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this is a cross-post from here and here.

I'm trying to do some planning for the OCAJP 7 certification preparation, and for this I need an estimation of how long such preparation usually take on average. I realise that individual averages will significantly depend on the individual (in terms of technical aptitude, past experience, self-discipline and so forth), but I would be keen just to hear what this community thinks.

Currently I have estimated 320 man hours (two work months) to prepare for OCAJP 7. I have some experience in the .Net and Ruby stacks (and then of course HTML, CSS and JavaScript), but I would conservatively put my aggregated coding experience at one year. Is 320 man hours too much?

Thanks in advance.

Any ideas would be appreciated.

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Well, as you say, this all depends upon the individual, how familiar he is with the language and the specific exam topics and so on. So, I'm just gonna tell you what my learning experience was when I studied for the SCJP back in 2008. It's not the exact same exam, but the idea is pretty much the same.

First of, here are the exam topics :

-Java Basics

-Working With Java Data Types

-Creating and Using Arrays

-Using Loop Constructs

-Working with Methods and Encapsulation

-Working with Inheritance

-Handling Exceptions

(more details on each in the link, or if that doesn't work look it up on the Oracle site).

What I first did is get 2 books on this specific exam. It's important to have 2 in order to have sort of a second opinion on each of the topics, because sometimes one opinion might not be clear, basically they may give the idea that some parts of a given topic are more important than others, and this could lead you to under or over-prepare on some things. If you can't find two different books on the exam, try replacing one of them with just a book on the basics of Java, there are tons of very good such books out there.

Now, once I had the 2 books, saw how big they were and also looked at the list of topics, I just approximated a study time for each topic, trying to lean on the generous side where I wasn't too sure on the estimate. For me, all this took about 4-5 months of studies, but I was working at the time, so most of my studies were crammed in weekends and late nights.

However, after doing all this, what I found more important is to make sure that I understood what I just read. This basically means doing A LOT of questions and exercises where you just write small snippets of code. You should go over each topic and do this. I can't stress how important this is. The exam-specific books come with a good amount of "simulated" questions, do these several times so that you'll get familiar with the stile of the exam questions. Also write code snippets. Don't use an IDE, if possible don't even use a code highlighter (like Notepad++), just write small snippets of code in VI or Notepad, compile and run them in the console and see what you're missing.

For me this took about 7-8 full days.

Finally, once you do all this, go back to the list of topics, and honestly highlight those you're feeling uncertain about. For those, re-read the corresponding chapters in one of the books, and redo the questions and exercises.

I did this as well, took me another 3-5 days.

Hope this helps in guiding you to a decent approximation of your study time for this. Good luck!

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Thanks for this feedback, it's really helpful. Curious though: why no code highlighting? –  emilesilvis Jan 14 '13 at 14:42
Well, first off, during the exam (at least in my time), you could get questions asking you to write code. You'd certainly get a lot of questions with a code snippet (of up to 20 something lines sometimes). None of these situations would offer you code highlighting of any kind (for either writing or reading it). If you're only used to reading code that has been somehow highlighted, these kind of situations can give you a tough time going through the given code (or writing it). –  Shivan Dragon Jan 14 '13 at 15:08
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Actually emilesilvis, the time taken for preparation is depends upon the persons. To me it takes 240 man hours. Practice is more important to achieve in this exam, other than practice no use with appearing on exam.

I used epractize Labs OCAJP 7 mock exam software simulator for my practice, it has some sample mock test it helps me more. i tried 4 times every mock tests. It am sure about this, this will work or not, but you may try this for calculate your preparation time, here is the link for your reference... http://www.epractizelabs.com/certification-advisor/time-estimator.php?s=16

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