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.

How many questions are on the Java 11 certification exam?

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.

Here’s where things stand for the Java 11 exams.

Exam1Z0-8191Z0-817 (upgrade)
# questions5080
exam duration1.5 hours3 hours
passing score68%61%

Notice you have a little more time per questions on the upgrade exam. However, the passing score is higher.

As a point of reference, the 1Z0-819 is replacing the 1Z0-815 and 1Z0-816 exams which had also had 180 minutes to answer 80 questions and a passing score of 63%.

Remember that you can use our Java 11 Combined Study Guide to study for either the 817 or 819 exams. You can also buy the part 1 and part 2 separately which are the same content