My Experience taking the new Java SE 11 Programmer I 1Z0-815 Exam

One day after Oracle announced the new Oracle Certified Professional: Java 11 Developer certification, I decided to jump in and take the first of two exams! As an author of a best-selling Java certification series, how hard could it be I thought? In short… very! I did pass, but it was very different from what I imagined it would be.

Certification Changes

On the surface, the new Java 11 Programmer I (1Z0-815) and Java 11 Programmer II (1Z0-816) exams appear to be loosely based on the original OCA 8 (1Z0-808) and OCP 8 (1Z0-809) exams. I say loosely, because glancing at the objectives would lead you to believe they might be the same exams. They are decidedly not! More on that in a minute. One major change to the structure, though, is that the Oracle Certified Associate title no longer exists. Completing either exam does not grant you any certification title, and you must complete both Programmer I and Programmer II exams (in any order) to be an Oracle Certified Professional 11. There is also a single Java 11 OCP Upgrade (1Z0-817) exam for holders of a Java 6/7/8 OCP certification. Each of the three new exams are listed at $245 US. Unlike previous Java exams, there is no discounted beta exam, or beta exam of any kind, for the new Java SE 11 exams.

Neither Jeanne nor I have taken the Programmer II exam yet, so the rest of this post will be about my personal experience with the new Programmer I exam.

OCA 8 (1Z0-808) vs Java 11 Programmer I (1Z0-815): What’s the difference?

A LOT. I can’t emphasize this enough. The new Programmer I exam is significantly harder than the OCA 8 exam was. Questions are much more involved, much longer, and often require answering multi-part questions. For example, a question might have 8 answer choices and you need to select 3 completely independent answers. Process of elimination is crucial to finishing the exam. For example, in some cases it’s a lot easier to find the 5 choices that don’t compile than the 3 that do.

The new Java 11 Programmer I exam also includes a lot of topics that were previously only found on the OCP 8 exam. While you don’t need to know stand-alone topics like Concurrency, JDBC, and NIO.2 for this exam, you do need to know nearly everything there is to know about core Java topics like interfaces, generics, and Java operators. Jeanne and I noticed the new objectives appear to be a lot vaguer and broader than the previous objective set, meaning they can (and do) encompass a lot more than is explicitly listed in the objective titles. For example, == and equals() are no longer listed in the objectives, but don’t let that lull you into thinking for a second that you don’t need to know them to pass the exam!

Modules, modules, modules, Oh my!

The Java 11 Programmer I exam includes new topics like Project Jigsaw modules. Prior to taking the exam, I thought there going were only going to be a handful of questions on modules. Boy was I wrong! There were many questions on modules and the depth of them was honestly very surprising. You definitely need to memorize all module-related command line arguments to java/javac/jdeps/jmod, as well as knowing the long and short command-line flags. Just because modules is 1 of the 12 of the top-level exam objectives, don’t be fooled into thinking only 1/12 of the questions will be on modules! Understanding modules is vital to passing this exam!

OCA 8 (1Z0-808) vs Java 11 Programmer I (1Z0-815): What’s the same?

Excluding modules, the objectives are quite similar between the OCA 8 and Java 11 Programmer I exams, but that’s more likely to do more harm than good. Anyone going into this exam thinking this is just a Java 11 version of the OCA 8 exam will be in for a surprise.

So what is the Java 11 Programmer (1Z0-815) exam?

In a nutshell, it’s like they took the old OCA 8 exam, increased the difficulty of the questions by an order of magnitude until it was as hard as the old OCP 8 exam. Then, they updated the length of questions so that you had to answer 2-3 questions at once in a single question. Next, they greatly increased the depth of any topic on the previous exam. For example, previously you might have only needed to know 2-3 StringBuilder methods, whereas now you need to know nearly all of them. Finally, they filled the exam to the brim with Java module questions.

Of course, they also included other new Java 9/10/11 topics, like var and some string/array methods, but they pale in comparison with the changes in depth, difficultly, and new module topics.

“Can I use your OCA 8 book to study for the Java 11 Programmer I exam?”

As the sole source of preparation for the exam, definitely not. The OCA 8 exam was significantly easier and lighter than the new Java 11 Programmer I exam, and we wrote the questions and topics to match that particular exam. If you only study from our previous book, there is a good chance you might fail the exam.

