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I am now a Sun Certified Programmer for the J2SE 5.0

Posted by vbrabant on April 30, 2005 at 4:47 AM PDT

Hurrah, Youppie, Yes, Great, ..

Today, I received my Examination Score Report where it's indicated that I am now a Sun Certified J2SE 5.0 Programmer.

I passed the exam the 1st February 2005.

Normally, we know directly, at the end of the exam, if we success or not, if we are certified or not.

But, in this case, it was not the case. I had to wait until today to know my results.

And I am now a Sun Certified Programmer for the J2SE 5.0.

But, IMHO, I would have failed.

I will explain you reasons why I have the status only today.
And why I would have failed.

Once upon a time, somewhere in Octobre 2004, I went to
a book festival in Brussels.
And I bought some Java Certification books for less than 5€.

# Mike Meyers' Java 2 Certification Passport (Exam 310-025)
# Sun Certification Training Guide (CS-310-025 & CX-310-027): Java 2 Programmer and Developer Exams, Second Edition

I was thinking that, for that price, it was always a good buy.

But I never look at them, until the 15 Decembre 2004, when Evelyn Cartagena, of Sun, posted this message: a call for candidates for the Programmer 5.0 Beta Certification Exam.

she said

Candidates will have four to five (4-5) hours to complete 138 questions. The time allotted should give you time to respond to all questions and provide your valuable comments while taking the exam.

And, I think is was the first time, we had to pay 49$ to participate to a Sun Beta Exam.

After reflexion, I though it was a good opportunity. And for that price (in Belgium, it was only 40€), if I failed, it was not like I spend 150$.
It's always good to know about your knowledge level for your daily computer language. So, I decided to subscribe and start studying.

But the problem was the following: Objectives were not yet available. So, what to study?

I started with the great O'reilly book Java 1.5 Tiger: A Developer's Notebook. And I played with all examples of that book by using NetBeans 4.0. It was very useful because NetBeans 4.0 was already supporting the new JDK 5 language features.

I continued to study with the JDK 5, reading a nice French article of Lionel Roux (available on, and by reading the draft of the third edition of the JLS (Java Language Specification), that was available at that url

(Please note that you can now freely download the PDF file. It is available at ).

By reading those books, I learned a lot of things I didn't know about, before.
To be sure that I studied all new API of the J2SE 5, I also used a nice tool, called JDiff, that permits to see you on line the difference between J2SE 1.4.2 and 1.5.0.
So, I discovered that I had a lot of things to study.

What I forgot, and it was mentionned in the call of 15 Decembre, was that they posted, the 20 Decembre, objectives of the exam.

So, I was able to enhance my preparation. But the date of 1st February was there.I choosed the date of 1st February because I am working only 4 days a week and that days was my free day. And it was not possible after, because I was in vacation for one week. And the end date for the beta exam was the 13 February.

I also buy the book "Programmer's Guide to Java Certification" to learn J2SE 1.4 features that were not in other books.

But the week before my exam, due to a bad family event, I was unable to study. And I have not yet study stuffs concerning multi-threading. I just read the last chapter of the book therefore, but without practice it.

Come then the 1st February. 5 hours suffering. I have to answer to 138 questions, an average of 2 minutes by questions. 1 minutes to read the question, translate it in my language (I am a French native speaker), and understand what they mean. Another minute to look at proposed choices. And, because it was a Beta Exam, also fill in comments because some questions were wrongly exposed, or piece of code were incorrect.

I started at 9AM and finished at 2PM. It was really short.
During the exams, I was surprised about the number of questions related to multi-threading and I understood that I would have study deeper that part.

Then, I had to wait, and wait, and wait, until today.

Today, I received my Score Report. I passed.
But Score is not so nice (69%).

Reason was that I totally failed the section concerning Concurrency (multi-threading). It was less than 50%.

Personally, I am happy, because I am a Sun Certified Programmer, but
IMHO I would fail.

When I was at school, to pass end of year exams we need to fill in two criteria's:

The passing score was 60% (similar to Sun Passing Score)
The minimum score, for each section would be 50%.

And because I completely failed the Concurrency part of the exam, I really think that I would fail.

Sun would introduce such a restriction in their exams.

Will you agree if someone obtained his licence driving because he passed with 69% but completely missed the section concerning the one-way road or gyratory direction ?

Vincent Brabant

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