Passed the Sun Certified Programmer for the Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition 6.0 Exam

On February 18, 2009 I passed the Sun Certified Programmer for the Java 2 Platform (SCJP), Standard Edition 6.0 exam with a score of 76%.  I prepared for the exam over a period of 4 months:

  • Participated in a Java study group that used the SCJP Sun Certified Programmer for Java 6 Exam 310-065 (Sierra and Bates, aka the S&B book)
  • Completed every practice test in the software JQ+ V6 (

This exam was very difficult.  In 2001, I passed the Java 1.2 exam and the Java 6 exam was much harder.

My exam score of 76% was almost the same as my average of 77% for all the practice exams.  The practice exams and chapter questions in the S&B book WERE NOT more difficult than the exam questions.

I write Java programs every day for my job, but there are several areas on the exam that I do not use much (concurrency [Threads], wrapper classes [Integer, Long, etc], formatting output [printf], compiling/running [javac and java, I use Eclipse].  You must study these areas and write practice programs to understand the questions on the exam. 

Using Eclipse is great for being productive at work, but IT IS TERRIBLE at preparing you for taking this exam.  Eclipse "hides" much of Java's complexity from you (that's one of its greatest strengths).  To pass the exam, you need to know how to create AND  RUN Java programs without using an integrated development environment (IDE) such as Eclipse or NetBeans.

I don't usually recommend products on my blog, but I strongly believe that I would not have passed the exam without taking all the practice tests in the JQ+ V6 software (  This software provided me several valuable benefits:

  • Explanations of why an answer is correct or incorrect
  • Excellent customer support – I got an email answer to my questions within a few hours
  • Hundreds of questions that are similar to the real exam questions in complexity and design
  • How I did on the practice tests accurately indicated how I would do on the real exam.

Here's my bottom line on preparing for this exam:


Preparing for this exam will significantly improve your Java programming skills.  With Java 6 there are so many new features in the language that can help you create more robust and flexible Java programs.  Studying for the exam helps you learn about these features and how to use them in your own programs. That's the real benefit of preparing for this exam.

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