ocp java 8 programmer II beta

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!

Study materials

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.




good customer service – two examples

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!

handling mistakes in presenting

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:

  1. 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!)
  2. 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.