Preparation tips for SCJP- Sun Certified Java Programmer Exam

I cleared SCJP 6.0 with 81% on January 25, 2010 (putting this up after a long gap), not a really good score, but happy to get a “PASS” :). I did manage to do some 25 days of preparation (serious preparation), but my coding experience in Java helped me a lot- In understanding the basic concepts easily and giving more time to learn the less used concepts like Generics, Collections, Threading.  Through out my preparation and after appearing for the exam there are few things I wanted to share with the aspirants:

  • Which Is the book to be referred? I would say SCJP Guide By Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates is the best for SCJP- Covers all the concepts required. There’s one more book by Khalid Mughal, which covers lot of concepts and has too much of information for the exam. Its Generics and collections chapters are exhaustive.
  • Do I need to buy the mock exams? or the Question Database? No, U need not. For Mock Exams there’s a fantastic software- Examlab, free to download and use.  Also SCJP Guide By Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates comes with a CD which has mock exam and database of questions. So these two should be more than enough to help u with your mock exam and additional question needs. Examlab in particular has an exactly similar UI experience as that of the actual SCJP Exam, but its a bit tougher than the actual exam. A score of 60% should be good enough. But once U finish the exam, dont forget to analyze the mistakes and your correct answers with the justification provided in the solutions. This will help u a lot during the exam. Same goes with the CD that comes with the book.
  • While preparing for the Exam- Code a lot, dont just try to read it as a theory. Also while coding avoid (or I would say DONT) using IDE. This mistake of mine- not using the simple editor- cost me atleast 3-4 questions.  Cause using IDE we  do Ctrl+Space or google for the class or the IDE will guide u with the possible errors u have in your code but  that will not be the case in the exam. So avoid IDE while practicing for the exam or if u are starting to learn java.
  • Try to focus on Generics as there can be some really tricky questions from there and also dont leave any concept unclear. Questions will test multiple areas.
  • There will be few drag and drop questions on the exam which are pretty easy. One can go through the exercises given in Head First Java to get a feel of them.
  • Dumps are of no use- They may be able to get you higher percentage, but it will not add to your practical knowledge and will not clear your concepts.
  • Give enough time for preparation, solving mock exams- Dont take fix the exam date and start preparing, fix the date only when U are sure of scoring good.
  • Best place to hangout- JavaRanch– The best place for SCJP preparation 🙂
  • Myth- SCJP Will get u a job- I would say proper preparation for SCJP and a good score will increase your Java skills => Will higher your chances of getting a job 🙂

These are few things which I wanted to share. Will keep updating as and when I come across any tips. Also people who have cleared/prepared/preparing for SCJP, please drop in comments which I will promptly add it to my post!


  • As pointed out by Jose Fernandez: Effective Java by Joshua Bloch is a really good book to learn the effective ways to write Java code.
  • I forgot to add another book: Java Puzzlers by Joshua Bloch– Superb book which explains concepts which are often not understood well. This will be really helpful for SCJP Preparation.
  • Another Useful link– Has lot of concepts explained. A bit verbose.
  • An useful FAQ about the Java Certification

80 thoughts on “Preparation tips for SCJP- Sun Certified Java Programmer Exam”

  1. very helpful, thanks 🙂

    have you worked out a sequence of possible errors in the sample code to look for to determine if there’s a compilation error?


  2. mk:

    very helpful, thanks
    have you worked out a sequence of possible errors in the sample code to look for to determine if there’s a compilation error?

    yeah I went through the rules given in the SCJP Guide. The tips and info given in the Shaded Boxes in the SCJP Guide book are really useful.

  3. Nice guide! I used the Sierra & Bates book, The Java Programming Language 4th Edition, and Effective Java 2nd Edition. The Sierra & Bates book is likely enough. I also completely agree with your two points of coding and not just reading and not using an IDE (while studying). That’s what I did and my understanding really solidified because of it.

