I’m not willing to take the exam online so I signed up at a local testing center. I took this exam at a different center than where I took the AWS one since it wasn’t offered there. This exam center is a short bus ride away. (The AWS one was walking distance.) Overall, I think this center handled it better. They have more space so I was naturally further away from other people. I was also given hand sanitizer immediately on entry.
I was asked to take off my mask twice (once to verify I match my id and once to take a photo). That seems like it could have been combined.
I haven’t been offered pencil/paper at an Oracle exam in years. This was the first time I wasn’t given an eraser for the erasable board. The proctor did come by towards the middle to see if I needed a second one though. (I did not).
Getting the score
I received my score immediately on completing the exam. It appeared right when I clicked finish. I was then given a printout saying “Your exam results are not available at this time… 30 minutes”. It looks like they are transitioning how it works. I’m happy to get a real time score again though! It’s been a while. (My score was 72%. That’s just barely passing. But that’s a story for another blog post)
You get 90 minutes to answer 50 questions. I can easily imagine someone running out to time on the exam. I finished going through a first pass of all the questions with 30 minutes left. However, I essentially skipped two (aka I guessed.) They weren’t hard – about control/flow. But they were time consuming. And I wanted to use the remaining time to go through the questions again to make sure I could say that our Complete Study Guide prepares you for the 819 exam. And it does.
Test taking skills are definitely important on this exam. For example, I looked at the answers before reading questions with a bunch of code. This gave me a clue what to look for. And also told me that I could read faster if there was “do not compile” option.
When taking an exam, you have to agree not to share what was on it. So no details about what was covered. Sharing the distribution of questions by objective is fair game though!
|Working with Java Data Types||About 5|
|Controlling Program Flow||3|
|Java Object-Oriented Approach||10-15|
|Working with Arrays and Collections||About 4|
|Working with Streams and Lambda Expressions||10|
|Java Platform Module System||4|
|Java I/O API||3|
|Secure Coding in Java SE Application||2|
|Database Applications with JDBC||1|
(The counts don’t add up to 50 because a few questions covered multiple objectives for the early objectives)
815 vs 816 topics
Our books are labeled with 815 and 816. On the 819, it was split almost evenly. However, the difficulty of questions was uniform. It was just the topics that got distributed.
Where the topics what expected?
Almost. Enthuware wrote that doPrivileged was on the exam. We had used the Secure Coding Guide when writing our security chapter. Oracle updated the guide since the 816 came out. They also revised the exam. The word “privileged” was not in the objectives for the 816!
Should I take the 817 or 819?
Those who hold a Java 6, 7 or 8 certification are eligible for their choice of the 817 or 819 exams. They cost the same. The 819 allows half the time, but has a little over half the questions. So you have less time per question on the 819. Additionally, the 817 passing score cutoff is a bit lower.
While the 817 has a lot on modules (3/10 objectives), there are a lot of topics on the 819 not on the 817 (concurrency, secure coding, JDBC, localization, and annotations). Combined with the longer time for the 817, you are likely to find it an easier exam.
An important disclaimer about randomness
With only 50 questions, randomness is a bigger factor. This means you could easily not see questions on a topic. Or get more than someone else on another topic. Be careful as you read the experiences of people who have taken the exam. Just because they didn’t get a question on X doesn’t mean that you won’t! So you don’t get to skip studying topics.