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!

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

  1. Hi, Scott, really thank you for this post! Initially, I wanted to take 1Z0-816, as I have OCA Java 8. But after reading this post, I changed my mind, and decided to start from the first exam 1Z0-815. Anyway, it is always good to refresh my Java knowledge, because my OCA exam was in 2016.

  2. Congratulations, Scott!

    Like Yuri said, I wanted to go forward with this exam, but I decided to put it a little bit on hold after your post.

    What advice do you have for those that want to sign-up for this certification in the near future. What extra material do you recommend we study along with your OCA 8 book(and the first half of OCP) in order to pass the exam?

    Many thanks!

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  4. I’m not Scott, but I would recommend taking the OCA and OCP 8. It’s *really* hard to study for a cert exam without a study guide. And writing a study guide is hard because there is so much information to discern. If you really want to do this, you are probably going to need read the Java specification in detail, write code, create modules, figure out what tricks are likely to be on the exam and hope for the best.

  5. Thanks you for the post, Scott. I was close to take the OCA exam when I discovered these news about the new exams 1Z0-815 and 1Z0-816 and your post was very helpful for me. I’m gonna keep studying with your recommendations in mind and I’ll be looking forward news about Java 11 certification book.

  6. Wow! Jeanne Boyarsky! 😀

    Thank you for taking from your precious time to reply and for some great advice. I think that it could take a while before both study guides will be published. This time can be put to good use for Java 8.

    I’ll go with certs for Java 8 and will do an upgrade when the time is right for 11.

    Many thanks again for the advice and looking forward for the Java 11 books 🙂


  7. Thanks for the blog-post, its very informative.
    I recently cleared OCA 1Z0-808 and want to appear for OCP 1Z0-816 and looking for study material and test series. Please suggest if any.

  8. Announcement of Java 11 after so many long years is definitely a big plus for the Java community. And sharing your experiences on OCP Java 11 is very much useful. As pointed out rightly by Jeanne, one book is not sufficient to prepare for the exam right now and Java had outgrown vast. Ideal choice is books, practice, practice and practice…

  9. Hi Scott! Thank you for taking some of your time writing this neat review about the 1Z0-815 exam! I was in the process of getting my certification for Java 8 1Z0-808 in the next coming months. Since this new exam just came out, would you recommend sticking to getting my 1Z0-808 and then upgrading or just jump in to the new 1Z0-815?

  10. We have a draft schedule with the book publisher. I think that date is a worst case scenario. But realistic would only be a few months earlier. Note that the OCP 11 Part 1 is significantly different than the OCA 8. So there’s a lot of rewriting we are doing. Which means if you are looking to take a cert, you should take the Java 8 cert now rather than wait!

  11. Hello,
    My intention is to get my first Java certification, should I invest on Java 11 or It’s better and safer for now try the Java 8?

  12. hey.. i read somwhere on the internet that Earlier you would get an Oracle Certified Associate Certification if you passed the OCAJP 8 exam but now you will not get any certification if you pass just the OCPJP-I (1Z0-815) exam. You will have to take the second exam i.e. the OCPJP-II (1Z0-816) exam as well and then you will get just the one “Oracle Certified Professional Java SE 11 Developer” certification.

    can anyone please confirm that

  13. Thank you so much Jeanne Boyarsky. Not only for your informative reply but also for the wow factor. I purchased both of your books OCA/P SE8 and I have been studing from them. Top Quality. I find it an extention of your service to discover this post.

    I have been wondering wether to take the SE11 over SE8 exam route. I recently registered for OCA8 exam. After reading up on the updated SE11 exam I was confused. Why I would need to write the OCA8, Why not SE11?. From research the only differences seems to be the certification process and that SE11 is harder. That it includes modules and lots of it and some topics aren’t covered eg. date/time. That the questioning is more indepth including question chaining. That said after reading your comments I will pursue my initial SE8 exam as I have been preparing and don’t want to corrupt that flow.

    Thank you for your educated response.

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  15. Scott, thank you for this post. I already have OCP 8. I want to do the upgrade to 11. Can’t wait for your books on OCP11, I am staying tuned 🙂

  16. I’m confused about OCA. I know that now you do not get any OCA certification for Java 11, despite having to pass exam the associate level exam 1Z0-815 along with 1Z0-816 in order to get the OCP certification for Java 11. But what about Java 8? Will I be granted an OCA certification if I pass the OCA exam for Java 8 or does it now only serve as a path to OCP for Java 8?

