Friday, August 8, 2008

SCJP 5 and 6

by Fábio Souza

OK, I know that is a little late to talk about SCJP 5 but I will give my feedback about the exam. This will help people that feels unprepared to take SCJP 6 (that was my case) and the ones that are going to take this new version, what I know is that both exams (5 and 6) are very similar.

  • Main resource material: SCJP Sun Certified Programmer for Java 5 Study Guide (Exam 310-055), by Katherine Sierra (Author), Bert Bates (Author). This book is just great! The authors are very careful with the explanations and they also made very good illustrations. Each chapter ends with the "Two-minute Drill" section and the exercises. The "Two-minute Drill" has an abstract about the chapter that makes very easy to review forgotten items. The exercises are very well written, and every answer is explained (both wrong and right).
  • Main resource material for exercises: MasterExam. My SCJP Sun Certified Programmer for Java 5 Study Guide (Exam 310-055) book came with a CD containing the MasterExam software. This software gives two ways to do its questions, like the real exam or "ad-hoc". The MasterExam's questions are like the book. A "permission" to get a bonus exam also come with the CD, you just need to register on their site and then download the program.
  • Other resources for exercises that I found:
    • Whizlabs: There is a software like MasterExam made by Whizlabs. It seems to be a very good software. Its interface is great and you have the possibility to do "adaptive" tests. I downloaded a trial version from their website and I liked it pretty much.
    • EPractize: Their software is like the MasterExam too but it doesn't have any strength point. I didn't like the software's interface. I also downloaded a trial version from their website.
    • "TestKiller": This one is an exercise's book and seems to be made by Troytec. It's a very weird book, with a lot of writing mistakes on it. The strength point is that it promises to cover only questions from the real exam. When I took the exam I had the feeling of recognizing one or two questions (I took a look on 60 from 224 questions of this book).
My study schedule: That was the way I worked out to pass the exam.
  • 8 months to read the SCJP Sun Certified Programmer for Java 5 Study Guide (Exam 310-055) and to do all exercises. It took me something like one hour per day (only workdays). It's a good way to start because you can understand how Java works without pushing yourself.
  • 1 month to read again all "Two-minute Drill" sections and the most complicated chapters (chapters 7, 9, 8, 6, in descending difficulty order, in my opinion).
  • 4 days (eight hours per day) to do A LOT of exercises. This is the main point. The exercises are full of tricks and the only way to become familiar with those tricks is doing a lot of exercises.
The exam: In my opinion, the exam is difficult. You have to be really confident before taking it. A good thing that I noticed was that the time is enough to do everything with attention and patience. In my opinion to take this exam you must know about everything, but with a special care with these points below:
  • Threads.
  • Generics.
  • Methods Override/Overload (and covariant return).
  • Box/Unbox.
  • Method calling with widening and autoboxing.
  • Access Control.
  • java and javac commands.
  • Differences between collections (Ordered, Sorted, Hash).
  • How equals and hashCode works with collections.
  • Inner Classes.
Differences between SCJP 310-055 and 310-065 (you can find it here):
  • Questions concerning System.gc() have been removed.
  • Coverage of the class has been added.
  • Coverage of navigable collections has been added.
  • Several of the previous objectives have been strengthened (so you can expect more questions and more detailed questions on them). These strengthened objectives include: exception handling, collection classes and collection interfaces, assertions, threads, and flow control.
  • Number of questions: 310-055 = 72; 310-065 = 72
  • Pass score: 310-055 = 59%; 310-065 = 65%
  • Time limit: 310-055 = 175 minutes; 310-065 = 210 minutes
Advice: If you aren't feeling confident to take the SCJP 6 exam just because you don't know what is new in this version, don't take the SCJP 5. I did it and I am a little regretful. There is no "SCJP 5 to 6" exam, there is only one "upgrade" exam to version 6 called "Exam 310-056". In this exam you have to prove your Java 5 knowledge again. Well, soon I will take the 310-056 and then I will post about it.

Please comment and share your experiences with SCJP (any version is welcome :)).



Radian said...

Hi, I found this post while searching Google for SCJP Exam

In fact I am in the same situation you had before Exam
Now I am reading from the same book and same test-killer and whizlabs trial, etc ..

