Should I take the 1Z0-816 or 1Z0-817?

Oracle has several paths to certification. Those who hold older versions of the certification have choices of what to take. This post summarizes your options along with my opinion on which path you should choose and why. Also see What Does it Mean to be Java SE 11 Developer Certified.

Scroll down to the section that matches you:

  • No Java Certification or SCJP 5 or earlier
  • OCP 6, OCP 7 or OCP 8
  • OCA 7 or OCA 8
  • OCA 6
  • Passed the OCP 7 or 8 level exam, but not the OCA 7/8 level exam.

You currently hold: No Java Certification or SCJP 5 or earlier

Your Options:

My recommendation: No choices here

You currently hold: OCP 6, OCP 7 or OCP 8

Your Options:

My recommendation: I recommend the upgrade exam. There’s a good number of topics on the part 2 exam that aren’t on the upgrade exam. So your overall effort is lower for the upgrade exam.

In the past, the upgrade exam was harder than the part 2 exam because “all the easy questions that haven’t changed from past versions of Java” don’t appear on the upgrade. However, they don’t appear on the part 2 exam either. Now they appear on the part 1 exam. The three exams are more equal in difficulty now.

You do have to study modules more for the upgrade exam because the modules topics from both part 1 and part 2 appear on it. But getting to skip a number of other objectives makes this worth it if you seek to minimize your studying.

By contrast, you will miss some topics with the upgrade route. If you want to learn as much as possible, taking the part 1/part 2 route will advance that goal.

You currently hold: OCA 7 or OCA 8

Your Options:

My recommendation: By the same reasoning as the previous entry, taking just part 2 is the easiest route. However, you will miss some topics. Some you might want to take both exams to learn more and build your foundational knowledge.

You currently hold: OCA 6

Your Options:

My recommendation: The least expensive route is definitely to just take part 2. However, the OCA 6 was nothing like the OCA 7/8. It’s a really big jump to take just part 2 so I recommend taking both.

You currently: Passed the OCP 7 or 8 level exam, but not the OCA 7/8 level exam.

Your Options:

My recommendation:I recommend taking part 1 and the upgrade exam. Most of the topics that are “left out” of the upgrade exam were on the OCP 7 and OCP 8 so you’ve already got those covered.

What does it mean to be OCP Java SE 11 Developer Certified?

I wrote a similar blog post for the Java 8 OCP cert. There are different requirements for what you need to know in terms of which exam path you took in order to take the cert. This post summarizes the differences.

Also see Should I take 1Z0-816 or 1Z0-817

The three main paths

Oracle has several paths for one to become OCP Java 11 certified. The major ones are:

There are a few others paths like you took the OCP 8 and not the OCA 8. I’m not covering those paths as they are less common. (Officially OCA 8 was a pre-req for OCP 8. You can take the exams in either order, but most people went in the prescribed order.) If you took an “unusual” path, see Oracle’s list of options.

What one would expect

It seems reasonable to assume some things here.

  1. People taking the OCP 11 directly should be tested on the topics that entail being Java 11 certified.
  2. People taking the upgrade from OCP 6, 7 or 8 should be tested on just the topics that were added since they took the exam.
  3. People taking the exam after the OCA 7 or 8 are tested on OCP level knowlege.

These assumptions turn out to not match what Oracle actually did. The rest of this blog post describes the surprises.

Major topics people who are OCP 6 certified can avoid being that those starting a with Java 11 cert must know

  1. Annotations
  2. Concurrency (beyond threads)
  3. JDBC
  4. Secure Coding

My thoughts: This is a lot of topics to be able to skip! There’s probably a bunch of smaller things, but these four are plenty big in their own right!

Major topics people who are OCP 7 certified can avoid that those starting with a Java 11 cert must know

  1. Annotations
  2. Secure coding

My thoughts: Less than OCP 6.

Major topics people who are OCA 7/8 certified can avoid that those starting with a Java 11 cert must know

  1. Inner classes
  2. Final classes
  3. Enums
  4. Concurrency
  5. IO Fundamentals
  6. JDBC
  7. Annotations
  8. Assertions
  9. Wildcards with generics
  10. Details of Set/Map (although can be covered on 817 exam as least in passing)
  11. Secure coding
  12. Localization

My thoughts: This is a lot of topics. Including many important ones.


I like that Oracle isn’t covering topics on the upgrade exam that have been removed form the OCP 11. But there’s a lot of topics you can skate by without knowing if you take the upgrade exam with an older certification.

Jeanne’s experiences taking the 1Z0-817 exam

I took the Java 11 upgrade exam today. If you aren’t taking the updgrade exam, you can read my blog posts for part 1 of the OCP 11 certification (1Z0-815) and part 2 (1Z0-816).

Also see Should I take 1Z0-816 or 1Z0-817 and What Does it Mean to be Java SEE 11 Developer Certified.

I passed with 79%. Which is one point lower than my Part 2 score. You might be thinking this is low for a cert book author. Do keep in mind that I had to take the exam without a study guide :). I also got home late every night this week and was tired taking the exam. Since I was already OCP 11 certified form the 1Z0-816, I didn’t study any extra but instead went for the experience.

How I studied

  • Things I did when studying for the 1Z0-816 last week that are relevant for the upgrade exam:
    • read the relevant chapters from our OCP 8 book. (If you are studying, note this is chapters 3, 4, 6, 9)
    • did the official practice questions. (It would have been better if these were split between part 1 and part 2). There are only a few.
    • read chapters 9 and 10 from Manning’s Java Module System book (I was the Technical Development Editor on this book)
    • read the guide for the 1Z0–817 exam. (Different exam, but it was a perspective on the new topics)
    • I did some of the practice questions from our practice questions book
  • This week, I read Chapter 11 of our 1Z0-815 book. (It hasn’t published yet, but as the author of the book, I have early access)

My take on the exam

I found this exam to be easier than 1Z0-816. I think that was because it covered less topics. It took me about 75 minutes to get through all the questions on the first pass which was about the same as the other Java 11 exams.

How I would recommend studying

I still recommend waiting for a study guide to be out. It’s faster to study when you have more easily digestible material. That said, if you need to take this exam before our study guide is out, I recommend:

  1. Buy our OCP 8 book and read chapters 3, 4, 6 and 9.
  2. Read the guide for the 1Z0–817 exam.)
  3. Read chapters 1-5 and 9-10 from Manning’s Java Module System book. Note that Manning allows you to read 5 minutes a day for free. They also have micropurchases so you can just buy the one chapter. You start on the book page and click on the chapter you want to read. After 5 minutes, you are prompted to pay if you want to continue. You get 500 tokens for free.
  4. Do the official practice questions. There are only a few.
  5. Do the Enthuware tests fo more practice questions.