That said, you could use our OCA 8 book, as well as the first half of our OCP 8 book as a starting points for studying for the new Java 11 Programmer I exam, but you will absolutely need to supplement it with education on the new topics, methods, and classes in Java 9/10/11, as well as in depth and hands on knowledge of modules. You should also expect the questions to be at least on the level of difficulty as the OCP exam.

“Hey Scott and Jeanne, is there a new Java 11 certification book coming?”

We get this question a lot, even before the objectives were announced. All I can say is, stay tuned for now!

96 thoughts on “My Experience taking the new Java SE 11 Programmer I 1Z0-815 Exam

  1. Hi Jeanne,
    Thank you for all your answers. You really clarified the matter!
    My question would be are you aware of any changes regarding if Oracle is planning to change the question types or concepts in the 1z0 808 OCA exam?

  2. Hi Jeanne, I wish to learn and take a certification in Java. However, I do not have any knowledge of Java since programming is not my background. Should i enroll in Java SE 11 exam which is much harder or it is best to take OCA java SE 8? Thanks!

  3. @John: It depends on your goals. If you want to improve your skills, take the OCP 11. If you want to get a cert as fast as possible take the OCA 8. It sounds like you are in the former category.

  4. Hi Jeanne,
    I have 1.5 years of experience in Java and not working since September 2019 due to pregnancy and child care.
    I am willing to resume to work again in June 2021.
    I want to utilize my time to get certified.
    Should I go for Java 8 or Java 11 certification.
    Please take a note that I am solely self learner without any guidance.
    Thank you!

  5. Hi Jeanne, I do not have any oracle certification. Is it possible to take OCA examination if I take JAVA SE 11 instead of JAVA SE 8 training?

  6. @Yan A training class isn’t required for either exam. I recommend taking the 1Z0-815 if you are studying Java 11. Just because it is more current. but you’d be fine on the 808. (OCA) if you want an easier exam. Just be sure to be aware of the more recent changes to the language. (Ex: you couldn’t use var in Java 8)

  7. @Bunny: Since you don’t have an urgent short term goal to get certified, I think it is better to take the Java 11 exam. You’ll learn more and it will be a more current exam. Also congrats on your little one!

  8. Thank you Jeanne and appreciate your taking the time to answer my question. I have one more question, is it possible to take OCP exam (1Z0-815) without taking OCA exam (808)?

  9. Hi Jeanne, I’m thinking about getting a Java Certification. But I don’t really understand the reason for 1Z0-815; it seems like it’s now possible to go from 808 (OCA) directly to 816. So why should I choose to make 815 (instead of 808) if I’m not gaining a certificate by passing the exam? Isn’t the 815-exam now obsolete?
    Thanks for clarifying.

  10. KK,
    The 808 is for Java 8. It will be discontinued before the 815 for Java 11. (No, Oracle hasn’t announced deprecation plans yet). So once the 808 is gone, this choice doesn’t exist anymore.

  11. It might be a little silly, but could you please explain how the exam goes? I mean, does it goes into the presence of the examiner or not (will there be questions from the examiner during the exam) or can I pass this exam sitting on a chair in my room all alone at home?
    Thank you very much for the answers)

  12. Hi Thanks for the sharing your experience on the java 11 programmer 1 exam.

    I went and wrote the exam 21 Feb and pass, i must say as someone who is only having 3years working experience and havent attempted any certification from oracle. it was a bit challanging. but i managed to pass the exam. need information with regarding preparation for 1z0-816 now

  13. I am Software Engineer, i have little bit experience in JAVA, is this possible to pass exam 1Z0-815 within 3 months, I dnt know the direction should i prepare myself or join coaching..

  14. Hello Jeanne,

    I just bought your book. I know this isn’t the right place to comment, but I couldn’t find any contacts. I had an issue with the online test bank.
    I registered successfully. I got an mail with a link and an access code. Unfortunately the link isn’t working. I tried to call but without success. That’s why I’m writing you here maybe you could help me resolve this issue!

  15. Hello Jeanne, I just started learning Java and was planning on taking the Java 8 OCA exam. so should i stick to the plan and do the 8 version or should i expand my learning horizon and go for the 11 version ? Also note that the training that i am doing is on the latest version and yet to see the modules though 🙂 . I am sure i can include that in the learning topics. .

  16. I can’t seem to find how long the certification is valid for. I have not taken the exam, yet, but I would like to know that I can hold this cert for at least the next 3-5 years.

  17. Omari: The certification does not expire. At some point it sounds old though. For example, when Java 33 comes out, you might not want to brag about your Java 11 cert :).

