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

Update (11/05/2020): Read The 1Z0-819 Exam page to learn how you can easily our Java 11 Study Guides to prepare for Oracle’s 1Z0-819 Exam, as well as the 1Z0-817 Upgrade Exam.

In Part 1 of my experience taking the 1Z0-819 exam, I described my overall experience taking the new Java 11 Oracle Certified Professional exam. In Part 2, I’ll go into more detail about some of the finer points for those planning to take this new exam using our Programmer I or Programmer II books, or the combined Complete Study Guide.

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!

1. Differences in Material between the Old and New Exams

By comparing the 1Z0-815/1Z0-816 and 1Z0-819 exam objectives, you might be inclined to think the material is radically different, but really isn’t. For most of the objectives, Oracle just took 2-3 objectives and rewrote the sentences to form a single objective. This is from someone who spent hours studying every word of all sets of objectives! See, not so scary is it?

That said, there are some differences between the 1Z0-815/1Z0-816 exams and the 1Z0-819 exam that you should be familiar with. Jeanne and I will be posting an addendum page on this blog for the people who purchase our Java 11 books to ensure they are properly prepared. For now, though, these are the important differences:

  • Assertions are gone! This is just since most Java developers tend to use JUnit rather than the built-in assert keyword. When you get to this section in our books, feel free to skip it and have a snack!
  • CallableStatement are also gone! Jeanne and I were never thrilled this was on the exam as the usage can dependent very much on the database. You can skip this section too and have a drink with your snack!
  • Oracle added the word privileged to the security objective and this results in the doPrivileged() method now being in scope. For these questions, you need to read Section 9 of the Oracle Secure Coding Guidelines for Java SE. Some people reported seeing doPrivileged() on the 1Z0-816 exam, though, so it’s possible Oracle updated the 1Z0-816 exam more recently with this topic.

2. Studying for the 1Z0-819 Exam using our Books

Since the changes between the old and new exams are minimal, we still strongly recommend our Java 11 books to study for the new 1Z0-819. Since we were part of the team that helped design the objectives for the new 1Z0-819 exam, we were careful to keep the amount of new material to an absolute minimum. After taking the new exam, we are confident they can be used to successfully prepare for an pass the 1Z0-819 exam.

Now you may be asking, which of our books should you use? We recommend one of the following two options:

Before you rush to buy the Java 11 Complete Study Guide (since it’s one book instead of two), be aware that the physical edition is 1200+ pages long! And, the other two books contain the same material. In other words, if you plan to carry the book around on a train or bus, I recommend buying the first two books over the Complete Study Guide. Although if you’re going with the eBook edition, then go with whatever is cheaper!

3. Coming Soon: 1Z0-819 Practice Test Book

Jeanne and I recently finished the manuscript for our new Java 11 Practice Test book. This book has been updated and custom fit for the new 1Z0-819 exam. It is scheduled be released at the end of the year or early 2021.

4. Missing Strikethrough Exam Software Feature

On previous exams, you could right-click on an answer choice and it would cause it to strikethrough. This was extremely helpful for process of elimination and especially now that some questions have up to 10 answer questions! Unfortunately, this feature was not available when we took the exam. It’s not clear if this was a bug or Oracle has since pulled the feature, but I hope they bring it back. I had to actually write ABCDEFGHIJ on my scratch pad for some questions and cross them out one by one! Especially difficult when you can’t erase on the whiteboard they give you.

5. 1Z0-819 Exam vs 1Z0-817 Upgrade Exam: Scott’s Recommendation

If you hold a previous Oracle Certified Professional (not Associate) title, then you can still take the Java 11 1Z0-817 Upgrade Exam rather than the Java 11 1Z0-819 Exam. At this time, Oracle does not have any plans to retire the Upgrade exam.

My recommendation is given the choice between the two exams, I’d rather take the 1Z0-817 Upgrade exam. First off, the material is narrower in scope. Very few of the topics from from the previous 1Z0-815 exam appear and many of the topics from the 1Z0-816 exam (annotations, JDBC, security) are gone as well. In other words, you only have to study a dozen chapters from our Programmer II book, along with the Upgrade Appendix we included in the book, rather than potentially all of the chapters in the Complete Study Guide.

While the 1Z0-817 upgrade exam has more questions than the 1Z0-819 exam, you have 3 hours. Since I found the questions on the 1Z0-817 exam to be often shorter with fewer answer choices than the questions on the 1Z0-819, I feel you have a lot more time to think on the upgrade exam. I was not remotely worried about running out of time when I took the 1Z0-817 upgrade exam.

The only downside to taking the 1Z0-817 upgrade exam is that it contains a lot of questions on modules. In fact, 3 out of 10 of the objective sets are modules on the 1Z0-817 exam! It is fair to say modules did not feature nearly as prominently on the 1Z0-819 exam, so if you don’t like modules than the 1Z0-819 might be a better fit for you.

6. Exam Center Process

I opted to take the exam in-person after hearing some scary stories about at-home software tracking your eye movement and what not. Below are my comments from taking it in the time of COVID:

  • Temperature check and handwash station as soon as I walked in the door. The testing center I was at had a thermometer mounted to the wall I had to stand in front of.
  • Had to keep my mask on the entire time, except when I was signing in and they wanted to check my ID and take my picture.
  • To my surprise, there were 3 other people taking tests too, we were placed on opposite corners of the room.
  • I received my score as soon as I clicked “Finish” to end the exam. It was shown on the screen.
  • The test center handed me “Score Report” which had nothing on it except instructions to go online. My score was not printed.

Conclusion

So, that’s my personal experience taking the new Java 11 1Z0-819 exam. At the end of the day, I’m actually happy Oracle dropped the two exam requirement for the certification. After all, it cuts the price for certification in half! I just wish they had started with this approach, rather than retiring the 1Z0-815/1Z0-816 merely a year after they were released. Their roll of out the new exam was hastily done to say the least.

Jeanne and I have heard from numerous readers that this has thrown their study plans into complete disarray. To those readers, I completely empathize. Just imagine how it’s impacted two authors who’ve devoted a significant amount of time in their lives to creating study material for the Java 11 exams. It’s been quite a ride, but happily our Java 11 books are still the best source of material for studying for the exam!

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

Update (11/05/2020): Read The 1Z0-819 Exam page to learn how you can easily our Java 11 Study Guides to prepare for Oracle’s 1Z0-819 Exam, as well as the 1Z0-817 Upgrade Exam.

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!

Jeanne’s experience taking the 1Z0-819 in the time of COVID-19

Update (11/05/2020): Read The 1Z0-819 Exam page to learn how you can easily our Java 11 Study Guides to prepare for Oracle’s 1Z0-819 Exam, as well as the 1Z0-817 Upgrade Exam.

I took the 1Z0-819 exam today. I guess that makes me “triple qualified” having already passed the 1Z0-817 upgrade exam and the 1Z0-815/1Z0-816. I took the AWS Associate Architect exam two weeks ago.

COVID-19 logistics

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.

Writing instruments

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)

Exam timing

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.

Question Distribution

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!

Objective# Questions
Working with Java Data TypesAbout 5
Controlling Program Flow3
Java Object-Oriented Approach10-15
Exception Handling4
Working with Arrays and CollectionsAbout 4
Working with Streams and Lambda Expressions10
Java Platform Module System4
Concurrency2
Java I/O API3
Secure Coding in Java SE Application2
Database Applications with JDBC1
Localization1
Annotations1

(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.

And 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.