  17. @Johnny: Good question. The OCA 8 can be used as a pre-req for the OCP 8 or the OCP 11 part 2. Spoiler: the OCP 8 is easier. If you take the OCA 8, you get the OCA 8 cert. If you take the OCA 8 + OCP 8, you get the OCP 8 cert. If you take the OCA 8 + OCP 11 part 2, you get the OCP 11 cert cert.

    Hope that helps!

  18. Thanks for sharing your experience. I was preparing for OCA 808 exam. But at the time of booking slot for 808. I came to know that Oracle released new certification Java SE 11 programmer 1 and 2 815 and 816. I decided to go for the recent one so rescheduled the exam a week later. I was thinking just read the new features of Java 11 and it will be sufficient to pass the exam. But I read Scott’s comments and experience. Hence gone through the Java modules thoroughly. I appeared the exam today and able to passed the exam, feeling so happy. It was a tough exam. Even oops questions were
    hard. Thanks a lot Scott for sharing your experience It helped a lot.

  19. Hello ,
    I have OCA 7, If i wanted to get OCP 11 cert, Do I only need to take OCP 11 part 2?

    Also Enthuware already published OCP 11 part 1 questions, Did you checked on that? how good are those?

  20. hello jeanne and scott, when will your book for OCP Java 11 coming out?

    i am an OCAJP 7 certified and wants to take OCP Java 11 Programmer II (1Z0-816).


  21. @Orgil: Yes, you can take the OCP 11 part 2 directly from the OCA 7. (It’s a hard path, but you can.) Enthuware typically has good questions although I haven’t looked at the OCP 11 ones.

  22. Hi Jeanne,

    I have SCJP Java 5 from 2005, now preparing to 1Z0–813 using your book
    My goal is to get Java 11 cert eventually

    Thinking about best path now. What is your opinion, if I take 1Z0–813 and then 1Z0-816 is this the easiest way?

    Also I did not get if I can try 1Z0-815 right away, i.e. is it possible to upgrade directly from java 5 to java 11? Or in my case I have to take Java 8 in anyway?

  23. Thanks Jeanne.

    Is the Java 11 training in Oracle website a good one?

    There is Core Java Learning and Java SE: Programmer I and II.

  24. Hey Scott can u share ur exam question paper with us please for the preparation

  25. Hi Jeanne thanks so much for your comments. i hv read almost all of them and i seem to get the node that I can go ahead writing oca and ocp 8 seeing the version 11 is still fresh and not many guides etc. I hv prepared for my oca 8 using your book and writing exams in july after which i intend to write ocp 8 by around september. Thanks for your valuable insight as i was now panicking that i am probaly wasting time studying version 8.

  26. It sounds hard..but it would be harder without a book from you guys! I’ll stay tuned for now 🙂

  27. Hi Jeanne,
    I am currently preparing for my OCA SE 8 certification exam.
    I read somewhere, that getting certified on any version of the Java certification would mean that one is certified for life. And upgrading to a newer certification exam is only for knowing what changed and what did not.
    So once Java SE 8 exams have retired, does it mean that having an OCA JAVA SE 8 certification will still have value?


  28. Hi Jeanne,
    I am really confused whether I should apply for Java SE 11 or Java SE 8.

    I have started my preparations for the exam for the past 2 months. I am referring a study guide for SE 11 and have also purchased Enthuware Mock exams but after reading the above post I am confused whether I should opt for SE 8 or SE 11.

    Can you please guide me regarding the same and what are the main topics that I should focus on for my SE 11 preparation.


  29. @Zohra: I can’t speak to the study guide of another. But ours comes out this month :). So I’m starting to recommend the Java 11 cert now that materials are available.

  30. Hi Sir/Mam,
    I’m confused whether to prepare for OCA 8 or OCP 11. I have your book for OCA 8, as your book for OCP 11 is out now but I am not able to buy it due to my financial conditions, if you can provide support please help me.

    And also clear me out whether to study for which certification 8 or 11. I’m in big problem right now, please help me out.

    How much time is needed to prepare for each certification and get certified?

  31. If you have the OCA 8 book, take the OCA 8 exam. Both the OCA A and 815 can be used as the pre-req so this isn’t locking you in. You can choose whether you want to take the OCP 8 or OCP 11 (part 2) after you pass the OCA 8.

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