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

5 thoughts on “spring 3 certification – about the test

  1. Thanks jeanne. I will attend the spring class tomorrow. this information is really helpful.

    Thanks again.

  2. Hi Jeanne, I noticed that you wrote that in the Spring 3 Certification exam there were a couple questions on Rest. That’s not in the training slides, is it? I thought you mentioned that questions were only about what was covered in the training. Can you confirm?
    Thanks in advance

  3. The basics of REST were in my training slides. You know, GET vs POST vs PUT and the URLs. I can confirm the questions were only about what was covered in training which means they didn’t ask obscure REST questions.

  4. I took the Spring 3 training in January 2012, and the only thing about Rest is a separate chapter at the very end of the student manual (after the slides where they tell you about the certification), which the trainer did not cover during the 4 day training, we only covered until the section with info about the certification.
    Was that the case for you? If it was, then I might need to also study those few sections (orm, jpa, ws and rest-ws)

  5. They seem to have re-ordred the student manual. For me there were only two chapters after the slides about the cert (Jpa and web services.)

    The chapters in the main part of the book were:

    • Intro
    • Spring intro
    • Container (4)
    • Testing
    • Aop
    • Data access
    • Jdbc
    • Txns
    • Orm
    • Hibernate
    • Web intro
    • Mvc
    • Rest
    • Security
    • Remoting
    • Jms
    • Jmx

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