Oracle now offers online proctored exams

When signing up for a cert exam from Oracle (via PearsonVUE), you now get asked whether you want to take it “at a local test center” or “at my home or office.”

The online option sounded interesting so I clicked on it and went to the Online Proctored exam page. The gist is that if you can meet certain requirements, you can take the exam from home.

Computer requirements

Computer requirements are pretty standard. Any modern computer with Mac/Windows/Linux should be fine. Don’t take it over the corporate network though; it doesn’t play well with corporate firewalls.

Room requirements

The room requirements are where this falls apart for me. You have to be a walled room with a door. I live in New York City.; apartments are small. My apartment has two doors – one to get into the apartment and one for the bathroom. Everything else is one big room.

You also have to use your webcam to show that you aren’t in arm’s reach of books/notepads/post-its/papers/pens/pencils/etc. Additional monitors must be unplugged. Looking around, I have *a lot* of stuff within arms length. It would take a while to move things even if I had a room with a door.

Privacy

You have to be alone in the room. So prepare your family/roommates.

No Breaks

Ou are not allowed to take a bathroom break. I’ve never needed one during the exam. But it is three hours and some people do. In an exam center, you are allowed to go to the bathroom. It counts against your time, but you can go.

No writing

You aren’t allowed to write anything down. At the exam center, you can trace variables, write down questions to go back to etc. You have to return the paper at the end. Since this can’t be done at home, I understand why they can’t let you write anything down. However, I think it would be really hard to take a Java cert without writing anything down.

My thoughts

While I can’t do this, I think it is a good option for folks who have more space and/or live further away from a testing center. The not writing things down limitation would be hard though!

Upgrading from SCJP 5 (or earlier) to OCP 11

I got this question in a comment to a blog post and decided to answer in blog form.

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

Per the Oracle FAQ, you cannot use the 1Z0-817 upgrade exam to upgrade from an exam Java 5 or earlier straight to the OCP 11. If your goal is OCP 11, there are a few options on how to get there. Each comes with pros and cons.

Exam sequenceCerts obtainedBenefits of ApproachCons of Approach
1Z0-808 (OCA 8)
1Z0-816 (OCP 11 part 2)
OCA 8
OCP 11
– easier first exam– second exam will feel harder because missed part 1
1Z0-815 (OCP 11 part 1)
1Z0-816 (OCP 11 part 2)
OCP 11– traditional path
– exams go together
– requires taking OCP 11 exam sooner (before study materials are available; so far Enthuware is the only provider with Java 11 part 1 materials)
1Z0-808 (OCA 8)
1Z0-809 (OCP 8)
1Z)-817 (OCP 11 upgrade)
OCA 8
OCP 8
OCP 11
– get a professional level cert sooner– costs more
– have to take an extra exam
1ZO-813 (OCP 8 upgrade)
1Z0-817 (OCP 11 upgrade)
OCP 8
OCP 11
– get a professional level cert after first exam– the hardest option because upgrade exams tend to be the toughest and this approach has two

Jeanne’s experiences taking the 1Z0-815 exam

I wasn’t as fast as Scott who took the exam two months ago (the day after it came out). I waited until I was done with “FIRST robotics season” and a vacation before thinking about taking the first half of the new Oracle Certified Professional: Java 11 Developer certification. I passed today with an 87%.I’ll be taking the second half in a number of months.

Jeanne vs Scott’s exam

A lot changed since Scott took the exam. I think he got a lot of experimental/unscored questions. The exam was still harder than the OCA 8. But it wasn’t insanely hard like he got. Key differences:

  • Scott had a lot of “pick 3 or 8” type questions. About 75% of the questions I got were pick one out of four or five choices. I got exactly 4 questions with seven choices. One was “pick 3 or 7” and three were “pick 1 of 7”. I got about 6 questions with 6 answers. Two were “pick 2 of 6” and the others were “pick 1 of 6”. I got about 12 “choose 2 or 5” questions.
  • I got 7 questions on modules. Which is what you’d expect statistically. Scott had a lot more but I think that was because the topic was new and Oracle was testing questions.

What is still harder

  • Overall, it is longer than the OCA 8. It took me 75 minutes to get through all the questions on the first pass. Then I spent 50 minutes reviewing (and memorizing). During that phase, I fixed one incorrect answer and changed a correct answer to an incorrect answer so it was a wash.
  • The scope is larger than the OCA 8 and the questions go deeper. This makes sense as this is a professional level exam.

What else was interesting?

  • The instructions say press control to cross out answers. This didn’t work. (I had this problem before so it might be my exam center.) – update: this worked on part 2, so it was probably just the mouse at my testing center
  • The exam results are supposed to be available within 30 minutes. I didn’t bring my phone to the exam center. When I got home, the email with the results was from “30” minutes ago. It took me a little over half an hour from when I ended the exam until I go home so he results were available fast!

How I studied

Even though I’m the author a study book, I find I still need to review. More so for part 2 of the exam, but it still helps for part 1 seeing the details.

  • Read our OCA 8 book
  • Re-read the basic parts of Manning’s Module System book. I was the tech development editor for this book and also helped with some of the finishing touches.
  • Do all questions in our OCA 8 book and K&B’s 8 book.
  • Do about half the questions in our Practice exam book for OCA 8 and the mock exam. (I ran out of time to do them all. This was mainly about practicing speed and confidence anyway. I do know the material.)
  • Did the official practice questions. (It would have been better if these were split between part 1 and part 2)