Taking the 1Z0-819 Exam: Study Everything and Watch the Clock! (Part 1 of 2)

As we announced back in August, Oracle has abruptly retired the previous 1Z0-815/1Z0-816 Java certification exams and replaced them with a new, single 1Z0-819 exam for becoming a Java 11 Oracle Certified Professional. Having worked with Oracle directly in writing the new exam objectives, we were confident our new Java 11 Books (Programmer I, Programmer II, and combined Complete Study Guide) were excellent in preparing for the new 1Z0-819 exam but had to wait until this past month to confirm. Jeanne recently described her experience taking the 1Z0-819 exam, and now it’s my turn!

TLDR: Yes, our Java 11 books are perfect for the new 1Z0-819 exam! I scored an 87% myself, although I was focused more on studying the exam than passing it. Read on if you plan to take the new 1Z0-819 exam!

Scott’s Experience Taking the 1Z0-819 Exam

Overall, I found the 1Z0-819 exam exactly as described, a combined version of the previous 1Z0-815/1Z0-816 exams (which Oracle has since removed entirely from their website). There’s 3 aspects, though, that make the 1Z0-819 exam far more difficult than the 2 exams it replaces:

  • Scope of Material
  • Time Limit and Question Structure
  • Number of Questions

1. Scope of Material

The scope of the exam is something to behold in and of itself. The material between the old 1Z0-815/1Z0-816 exams and the 1Z0-819 exam is nearly identical (more on that in Part 2), which means you have to study double the material for a single exam. The sheer range of questions, from annotations to JDBC, from security to switch statements to operator overloading, is mind-boggling.

I found the 1Z0-816 exam to be significantly less difficult, as it was relatively easy to discern what a question was asking for. For example, a question that used an ExecutorService was clearly about concurrency. On the new exam, though, a question that appears to be about a repeatable annotation might actually be about functional interfaces or static initializers. The questions overlap in scope far more than they did any of the previous Java 11 exams.

2. Time Limit and Question Structure

While the 1Z0-815/1Z0-816 exams had an absurdly long 3 hours, the new 1Z0-819 exam is 50 questions in 90 minutes, giving you less than 2 minutes per question. While I didn’t find the time limit on the old exams constraining in the least, the new structure of the questions resulted in me finishing with less than 5 minutes to spare! I barely had time to go back and review the questions that I had marked.

By new structure, I mean the 1Z0-819 questions were a lot longer with more answer choices than the previous exams. As already mentioned, the scope of the questions was much broader as well. The result is that I frequently had to read 3-4 classes/interfaces quickly, understand them, and then pick two answer choices among seven or eight answers.

This brings my first two tips for anyone taking the new exam! Watch the clock and Read the answers before reading the question. Watching the clock is not a new idea but is far more important on the 1Z0-819 exam, as opposed to the previous exams where I could leisurely read them and finish with 45+ minutes to spare. You absolutely have to pace yourself and if you’re taking too long, skip the question. If I hadn’t been carefully watching the clock, I’m sure I would not have finished on time.

As far as reading the answers before the questions… as described some questions contained 3+ classes. I simply did not have time to read all of the code, fully understand it, and then read the 5+ answer choices. For example, if a question specifically says “Which line or lines do not compile?”, then start reading the answer choices and see if any of them stick out as obvious compiler errors. Working backwards is not my favorite test-taking strategy, but if you want to finish on time you need to for some of the longer questions.

3. Number of Questions

Because the 1Z0-819 exam asks in 50 questions what previously would have been asked in 160 questions, you are only likely to get 1-2 questions on a particular topic. Put simply, randomness plays a big part on this exam (but in a way that is fair).

After reading reviews from other test-takers and my co-author Jeanne, it is clear that we did not get the same questions. For example, while I only received one question on JDBC, the question was nothing like type of questions others received. This means that the exam is actually well distributed on topics, with a lot of different (but similar) questions.

If someone tells you they didn’t receive a question on a particular topic, that does not mean you do not need to study it! I cannot emphasize this enough! The broad nature of the exam and short number of 50 questions, means questions you receive on the 1Z0-819 will be very different from anyone else who takes the exam.

Jeanne and I actually think this is a very fair approach. You have to know the material well and the exam is free to ask any question about the material. It also means if people try to cheat by studying so-called brain dumps, then they are likely to confuse the question with a similar one and answer it incorrectly.

To be continued in Part 2!