Scott and I both took the OCP (Oracle Certified Professional) Java 8 Programmer II beta exam this week.
(edit: I’m now OCP certified with an 88%)
We both had 106 questions. It was a three hour exam. I needed two hours for my first pass of the questions. I marked about 25 questions for review and used the remaining time for those. The nice thing about a beta is that you get lots of questions. Sometimes one question gives a clue for another question. For example (not on the exam), maybe you aren’t sure if a method is called set() or put(). Then you get to a question that uses put() and doesn’t have “does not compile” as a choice. Perfect. Now you know something.
As always, you can review questions you’ve marked or all questions in order. The only way to go to a specific question is if you’ve marked it for review. Otherwise you could potentially be clicking next scores of times. I tend to click a lot for review so this isn’t a problem.
Scott and I took the test at different testing centers. We were both given a locker for our personal belongings. I’ve been to a few testing centers and never seen that before. I like being able to have the key to the locker with my belongings!
We also both got one 8.5 x 11 erasable page with a felt tip erasable marker and an eraser. I like getting more than that. I found myself erasing a lot to make space. It’s really important to figure out how to make the best use of your space on the page. I use one column for questions I want to go back to and the topic (so I can look for answers hidden in other questions or think of it later.) I use another column for “facts.” They may be things I’m reminded of during the exam. Often there are things I write down the second the exam starts. That way I don’t have to keep it memorized. For the stuff that’s hard for me to remember. And I use the bottom for actually solving problems. Like drawing what is in variables.
The testing center I went to also gave me earplugs. First time I’ve ever been handed earplugs. The irony was that it wasn’t loud! When I went to the loud testing center, I didn’t get earplugs!
For the new topics, see my blog post on the upgrade exam beta. There are a few new objectives in this beta that weren’t in the upgrade exam beta like @Override. Also, some objectives changed scope since the Java 7 exam. Which you can see from the objectives. But there’s nothing like taking the test to make that sink it. I reviewed largely from draft chapters of our upcoming OCP 8 book.
I’ve blogged a couple times about poor customer service (Verizon/Time Warner.) I had two nice experiences with customer service today.
I had booked a flight on Southwest Airlines for a trip and the date of the trip changed. Southwest has a policy that you can change your flight without penalty – and just pay any increase in fare. I had paid $25 for Early Boarding roundtrip. I assumed this was tied to the flight and I’d have to pay again when I changed the flight.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had the same confirmation # for the new flight and the Early Boarding remained intact.
MicroCenter has a “ordered online; pick up in store” option. This is nice because you don’t waste a trip to the store only to find out they are out of something. I ordered a “kit” that consisted of two pieces. The kit sold for $8. I got an email from the manager that the inventory system was wrong and they couldn’t locate the kit. However, equivalents existed to the two pieces in the kit. One for $3 and one for $15. He said I they would honor the price of the kit and sell it to me for $8. Half price!
Yesterday, I gave a presentation to about 30 teenagers about the upcoming FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) transition from Robot-C to Java. I agreed to do it a week ago while on vacation. This meant I didn’t have any weekend days to actually write up the deck. I wound up doing it the night before. The concepts were fine, but I figured I’d have at least one mistake in the deck.
I proofread the deck in the morning and corrected some errors. But I still felt rushed and like I missed something. I wound up announcing at the beginning that I had two prizes for the first two students who found an error in the presentation. One kid did. (I had a redundant keyword in a method. It wasn’t wrong per se, in that the program still worked. It was non-standard and not what I wanted to show.) This student got a FIRST flashlight in exchange for his finding. Nobody else found an error.
I liked this technique, because I was that kid who saw errors when I was younger (and still do). I was left wondering what I should do with the info. Does the presenter want to know? Should I keep quiet? Will the presentation be given again? By stating that I wanted it brought up early on, there was no doubt. I think it also helped foster a culture of other questions during my presentation because I made it known that I wanted the audience to speak up when a doubt crossed their mind.
I’ve rarely use this technique at Toastmasters because most presentations are shorter and questions aren’t welcome. And when I’m giving a workshop for adults, I feel like they will speak up as needed. It went well though and I’m thinking I might try the “prize” idea again with adults in the future.
Last week, I met the CEO of Communication for Geeks at the NY SPIN where we were both giving 10 minute talks. While none of the above is specific to geeks, it is a nice coincidence that I had an interesting “communication” experience shortly thereafter.
Another interesting thing that happened was that this is the first time I spoke with an ASL interpreter. I only noticed two differences:
- The interpreter wanted to see the deck in advance to prepare. (Luckily she only wanted to see it 10 minutes before and not days in advance!)
- For the first few minutes, I was worried about talking too fast. I often speak faster than I should when presenting and was worried if I was going to fast for her. The answer was that I wasn’t. I quickly forgot about it. When asking afterwards, she said the pace was fine. I’m impressed with her buffering because she was always a few words (or more) behind where I was! Luckily, I do pause when speaking so there was time to catch up.