Should you really bother getting OCA certified?
Yes, you should, for the simple reason that employers care about the certification of employees. Organizations prefer a certified Java developer over a non-certified Java developer with similar IT skills and experience. The certification can also get you a higher paycheck than uncertified peers with comparable skills.
The ideal time required to prepare for the exam
The preparation time frame mainly depends on your experience with Java and the amount of time that you can spend to prepare yourself. On average, you will require approximately 150 hours of study over two or three months to prepare for this exam. Again, the number of study hours required depends on individual learning curves and backgrounds. It's important to be consistent with your exam preparation. You can't study for a month and then restart after, say, a gap of a month or more.
You have two years' experience working with java. Do you still need to prepare for OCA certification?
It's important to understand that there's a difference between the practical knowledge of having worked with Java and the knowledge required to pass this certification exam. The authors of the Java certification exams employ multiple tricks to test your knowledge. Hence, you need a structured preparation and approach to succeed in the certification exam.
Attempt at least five mock exams
Ideally, you should attempt at least five mock exams before you attempt the real exam. The more the better!
Do you know when you're ready for the OCA exam?
You can be sure about your exam readiness by consistently getting a good score in the mock exams. Generally, a score of 80% and above in approximately three to five mock exams (the more the better) attempted consecutively will assure you of a similar score in the real exam.
Best way to prepare for this exam
Generally, candidates use a combination of resources, such as books, online study materials, articles on the exam, free and paid mock exams, and training to prepare for the exam. Different combinations work best for different people, and there's no one perfect formula for preparation. Depending on whether training or self-study works best for you, you can select the method that's most appropriate for you. Combine it with a lot of code practice and mock exams.
Keep in Touch With Java Communities and Forums
Group work is always necessary for such studies. As an applicant, one can join approved forums where they can pose questions and share their knowledge on Java. This helps Java programmers to deal with any doubts with their counterparts. More so, candidates who participate in such forums get to come across practical explanations alongside with innovative solutions which not only help them tackle their mock tests, but also the certification exam. Online articles and blog posts on this topic can also help you as a candidate during your certification exams and also practically like when applying for an online job.
Collect Recommended Books
Applicants ought to use the right and latest books on certification for revision purposes to prepare for the hard question paper. The authors of these books also distribute their skills and acquaintances on this subject which is a perfect guide to exam preparations. There are plenty of useful guides that aid aspirants to acquire knowledge on different fields of this subject. The best advice for applicants is that they should ensure that their study is relevant to the exam pattern and expectation instead of rushing to spend a lot of money on irrelevant books.
Acquire enough knowledge on the certification paths
The best way to prepare for Java Certification is to write lots and lots of small programs for each exam objective and learn from your mistakes. You may try developing small apps using all exam objectives. This is especially important for Java beginners who does not have enough coding experience.
Plan your Study Routine
Use your calendar and make your schedule. By having your schedule at the top of your mind, your calendar acts as a filter against distractions.
Learning Mode will take you 'by the hand'. Select amount of questions for your daily routine.
Disruptions in the study plan should be avoid, as this can result in revising the material already covered when you pick up the thread.
The exam should be scheduled immediately after the study period, when the momentum from the preparation is at its maximum.