  4. Thanks Jose for the suggestions. I have updated to add the Effective Java book and also remembered another book by the same author- Java Puzzlers

  5. This blog is basically excellent, I assumed I do know lots, but I’m so mistaken, like the prior saying the far more you already know, the extra you obtain out how small you know. Thanks for the info.

    • Thanks a lot for stopping by 🙂 You always need to stretch the boundaries 🙂 The farther you go, interesting things become.

  6. i need scjp help . i can clear with one month scjp exam . it urgent san..! can you help to cover all those topics fast ?
    please hlp me

    • I would recommend you to spend some time learning and programming in the topics. The more you practice the more better you would understand the topics. You can hang out in for more help.

  7. hi… nice info. on scjp… well i’m planning to write it… currently goin to classes for it in hols in NIIT……
    Will scjp be of any value in applying for M S or even coll placements…?? or just another exam..
    (i’m done with 4th sem I.T. , NITK)

    • Please take note of the latest developments in the SCJP- Name of exam, exam version number.
      SCJP- not helpful for MS. May be helpful for placements- but I completed my SCJP after I got placed :).
      But surely it will help you understand the base java concepts on which the complete java language, development thrives. Combined with practical projects in Java it should give you a headstart when you actually get employed. But there are few companies which do give importance to SCJP- but that’s not at the college level. The interviewers will surely get impressed if you have a good score provided the company works on the java platform.
      Anyways its good to get certified.

  8. hi,i completed my in 2011 and i have 78%(Computer science and engineering).From last 8 months onwards i am searching job blindly.But one of my friend suggested me that if u write scjp it will help full to your job i want to write scjp now but i am not that much good in can any body tell me how can i improve my self ,please guide me with your good suggestions….

    • Generally for a fresher the employers dont expect you to know Java. If you are familiar with one programming language (most of them atleast expect C) then that should be good enough. The main focus would be on problem solving and how you write algorithms to solve certain problems.

      That said, if you want to learn and learn minute aspects of Java then you can take up the certification as it will help you to learn a lot of concepts. Provided you dont use any SCJP Dumps and actually study the concepts sincerely. But an SCJP WILL not for sure give you a job guarantee. So you have to alongside sharpen your algorithmic and problem solving skills. But once you are in industry an SCJP will definitely be useful because people with certification ought to have sound basics in the language.

      The bottom line is the SCJP WILL not for sure get you a job. I have completed my SCJP 2 years back and no one has even asked me once about it. But the knowledge and experience I gained while preparing for the exam was enormous. I also had a coding experience of around 2 years before I took up the certification.

      If your aim is to get a job then prepare for it and not go into the trouble of preparing for certification exam and wasting few more months. You need to prepare for the interviews and then plan your search for the job.

      Hope this helps.

      • Thanks For giving this suggestion. i am placed from my college campus and i thought that SCJP will help me in the company.

        I am in the before middle of preparation so whether i have to continue.

  9. Thanks for the tips.
    I would like to know the exact syllabus of scjp6 and also the fees of it.
    Thanks in advance.

  10. Thanks for your information. Please also tell me whether clearing SCJP will help in package increment for fresher in an IT company?If yes then by how much percent it will increase(If the starting annual package is around 3.6L)?

    • Hi Nikhil,
      I cannot say for sure that it will help you get an incrememnt. The importance of certification exams varies with company. And the increment you get depends on your manager and if he gives importance to such certifications then you might stand a good chance. Moreover if the certifications help you to become more productive then its good to pursue it, but it comes at a cost- you need to be able to balance your work and exam preparation well. Otherwise if your productivity at work goes down because of your preparations then I dont think it would go well with your manager.
      To say in short- there isn’t a concrete answer for your query. Take certification exam preparation as a vehicle to learn and be more productive rather than a means to fill your resume.

  11. Sir i have a little bit problems regarding i will show you one by one.:-

    1. I have good knowledge of programming in vb but i am new to java. My programming skill is quite good. And i am learning java quite easily . there is no problem in this. Sir i want to know how much time i have to spent on this for the scjp preparation. According to my view i will finish this in about 6 weeks. Sir i want to know how much time i have to spent on this so that i can achieve my goal as you are experienced in java and scjp.

