The SCJP or Sun Certified Java Programmer exams have now been updated to J2SE 1.4 level  but still it remains most commonly known as just the SCJP exam. It is not only the name has been modified, but it has also become a bit more advanced and tricky exam so that earning a passing score becomes a tad more difficult compared to the past SCJP exams.

Back in August of 2002, the new version of the Sun Certified Java Programmer exam was updated by Sun Microsystems to reflect the updates made to the Java platform over the past few years. The result was 2 different SCJP versions: the SCJP 1.4 exam and the SCJP 1.2 exam. This is the first step for Java Certification offered by Sun Microsystems, and for many exam takers, the SCJP exam is the first step to developing a skill set and to become a competent and certified Java developer.

Here is a point by point assessment of SCJP 1.2 and SCJP 1.4 with a summary of the most significant changes which make the two exams differ from one another, and their contents.

Exam number 310-025 stands for SCJP 1.2  it has no prerequisite, and the exam itself consists of multiple choice, drag and drop, and short answers. There are a total of 59 questions and a 61% minimal passing score. Allotted time is 120 minutes (2 hours) and the cost is $150-$200.

Exam number 310-035 is SCJP 1.4. It also has no prerequisite, and is the same exam type with drag and drop, short answer and multiple choices. It has 61 questions but the minimal passing mark is 52%. Allotted time is 120 minutes (2 Hours) and at the price of $150-$200 locally priced.

If you think that the past versions of SCJP exams are no longer useful, to a certain extent you are correct. The SCJP exams keep changing from version to version so that what was once valuable in one exam may be considered obsolete knowledge in future exam versions.

A good way to use SCJP exam papers, though, is to help others coming to take the exam in the next batch learn from our experience. We can use any errors we made as a learning guide for any friends or acquaintances who might make similar errors during the exam itself. The good part about doing this is that we actually intensify our own learning curve and learning capacity when we tutor others. Somehow, the knowledge and skills get reinforced when we attempt to explain the concepts and applications to whoever we are helping.

When we keep making the same errors or types of errors over and over again, that may mean we did not understand the concept itself, or the question as it was phrased. It may also mean we got tired during the process or became careless in thinking about and answering the question.

One tactic that you might employ yourself or advise others to do is to mix up different mock exams and their questions. This actually renders the mock SCJP exam papers more difficult to take, even with prolonged time periods set aside for taking the mock exams. And we know it is true that the more difficult our exam preparation was, the easier the real exam becomes and the more confident we become.

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