this in a published test; it says something about the quality control process.  I imagine since the Spring 3 test is fairly new, this will get shaken out soon.

Overall impressions

Finally, I’d like to compare my impression of the exam before and after.  I wrote the following before taking the exam.

The funny thing is Gavin [2.5 notes creator] says he doesn’t know what is on the exam because he is a grandfathered candidate and didn’t take the class. Ironically, I did take the class and don’t know what’s on the exam.  The class manual is too easy and doesn’t cover edge cases so clearly isn’t sufficient.  And the skills guru mock exam covered things that weren’t in the Spring 3 objectives and not mentioned in the class.   I’m not sure if he overthought things, the Spring 2.5 exam was harder or I’m still not grasping what is on the exam.  I do note the actual stated 2.5 had more in them such as Hessian/Burlap.

Now that I’ve taken the exam, I can say that the few available materials on the web created a lot more worry about the exam than was necessary.  The course student guide *is* on the level of the exam.  And the mock exams are much harder and contain content that is out of scope.

Spring 2.5 vs 3.0 exam

The Spring 2.5 exam sounds like it was a lot harder than the Spring 3.0 exam.  This is unfortunate in some ways – it means the certification means less.  Of course, if you are a candidate for the 3.0 exam. it is a good thing.  I wonder if the “dumbing down” of the exam has anything to do with ending the grandfathering of candidates.  The 3.0 exam is more like a course review whereas the 2.5 one sounded more like a knowledge of Spring test.  And since one is required to take the class before taking the test, this is most of the studying required.

Previous page: Background Information

Next page: Readings and Resources

spring 3 certification – readings and resources

Table of contents for the Spring 3 certification series of posts:

  1. Jeanne’s core spring 3 certification experiences (Background information)
  2. About the test (includes Scope of the test and Spring 2.5 vs 3.0 exam)
  3. What did I read and how were the resources I tried
  4. My study plan
  5. Skills guru mock exam
  6. What I would recommend as a study plan

I tried some other exams that didn’t claim to be mocks. See the week by week section for those. Or for more details about the resources in this table.

Resource Spring Version Cost Comments
The official student guide and lab manual from course 3.0 came with course I think studying this would have been enough to pass (with a low passing score.)
Spring in Action (3rd edition) 3.0 $30/$50 The parts of the book that are already written were enjoyable to read. I learned a lot from them although not necessarily things that were on the test. Some test material was reinforced well though.
Sections from Official Reference Documentation 3.0 $0 Again interesting and I learned a lot, but definitely overkill for the test.
Spring Source’s Sample questions 2.5 $0 I thought these questions were too easy when I first read them. Now I think the level is equivalent to the exam. Even though they are 2.5, the content still applies. They are not multiple choice though.
Gavin Lasnitzki’s study notes 2.5 $0 These are a lot more detailed than the exam. They are faster to read than the official documentation so good for a review.
Skill-guru mock exam #1 3.0 $0.99 It’s the best we have, but keep in mind it is a lot harder than the real exam and contains material that is out of scope. See Skills Guru section for more detail.
Skill-guru mock exam #2 3.0 $0.99 See comments for exam #1. I felt more questions were out of scope in this exam.
BlackBeltFactory’s mock exam 3.0 contribution point based I led the creation of this exam as I was studying. It is significantly harder than the real exam. At the time of this blog post, it is in public beta state. Now released.
Jeanne Boyarsky’s study notes 3.0 $0 I wrote them so I’m biased.

I’ve also read some other Spring books in the past for older versions of Spring.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of “Spring in Action” exchange for writing a review of the book when it prints. I am also a volunteer administrator at BlackBeltFactory from when I was active in the early days. This means I have thousands of contribution points and didn’t have to think about the cost when taking exams.

Previous page: About the test

Next page: My study plan