    2.Sir i am pursuing my btech in third year. After passing SCJP exam can i am eligible for its next level exam that is SCJD(that is developer). And whether this(SCJD) will help me it is useful in getting job at higher post.

    3. Last but not the least Sir whats your email id or fb profile so i can contact you frequently as i have many confusion regarding these email id is fb id is same). Sir please contact as soon as possible..


    • Firstly, please go through the new exam available as there have been quite a few changes in the names of the exam.
      1. You can spend enough time to learn the concepts and not just using some scjp dumps and solving them. Also spend time in programming and programming without the help of an IDE. The time required would depend on how familiar you are with Java.
      2. SCJD is definitely good, but as I said in the beginning you need to verify the requirements for this exam as there have been some changes around this exam. SCJD is more implementation oriented and is definitely a plus.
      3. I would suggest you to head over to for your queries and please remember to search first in the forums.

      The bottom line is that dont give a lot of importance to certifications, they are good to have. Consider certifications as a way to become familiar with the intricate aspects of the language. A certificaiton may not always assure you a job,

  12. thnx a lot for sharing ur experience..bcz we cn get everythng on Internet bt nt the real experience and guidance which is very helpful for us to get prepared well.

  13. Firstly, I appreciate your efforts for making us well aware of the SCJP preparation. Experience does matter a lot.
    I am pursuing my engineering, and am currently in the third year of it. Umm, though I have a pretty good knowledge about programming. And basically, I have a personal interest in programming. So, I wanted to ask, is there any prime period as to when should I give the SCJP exam? And, have heard/seen that Java, as a language, is actually never ending. The more you get into it, the more you learn something new. So, do I require a vast period for it’s preparation?

    Thanks a lot. 🙂

  14. 1) are whizlabs questions tougher than the actual exam questions, cause lm getting an average of 50% when l take the exam. am l ready for the actual exam l know l need a 61% to pass. (2) what can l do to improve my mark. Thanks!!

  15. I have DONE B.E in computer engineering,so i am familiar with java language. I want to give SCJP exam and want to Prepare on my own, so i want to know how much time is needed for self preparation??

  16. hi mohamad i am kalyan preparing for scjp exam…
    i am really very happy with your tips,which are really useful to guys like us..
    thanks a lot man……….

  17. If anybody have Examlab software . the file has been deleted from the link provided in this post..

    i am requesting every one to please anyone send me that software in my email id

  18. Hi Mohamed, thanks for sharing your experience. It is really very simple and easy to understand, keep posting the concepts related to Java.

  19. Hi MOHAMED SANAULLA ,, thanks for the valuable information provided , i have a small concern, i am working on java 1.4 version in my company,where the project is related to telecom, i would like to get scjp certified, i am from electrical and electronics background,
    i am not sure of what level of scjp i need to go for.

    thanks in advance..:)

    • Java 7 is the latest version out there and I think there’s is a certification for Java 7. Please check it out and take the exam which covers Java 7. Java 1.4 is too old, but I know there are lot of companies out there using old versions. You can also try for SCJP 6, but I strongly recommend the exam covering Java 7

  20. Thanks a lot for the good details. I just finished with a round of reading with SCJP book of kathy Sierra. Now can you tell me if I should read head first java, coz though i have understood the concepts, i feel the scjp book is of high level. So, should I read head first java or have any other books/ links as I need to start coding in java as well.

    • You can read Head First Java, its a really good book. But its aimed at beginners in Java. Its a light read book so if you are already familiar with lot of concepts of Java, you might tend to get bored. Have a look at the book and see if you enjoy its contents and then go ahead to buy it.
      Otherwise practice coding in Java, visit sites like Project Euler, Codechef and other online programming sites and try out coding various problem.

  21. Hi Sanaulla,

    Thank you so much for the guidance. That’s really the nice one. Since from an year ‘m thinking to give the SCJP exam but I’m not so confident to give as I’m from NON IT (EC) back ground. Even I’m not of that kind to sit and study. Can I go for classes? Will it be helpful?

