Last week I passed my Spring Core 3.2 exam with a score of 92%. The goal of this post is to give some tips & tricks on how I managed to pass the exam that initially looked impossible for me to pass :)
The Spring Core training is a mandatory training prior to the exam. I followed the training somewhere in the beginning of this year, received my exam voucher a month later after requesting it and did the exam in December (yes, I’m a procrastinator). Looking back at the training I did have the feeling that it was useful to get myself started with Spring and to have a clear understanding of the different types of configurations. The labs you get during the training are extremely simple and you get way too much time to finish them.
While studying for the exam I felt as if the training lacked quite some details which became clear when I attempted to pass the mock exams.
During my first attempt to study for the exam I did write code that would reflect what I just learned from a chapter. Don’t do this ! It’s a waste of time as you simply can not develop everything that’s in the book.
My second attempt involved a more theoretical approach. I re-read the Spring book, a few chapters per day and I tried to summarize everything, especially paying attentions to all Spring-specific beans. I finished a few chapters but a lack of time was another excuse to procrastinate the exam.
My third attempt started began somewhere in December, yet again I started reading the book without taking notes which is such an utterly boring thing to do … more procrastination !
My last attempt to study for the exam was a good one ! This time I had some help from the internet:
This is just a site with some general information and many links to useful resources. It’s a bit outdated since Knowledge BlackbeltFactory has stopped a while ago :( .
A must read, it won’t help you pass the exam, but it’s definitely interesting to read. Her study notes are okay, but there’s a better one available.
Arnošt Havelka his Spring Core 3.2 Study Notes are probably the best ones available on the internet. These study notes helped me a lot and are a must have. I re-read the study notes before taking the exam, something you can’t do with the book. I did add some extra notes and remarks in his notes, mostly based on questions from the mock exams which I couldn’t reply to correctly.
Jeanne’s study notes are okay, but in the end I did not use them.
Spring Cert study notes are good too. I did not use them, but reading them won’t do any harm.
Core Spring 3.0 Certification Mock Exam : this is a fairly easy mock exam, maybe slightly more easy than the real one. The first time I had 61% (I was ill at the time) and the second time I scored a nice 84%
Spring Sample Question : I read them once, not interesting at all
Skill Guru Core Spring Mock exams: just buy them ! There are tons of useful information in these mocks and I wouldn’t have passed without them. They are however extremely difficult and even after getting 84% on the Core Spring 3.0 Certification Mock Exam I only managed to get ~63% on them. Many question are out of scope so don’t expect to get more than 85% unless you know the complete Spring Core reference manual.
Mock exam from Developer Book: I read it once, not interesting at all.
This zip at the end of this blog post: this zip contains a Knowledge BlackbeltFactory mock exam and several Skill Guru mock exams (the answer sheets don’t match the question sheets, that’s why it’s better to buy them). The Knowledge BlackbeltFactory exam is a good one. I scored 65% on this exam after which I re-studies everything.
Prior to the exam I re-read Arnošt’s study notes and some mock exams. After registering myself with two proofs of identity (ID-card and drivers license) and putting all my belongings in a locker I was allowed to start the exam. I can’t tell you a lot about the exam since you have sign a NDA, but there’s just one thing I’d like you to know (in spite of the things you’ll read on the internet):
- There are a lot of multiple choice questions with only one correct answer and it’s obvious because of the radio buttons :P
- There are few multiple choice question with one or more correct answers
That’s why the mock exams are not representative: these mock exams have mostly multiple choice questions with one or more answer which is extremely difficult.