speaking at the java sig “hello java” group

I spoke at the “Hello Java” workgroup meeting of the NY Java SIG this week. The topic was an overview of the Java certification – how to get started, how to study, etc. While the focus was the Java OCA/OCP certifications, much of the material applies to any exam. You can view the deck on slideshare.

There were two challenges:

  1. There were about 30 attendees at varying levels of Java knowledge – from people who were very new to Java to those who already held the certification. I think I was able to hold everyone’s attention.
  2. The projector didn’t work for the first half hour. I actually did about a third of my presentation based on my printout of the slides and writing/drawing on the whiteboard. I was actually finishing a point about content when the intro slide went up and these pictures were taken. Luckily I’m experienced enough as a presenter for this to not throw me! When the projector did work, I reviewed the graphical highlights and continued from there. Toastmasters helped me practice many things going wrong.helloJava-cert-intro helloJava-cert-intro2

In addition to the deck, we wrote a little code. I got teased about my “one handed vi skills” (I was holding a microphone in the other hand.) And we went over some practice questions not on the exam – I used the Random vs Math examples. I got lots of questions which was great. Both during the presentation – every time I asked if there were questions – and 8-10 people who stayed afterwards to ask more questions. I even had someone bring his copy of our OCP book for me to sign.

I enjoyed the session and will be doing a part two in May. Part two is about how to create practice questions and figure out the important points to study for any exam. We’ll be using some Java 9 concepts as the examples so this will be good for people at any experience level of Java. Very few people are solid on Java 9 yet (I’m not either) so it should be a level playing field for showing how to approach!

OCA 8 Book: Online Material and Practice Exams now available

If you’re one of the individuals who already purchased the e-book of our OCA 8 Study Guide, you might have noticed the online materials weren’t up yet. They went up today.

If you’ve ordered a printed book, we are getting close. Amazon.com is currently predicting delivery between January 27th and February 25th. We will post again on this blog as soon as we hear of an actual US delivery. First printed book delivery was reported on January 31st.

We are also doing a book promotion at CodeRanch next week. Ask us a question and be entered to win a copy of the book.

sybex

What do the online materials include?

  1. 3 mock/practice exams (60 questions each)
  2. 2 sets of flashcards
  3. A searchable glossary
  4. Electronic versions of the assessment test and end of chapter review questions from the book

How do I register for access?

Step 1 – buy the book. Once you have an electronic copy or printed copy of the book in hand, it is easy. When going to the Sybex test bank site, you are asked to supply/create an access code. Creating one is easy. You are asked for your name and email. You are also asked to answer a question that is easy if you have the book. (Like “what is the answer to question 3 in chapter 2” or “fill in the blank from the text of figure 2.4”). Then the access code is emailed to you. It came immediately when I tested it.

With the access code, you go back to the test bank site and create an account. You get to use your email as username and the password of your choice making it easy to remember. Then you are in!

How is the test engine?

This is a new test engine from Wiley. Older books came with a CD that had a Flash based system for questions. While I’m sure this is very nice for non-coding exams, the old engine only showed a handful of lines of code on screen which was bad for programming exams. I’m SO glad they improved this before our book came out.

The new test engine is beautiful. It shows roughly as much code as the real exam. It has a timer so you know how long you have taken. (It counts up instead of down like the real exam does, but you know how long the real exam gives you so this is fine. It’s actually a good thing since Oracle likes to change the length of time allowed for the exam.) The engine lets you bookmark questions for review; as does the real exam. The whole system is intuitive and nice to use.

Author advice

  1. The engine lets you choose how many questions you want in the practice exam. I recommend taking them with the 60 questions each that are indented. A lot of thought went into which questions appear together on a practice exam and you’ll get the most realistic experience.
  2. The flashcards allow you to choose sequential or random order. I recommend random order. Just like you’d shuffle your physical flashcards to make sure you remember best.

OCA 8 Book: Online Material and Practice Exams

practice-test If you’re one of the individuals who already purchased our OCA 8 Study Guide, first we wanted to say thank you very much for your support. Jeanne and I both worked for a long time on the book and we really hope you enjoy it! Next, the Study Guide makes reference to online material available to purchasers of the book including an online glossary, flashcards, and three Practice Exams. It also includes online versions of the Assessment and Review questions found in the text of the book.

Jeanne and I wanted to let everyone know that the publisher is working on making that online material available right away, with an estimated release date of 1/25/15, less than two weeks from now. Of course, we will let you know if we hear anything sooner, but for now just sit tight, the material is being finalized.

UPDATE 1/23/2015: The online study material including practice exams has now been posted online! See this post for information.