    Thank in advance

    • You can go for SCJP if you are interested to evaluate your Java skills. Firstly learn Java and write lots of code using Java and then start preparing for the certification exam. Dont focus on certification only, use certification as a means to understand and learn inner details of Java.
      Ideally I dont think you require any external classes for it. Just stick to the SCJP Guides, Head First Java book, some SCJP mock exams and that should do.

  22. thanks Mohamed Sanaulla for giving a right and more important your experience shared /information
    here .thank u so much……….how much time will take for the preperation……….

  23. Hey…Mohamed Sanaulla thanks for guidelines and sharing you experience with us ..
    i am planning to give exam of SCJP SE 6..but i heard that now new version is available of OCJP 7..please suggest which exam i should give..and what basic knowledge required..
    thnkx man 😀

    • I would suggest you take the latest version. I think There have been few changes in the syllabus and few new topics would have been added. Anyways Java 7 has a few changes from its previous version which I think is good to be aware of.

  24. Hi i am planning to give scjp. But i am confused whether to give scjp 1.6 or 1.7.
    Had programming experience of 3 yrs. Though i am j2ee developer. is it mandatory to clear
    core java exam before applying for j2ee certification

  25. Thanks for sharing your experience..

    One thing i want to know is that when and where these exams are conducted and procedure to attend the exams please let me know…

    Thanks in advance.

  26. thanks for sharing your experience… 3rd year student of cse
    recently am preparing for scjp, sir plz tell me which book i should prefer ..nd where these will be available…
    and one more thing sir sun certificate will help me in getting job……

    • I have mentioned the books in my blog post. Please read it again. You can purchase the books from the links I have shared in the post itself.
      I cannot guarantee that you can get a job for sure once you are certified. But you have an edge over other candidates being interviewed for Java Developer position. One thing to keep in mind is that with certification comes a greater responsibility to answer questions posed to you during the interviews.

  27. Hi I’m a fresher after my A/Ls (Physical Science) and I thought of learning Java, so what is the best way to study Java,I mean can I study my self or should I follow classes??
    Or should I prepare for this Exam as given in the post so will I be eventually thorough in Java Programming???

    -Thanks in Advance.

  28. Hi, Please explain me what is the draw back of doing ocjp6 instead of ocjp7, for doing ocjp7 its mandatory to cleared the OCA certification before. there is some financial problem from my side…. I would willing to go for ocjp6 because there is no eligible criteria for that…please confirm

  29. sir i m 3rd year student of cse and i want to certify myself in java programming how can i prepare myself in java programming and which book is better for me?

    • Hi, You can start with Head First Java. Its the best book for java beginners and is very practical. You have to code loads in Java.

      Once you are done with it you can pick Effective Java by Joshua Bloch

  30. excellent post. SCJP Guide is very useful..i read out many artical about java but this site is really helpful. thanks for sharing your great experience.i would like to say you must do following tips who are all going to will be very helpful for you.wonderful tips. Exam Preparationmust include listing out the topics to be read. Write all the headings alone and go through before leaving to the exam hall. Last minute reading will not help you out.Teach what you have learnt to others you will never forget the topic. This will give benefit to you as well as the person who is learning from you. Learn each topic with an example so that it makes the learning easy
    like that only i readout many artical but i am not readout few point which you are telling.keep it up.nice articles thanks for sharing such a informative content which is very useful for all.

  31. For OCAJP and OCPJP certification dumps contact me at [email-id removed], I cna provide latest and updated dumps in pdf format

    • Please avoid using dumps. Its a form of cheating in the exam and will not help you in learning the concepts. Its better to prepare well, code and understand the concepts and then appear for the exam.
      PS: I have removed your e-mail ID from the comment as I dont promote sharing on dumps.

  32. sir, i want to know when ocajp exam is going to be held in india .. and how many times a years does it used to be happen.. please tell me which is the latest certification. Also the fees??


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