  18. At this moment the certification is for Java 11. Is there an estimate or can we roughly estimate when there will be a new certification release? for example for Java 14 or maybe Java 15 when it arrives in September? I didn’t find any official information on this topic so a rough estimate will do just fine 🙂

  19. @Emil: I don’t work for Oracle, but I would expect it for Java 17. Oracle skipped certs for Java 9 and 10 and jumped straight to the next LTS release (Java 11). So it seems reasonable they will do the same and go to Java 17 for the next cert. Also, the exam comes out a good bit after Java itself does.

  20. Hi Jeanne, Hope doing good..
    I am new to Java and don’t have prior professional experience in Java. I thought of giving Oracle Certification 8 but , now Java 11 is on trend. So, Can I still give java 8 or can I proceed with java 11. Please clarify my doubt. Thanks in Advance.

  21. Hi Jenne!!
    I would like to know whether OCA Java 8 exam includes topic like NIO, Networking, Awt, swing, Concurrency, Event Handling, all the java.util ??

  22. Hello Jeanne,

    I’ve been waiting for your book Study Guide: Exam 1Z0-816 to prepare for this certification and I’m a little confused regarding the release date and some info.

    For example on some websites I’ve seen two editions: 1 edition (July 8, 2020), 2 edition (2 Sept. 2020), is there any difference between these two editions? Because the books form the picture are the same. Also the dates are final from now? Thank you!

  23. @Tudor: I’m not positive about the two dates, but I *think* one is for the standalone 1Z0-816 and other for the “complete study guide” (which is the 815 and 816 packaged together). The big difference is that the complete study guide will fix all known errata from the 815.

    We are editing PDFs now, so I think those dates are good! The July one represents a one month delay due to the current events.

  24. Good day Jeanne
    um going to write 815 and 816 , i am so scared can i prepare myself with 808 and 809 materials for this upcoming one’?

    thank you

  25. I have made my decision to take 808. Can you please give me which books should i refer (p.s I believe you are giving genuine answers here). Also if there are few mocks which i should give before the test. I have 1 year experience working in java.

  26. Hi Jeanne,
    I want to take a ocp java11 exam and I have less than 1 year experience in java.
    what do you think 1 year is enough for preparation ?
    have a nice day

  27. I have a Java 11 Learning Subscription and I’m a little bit confused,cause there are courses related to Java 9,10 and 11.
    But beside what I learned via these courses, there are other topics from Java 8 book that I think I should re-read again,because they are mentioned on this page as Exam topics: https://education.oracle.com/en/java-se-11-programmer-i/pexam_1Z0-817
    I don’t really understand why Java 8 certified developers will be re-tested on some Java 8 topics?!

  28. @Josh people taking the upgrade exam don’t necessarily hold the Java 8 cert. They could hold the 7 cert.

    It’s actually a blessing in disguise that those Java 8 topics are on there. Otherwise, you’d have more questions on modules.

  29. Now I’m even more confused:)
    It would be “tragic” if a Java 7 developer could become a Java 11 developer,without having the Java 8 certificate,cause Java 8 OCP exam it’s really hard.In fact, that Java 11 cert will mean almost nothing for that person,cause there are much more topics to learn for a Java 8 cert.

  30. Hi thanks for your info 🙂
    i wanted to ask how many questions have the exam?
    I want to take java 11 Programming 1 .

  31. I failed in 1z0-815. Main reason is Questions are long and i have to scroll the small monitor they give in Person Vue. Oracle people are morons. I should take the exam in my place next time.

    When they divide the exam like into two parts , they should have made pass % 50% for Part I.

    Part II should be harder.

    Now i failed i dont want to waste any money on this anymore until i can take one exam only. People should boycott two part exam. 330cad*2 and in my case it would be 330*4

    This sucks.

    Questions are not easy at all. I did score 50%. hahaha. But 10 question i did not get time and probably failed on all long questions.

  32. Last Friday I’ve passed the 1zo-817 exam with 74%.I’m quite satisfied cause I don’t really like to spend 2 months of summer with continous learning:) There was a very strange question about which method can be used as functional interface, and they give me 5 options, had to check 2 of them but only one had 1 single abstract method,the rest of the interfaces had: 1 default method,1 static method,default and static,one abstract method and “public boolean equals(Object obj)”.I spent about 5 minutes with this question,checked everything but still had no clue which was the 2nd good answer.

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