How to pass the Sun Certified Java Programmer (SCJP 6)

Yesterday I passed the test for “Sun Certified Java Programmer (SCJP 6)” with 83 percent. Here are my experiences about doing the certification and the hints I can give you.

How to pass the SCJP 6

Yesterday I passed the test for “Sun Certified Java Programmer (SCJP 6)” with 83 percent. Here are my experiences about doing the certification and the hints I can give you.

What should you keep in mind before starting your preparation for the exam?

– The preparation is a lot more time-consuming than I thought, also for experienced java developers.

You really improve your programming skills a lot (As many other people, I doubted this fact when I started learning for the exam and looking at these tricky, non-practical code snippets).

– You should do the preparation and test in English language – almost no good non-English resources are available. At least, I can speak for the German language.

Do not care about the score. Personally, I also do not care  – I just wanted to pass the exam. But I was prepared very well and some wrong answers happened only because some questions are not clear in my opinion. E.g. the questions about encapsulation, coupling, inheritance and cohesion are not clear – sometimes several answer look correct to me.

My (bad) experiences with the “Prometric Test Center”:

– There are plenty of test centers worldwide. You can choose the date and time very flexible, it is no problem to book only one day before an exam.

– There is no quality assurance for the registered test centers. “My” test center was awkward: A lot of noise, a defect lamp, a very bad display. Next time, I will choose another one. If you can, ask some colleagues for their experiences in your area.

– The time (3 hours for 60 questions) started when you had to read the license where you have to confirm with yes. 🙁 So I think nobody reads the license because it has many pages…

– I had no technical problems with drag and drop questions (as I have read from some other guys).

– I registered directly at Prometric ( for the test. I did NOT get an invoice with my company’s name! So there are huge problems to get the money back from my company, because they need an invoice with their company’s address on it.

I contacted Prometric, and I got the following answer: “Please be informed that Prometric does not send out invoices in a company name. The file is in the candidate name and therefore the receipt is always addressed to the candidate.

Which resources should you use to prepare for the exam?

In my opinion, the following three resources are sufficient (and also there is no good alternative):

– The book “SCJP Sun Certified Programmer for Java 6 Study Guide” (Author: Kathy Sierra): This book explains every important fact for the exam. It also contains some realistic Q&A and two full mock exams.

– SCJP forum at I got an answer to each question within twelve hours. Great!

ExamLab ( Some (very tough) mock exams, for free. I think you need to do some of these because the ones included by the above book do not contain all pitfalls. Beware: These mock questions are very tough! If you can reach 50 percent here, you will probably pass the real exam.
I propose every Java developer to do the exam,  but if you have time to prepare only after work or at the weekend, plan at least six months for it.

If you have any comments about my experiences, let me know…

Best regards,
Kai Wähner (Twitter: @KaiWaehner)

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  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences! This helps me a lot while preparing for the SCJP myself.


  2. Thanks for sharing your experience, it helped me! Today I passed SCJP 6 with 81% score, although got only 50% in final exam.

  3. hello
    thanks for sharing you experience about the exam preparation. i am planning to start the preparation but not got enough time to study any kind of book..
    can you share which type of topic are questioned in exam and how much topic we need to study i want some to the point study

  4. Hey,

    as I recommended, use this book: “SCJP Sun Certified Programmer for Java 6 Study Guide” (Author: Kathy Sierra). This book explains every important fact for the exam – and nothing else!
    It also contains some realistic Q&A and two full mock exams.

    If you learn with this book you will pass the exam. But remember: It is very time-consuming to pass the SCJP…

    Best regards,
    Kai Wähner (Twitter: @KaiWaehner)

  5. hi Kai
    I have some basic knowledge of Java and would like to improve my skills. I was thinking of taking either the SCJP or the SCJA, although I’d prefer to go for the first one. I don’t really care about the score but I just want to learn something and pass the exam. However, I am busy with working and I don’t want to spend all my spare time for preparing. The following guy claims that he passed the exam with only 25h of preparation without much Java experience:
    In contrast you are saying that you recommend to study for 6 months. Do you reckon that studying 2 months, 1 hour per day is not enough? Would it be enough for the SCJA? Thanks for your feedback…

  6. Hi Eric,

    in my opinion the SCJA does not make any sense. It is just for Java basics. You do not really need a certification for this. The SCJP really makes sense.

    Of course, the time for preparation depends on your Java knowledge. With “just” basic knowledge, you cannot make the SCJP in 40 hourse. I assume just reading the book takes about 20 hours or so 🙂

    I would propose you to take a look at the book. Check how much do you know already. You learn a lot, even by just reading the book without doing the certification. I had more than just “basic Java knowledge” (of course there is no definiton for “basic”), and most of the book content was new for me…


    Best regards,


  7. Thanks for this useful experience sharing…
    EPractize Labs provides the SCJP 6 Certification Training Kit for this certification. You all may be try free demo.. it have a time estimator for you to calculate your practicing hours.

    Good Luck

  8. Hi guys i want to write ocjp exam bt i have no programming background can i do it in 2months just by reading the book you guys are recommending

    1. Clearly, the answer is NO! Without a lot of coding experience, you cannot pass the exam. I do not think that you can learn it and get so much experience in this time window.

  9. Practical experience is the only way to pass it, IMO. After doing some months of Java coding, you can use the book to learn the details and do the exam.

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