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I did an IKM Java test recently and got quite a low score. I only graduated a year ago and I dont have commercial experience in Java (i do web development in my current job).

I thought reading up a lot on Java would help me prepare, but when I sat the IKM test i got ripped to pieces. I didn't know much about how the garbage collection actually works, names of other java compilers (i know about javac?), using .dll with Java etc etc. I know a wide range of the basics, but to the extent wether 'int(5L)' produces an integer or not, I really didnt know.

My question is that many of the IKM questions I have never come across, yet I have read many of the wider-known Java programming books (Deitel, O'Reilly etc). Am i reading the wrong books???

Could anyone recommend a good plan of action to allow me to go away and self-study and be able to know these really tough java questions?

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closed as off-topic by MichaelT, James McLeod, GlenH7, jwenting, gnat May 23 at 7:59

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Well, the IKM C++ test (at least the one I did) is hardly a good measure of a good C++ programmer. It had few pertinent questions and a lot of trivia. If the Java test is similar, I wouldn't worry too much about it. –  Vitor Jul 16 '11 at 3:53
    
I just tried to sit an exam for PC referb unfortunately it had a whole bunch of Server 2000- 2003 question in there that I didn't know, I wish I could just pay someone to sit the online exam for me, half the people that passed (that I know of) said they have friends help them during the test, since I have moved I don't have anyone that can help me, I think its unfair that a generalized test will hold me back from a job (especially a test that had nothing to do with the role). –  Frank May 22 at 13:50
    
You might try actually writing things like a compiler and a garbage collector. Not for any specific purpose, but to stretch your mind and give you a sense of what kinds of things need to be taken into account. Trying to do something will help you remember, or at least guess, at the fine details. –  jzx May 22 at 17:30

2 Answers 2

Don't put too much importance on that certification. As a hiring manager, I am not going to hire you because you have a certification.

I have met too many candidates where their resumes were full of certifications, but when I asked them to write some code, they couldn't do the basic stuff. After I while, seeing certifications on a resume made me distrust the candidate. I know that's not fair to each and every candidate, but when a candidate places too much importance on a certificate, my gut tells me they learned how to pass the test, but they didn't know what they were really answering.

Reading books is fine, but you have to code, a lot, to understand what those books are trying to teach you. Try writing programs, any programs, and you will probably run into a dead end or two, and that's when you ask someone you know or post a question on Stack Overflow about solving those problems, and that's when you really start learning.

I look for real world experience, and if I were to interview you and ask you to demonstrate to me a program that can update a database, or write a log file, or solve a problem, I don't want a blank look, I want you to go, "No problem, here is how I do it."

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I tried a couple of the IKM tests ... They focused on a lot of trivial knowledge. You should be able to pass the tests of course, but the difference between 60 and 100 on these tests don't mean anything really, sorry to say.

The tests don't test awareness of concerns or problems in software engineering ... they only test if you spotted it during the test.

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