All these for SCJP 5, Because, I can't find the newer resources for the new Exam

And I am confused about which Exam to take
Note that I am in Egypt , and a 300$ (Voucher's price) equals about 1500 LE :|

So.. there's no way to fail the exam , I have to be confident 101% before I buy the voucher

So I want your advice , does it worth the money risk to take the SCJP 6 Exam without test-killers/test-king ??

And Thank you for this great post

Fábio Saraiva de Souza said...

I think there is no problem to take the exam without test-killers. As I've said, my main material was the Bert Bates and Kathy Sierra book. There is a new version of the book covering the SCJP 6. If you have time enough (and money too, because its price is 31.45 USD at Amazon) to study this new book, I think you should do it. Otherwise if you have to take this exam as soon as you can, and you don't want the "money risk", take the SCJP 5.

Nosayba El-Sayed said...

This is one great post indeed. I found your blog while googling a problem I'm facing similar to yours with the ADF SelectOneChoice component, and the initials SCJP caught my attention. I've bought the SCJP 5 book you've recommended around almost a year ago but I've kept delaying the exam due to work + masters engagements. I'll bookmark this post to refer to it for study guidelines. But to be honest, if you're an IT consultant describing it as quite of a difficult exam, then I believe my chances of passing from the first time are not that good. I'm a fresh Grad student, I've worked extensively with Java though for the past 3 years though..but from your description I believe I need 3 more :)

Fábio Saraiva de Souza said...

Thanks for the comment.
The exam is difficult, but not THAT difficult. As I've said, you just need to know the tricks to get confidence to answer the questions.
Just read your book entirely and then do a lot of exercises.
I'm sure that it will work.

Anonymous said...

Hi all...this is very useful post. first thnx alot for this post. I have scjp 1.4 certification. Now i want to upgrade my certification to scjp 6. I want to know what will be areas be tested on the upgrade (scjp 6)exam. will they be testing only the new areas added in java 6 OR do i need to study all the chapters before taking the upgrade exam?

Unknown said...


I took the upgrade test from 1.4 to 5.0 and, in my case, the test was very comprehensive. It was not focused only in JDK 5 new features or differences.

Fábio Saraiva de Souza said...

You need to study all chapters! I took the upgrade exam that you want to take. Take a look at my new post:

John Page said...

I am preparing for SCJP6.0 and am using the Kathy Sierra / Bert Bates book. I have got through around 400 pages of the book and I have another 400 to go. The book is really good.I was wondering are there any free MasterExam like resources available? Is the WhizLabs version available at a discounted rate?
Thanks & Regards,

Fábio Saraiva de Souza said...

John, I really don't know any free software that prepares to the exam. I only found their trial versions.

Anon said...

I am little bit confused which exam should I take.
212-065 java 6 or

212-066 upgrade exam for java 6.

can you please tell me? the pros and cons about those two. I want to upgrade from java 5.

Unknown said...


If you already have the Java 5 certificate, then you should certainly try the 212-066 upgrade exam to Java 6.

Good luck,

Fábio Saraiva de Souza said...


Eduardo is right. If you have to choose between these certifications, you have to choose the update version. But we both agree (me and Eduardo) that aren't great changes from Java 5 to Java 6, so we think you may keep your SCJP 5 and just wait for Java 7.

Anonymous said...

I'm also preparing for SCJP 1.6.
There is a free software for both SCJP 1.5 and 1.6, which is good and FREE:

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above comment on ExamLab. This was very much helpful and unbelievably it is a freeware! Anyway, the official url is as I know!

Sanjay Chandak said...

Delivered at: Authorized Worldwide Prometric Testing Centers
Prerequisites: None
Other exams/assignments required for this certification: None
Exam type: Multiple choice and drag and drop
Number of questions: 60
Pass score: 58.33 % (35 of 60)
Time limit: 180 minutes

KP said...

Hi Guys,
I have recently covered my SCJP1.6 and thought i would like to share my preparation links and mock test links as well as i have created a SCJP quick reference guide .Please use my blog to get more info and I have added quite a lot of Good stuff for our java Community.

Some very important useful links available on

Thanks & good luck with your scjp cert.

Krishna Prasad

karunesh upadhyay said...

hi,i m karunesh upadhyay. and i m preparing 4 scjp6 .and i want to give test within 2 days. so plz anyone guide me.tanks in advance.

Ajinkya said...

I cleared OCPJP with 96%. Thought of sharing my experience

spidy777 said...