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Head First EJB by Bert Bates, Kathy Sierra

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About the SCBCD exam

Do I first have to pass the SCJP?

Yep. The Business Component Developer exam, the Web Component Developer exam, and the Developer exam all require you to be a Sun Certified Java Programmer.

How many questions?

You’ll get 70 questions when you take the exam. Not everyone gets the same 70 questions; there are many different versions of the exam. But everyone gets the same degree of difficulty, and the same balance of topics. On the real exam, expect to see at least one question from each exam objective, and there are a few objectives where you’ll get more than one question.

How much time do I get to complete the exam?

You get two hours (120 minutes). Most people don’t find this to be a problem, because these questions don’t lend themselves to long, complicated, puzzles. Most questions are very short multiple-choice, and you either know the answer or you don’t.

What are the questions like?

They are almost exactly like our mock exam questions, with one big difference—the real exam tells you how many answers are correct, where we do not. You will see a handful of drag-and-drop questions, however, that we can’t do here. But drag-and-drop questions are just the interactive way of matching one thing to another.

How many do I have to answer correctly?

You must get 45 questions right (64%) to pass the exam. When you finish answering all of the questions, hold your mouse cursor over the done button until you have the courage to click it. Because in, like, six nanoseconds, you’ll know whether you passed (of course you will.)

Why don’t the mock exams in the book tell you how many to choose?

We want our exams to be just a little more difficult than the real exam, to give you the most realistic picture of whether you’re ready to take the exam. People tend to get higher scores on book mock exams because they retake the same test more than once, and we don’t want you to get a false picture of your readiness to take the exam.

What do I get after I take the exam?

Before you leave the testing center, be sure to get your exam report. It shows a summary of your score in each major area, and whether you passed or failed. Keep this! It’s your initial proof that you’ve been certified. A few weeks after the test, you’ll get a little package from Sun Educational Services that includes your real printed certificate, a congratulations letter from Sun, and a lovely lapel pin that says Sun Certified Business Component Developer in a font so incredibly small that you could pretty much claim to be certified in anything you like, and nobody could read it to tell the difference. It does not include the alcohol you’ll be wanting after you pass the exam.

How much does it cost, and how do I register?

The exam costs US $150. Which is why you need this book... to make sure you pass the first time. You register through Sun Educational Services, by giving them your credit card number (so the employees can skip off to Mexico with it). In exchange, you’ll get a voucher number, that you’ll use to schedule an appointment at a Prometric Testing Center nearest you.

To get the details online and buy an exam voucher, start at: http://suned.sun.com. If you’re in the US, go to http://suned.sun.com/US/certification. If you’re not in the US, you can select a country from the main page.

What’s the exam software like?

It’s dead simple to use—you get a question, and you answer it. If you don’t want to answer it, you can skip it and come back to it later. If you do answer it, but aren’t sure, and you want to come back to it if you have more time, you can “mark” a question. Once you’re done, you’ll see a screen that shows all of the questions you haven’t answered, or have marked, so that you can go back to them.

At the very beginning of the exam you’ll get a short tutorial on how to use the software, where you get a little practice test (not on EJB). The time you spend in the tutorial does not count as time spent on the EJB exam. The clock doesn’t start until you’ve finished the exam software tutorial and you’re ready to begin.

Where can I find a study group, and how long will it take to prepare?

The best online discussion group for this exam just happens to be the one that the authors moderate! (Gosh, what are the odds?) Stop by javaranch.com and go to the Big Moose Saloon (that’s where all the discussion forums are). You can’t miss it. There will always be someone there to answer your questions, including us. Javaranch is the friendliest Java community on the internet, so you’re welcome no matter what level you’re at with Java. If you still need to take the SCJP, we’ll help you with that one too.

How long it takes you to get ready for the exam depends a lot on how much EJB experience you’ve had. If you’re new to EJB, you might need anywhere from three to ten weeks, depending on how much time you can devote to it each day.

Why is the exam based on J2EE 1.3 instead of the new 1.4?

Sun’s exams are meant to certify those candidates with a minimum of six months experience with the technology. Does that mean the SCBCD should be updated once J2EE 1.4 has been out for six months? No. Because companies aren’t going to migrate their servers to 1.4 on the day it’s released. The exam won’t be upgraded for J2EE 1.4 until after enough companies are using it in the industry. It won’t do you—or a potential employer—any good for you to walk in and say, “Hey, I’m certified on this technology that’s the latest and greatest and, well, I realize that nobody is really using it yet but...” Sun’s exams are not just about, “How much do you know?”, but “How much can you apply?” These are considered professional exams, and many of the questions are written in such a way to test whether you understand the implications of the things that you know about how EJB works.

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