How to Prepare for Java Certifications like OCAJP, OCPJP, or Java SE 11 Developer?

There is No doubt that Oracle's Java certification is one of the most valuable certifications for the IT industry and helps you to get a better job, better pay, and a better rise in your current salary. It also improves your recognition and job prospects because many big clients demands certified Java programmers for their mission-critical applications. Because of enormous popularity and usefulness, many Java developers and computer science graduates aspire for Java certifications. I often receive queries like, what is the best way to prepare for Java certifications like OCAJP or OCPJP?

Or I am already coding in Java, do I need to make explicit for this exam to do well or my Java development experience is enough? I have 5 years of experience in Java, do I need to prepare for OCAJP 8, Java SE 11 Developer, or OCPJP 8 exam? Etc.

These are some of the frequently asked questions you might have or might have seen all over the internet. I do receive many such questions over emails and Facebook chat. Hence I decided to share my approach to prepare well for Java certifications.

This is the same approach I followed many years ago when I pass several Java certifications, like Sun Certified Java Programmer, Sun Certified Web Component Developer, Sun Certified Mobile Application Developer and even though certifications and exam topics have changed the process to prepare for Oracle Certified Java exams are still relevant.

If you have been browsing Java certification forums on CodeRanch especially OCAJP and OCPJP certifications and have read success stories you have realized that there are many everyday things on successful candidates,. they all read a good study guide, they all have done several mock exams from Enthuware or Whizlabs, and they all recommend coding daily.

In fact, that's exactly as I did when I completed my Java certification a few years ago. I had solved almost every single free mock exam available on the internet along with mock exams from Whizlabs and Enthuware.

I had the confidence to tell which answer is correct, and why? As well as why a particular answer is not correct and with god grace, I did very well on the exam. I have just refined that process a little bit as per my experience and presented it here.

The Java Certification RoadMap and Guide

Based on my experience here is the process to crack any Java certifications like OCAJP, OCPJP, Java SE 11 Developer certification, and others. This process will not only ensure that you will pass the Java certification on the first attempt but also help you to score high, which will give you an edge over other candidates during interviews, promotions, and other places in your career.

1. Understand Exam Process and Format

The one thing which is really tricky about Oracle Java certifications is the exam process and format. Even though the questions are multiple-choice questions, the format is not pre-defined or written in stone.

The better way is to familiarize yourself with the process of the certification you are giving like OCMJEA requires multiple exams to be passed and you not only have to solve multiple-choice questions but also you need to write essays and design documents.

Similar to become Java SE 8 certified developer, you need to clear both the OCAJP 8 (1Z0-808) and OCPJP 8 (1Z0-809) exam and the same is not true for Java SE 11 certification, which earlier requires you to pass OCAJP 11 (1Z0-815) and OCPJP 11 (1Z0-816) exam but now you can become a certified Oracle Java Professional by passing just a single exam 1Z0-819. 

Regarding the format of questions on the exam, you may get questions with just one correct answer or multiple correct answers. You may get fill in the blanks or word arrangement type of questions. The best place to get yourself familiar with the exam format is to buy an excellent mock exam, e.g. Enthuware, Whizlabs, or David Mayer's Java 8 Certification Questions.

2. Read the Syllabus

This is one of the common mistakes many Java developers and programmers aspiring for Oracle Java certification make. They don't even look at the Syllabus hoping that the book or study guide they are reading will cover everything.

Well, this is more or less true because study guides generally do an excellent job of covering exam topic but they are not perfect, especially if you are preparing for updated exams like 1Z0-805 to upgrade to Java SE 7 from Java 6 or before, 1Z0-810 for upgrading to Java 8 certification from Java SE 7 certifications, and 1Z0-813 for upgrading to Java 8 from SCJP 6 or before.

A quick glance is enough to start with and just keep looking at it once in a while, you will find something which you have not covered yet.

3. Join an online course

A good online course can be a difference between the success and failure of your certification journey. I have been learning from books for quite a long time but after using courses I can say that online courses provide more active learning.

Don't get me wrong. Books still have their place but using an online course means you will learn the most important concepts quickly. If you are preparing for Java certifications, here are some of my recommended courses

  1. The Complete Java MasterClass 
    An in-depth course to learn Java from scratch. It's also the most up-to-date course which covers new features from Java 8, Java 9, Java 10,  and Java 11

  2. Java SE 11 Developer 1Z0-819 OCP Course - Part 1
    A two-part course to prepare for Java SE 11 Developer certification exam. You can buy this course for just $10 on Udemy sale. This course is created by Tim Buchalaka and his team, instructor of the previous course. 

  3. Oracle Java Certification - Pass the Associate 1Z0-808 exam
    A companion course that is focused on OCAJP 8 or 1Z0-808 certification exam. 

The first course is mandatory for all Java certifications while the second course is useful if you are preparing for the OCAJP 8 exam. If you need more choices, you can also check out this list of Recommended Java Certification courses for programmers.

4. Use a Study Guide

It doesn't matter whether you are a fresh computer science graduate or a Java programmer with 5 years of experience, you must take a good book or study guide relevant for your Java certification. Why?

Because Java is vast and even after working in Java for years, there is a good chance that you might not be exposed to all the topics covered in exams like many Java developers are not familiar with NIO or Localization because they hardly get a chance to work on that.

A good study guide will ensure that you are exposed to all exam topics, e.g. example if you are preparing for  OCAJP 8, you can use Mala Gupta's OCAJP 8 Study guide for preparation.

How to Prepare for Java Certifications like OCAJP, OCPJP, or OCEJWCD?

5. Code, Read, and Code

Daily Coding is the single most reason which can make a difference in you just passing the Java 8 exam or scoring well, i.e. above 90%. You must develop a habit of writing code daily, running a Java program, and see the result yourself. This will encourage you to experiment with the code and analyze how changing one line of code makes a difference.,

You learn more when you do things, and that's why you should develop the habit of writing a small program to test the Java concepts you learn by reading the study guide and doing mock tests. This will help you to remember them for a long time.

"Coding without reading" and "Reading without Coding" are just like "Thinking without doing" and "doing without Thinking." Since they're only two people who fail, who think but don't do anything, and those who just do without thinking, so you must learn from this tip and both code and read daily.

You will also get a Java Certified T-Shirt if you complete your Java certification before 30th June 2017.

6. Solve Practice Questions 

Other than solving practice questions given in your study guide or books, you would also need to solve a  reasonable number of practice tests before you take the real exam. That will help you to assess your topic-wise preparation level and concentrate your preparation on weak areas.

It will also give you a chance to be familiar with the variety of Java certification exam questions and set the right expectations. For example, if you are preparing for OCAJP 8 or OCPJP 8, and you want to take a look at some of the sample questions, you can try Whizlab's Free OCAJP 8 Practice Questions.

7. Choose Good Exam Simulators

Even though you can easily clear the OCAJP, OCPJP, or Java SE 11 Developer exam or Java SE 17 Developer certification exam without buying an exam simulator, I strongly recommend buying a good simulator for doing better. They help you to score high as well as improve your knowledge of the Java programming language by presenting some tricky and hard questions.

I have learned so many core Java concepts by doing mock tests because I found my mind is more attentive when I do mock tests in a real exam-like scenario.

You should find a quiet place for 2 and a half hours and do the mock tests to check your knowledge, speed, and accuracy. Once you are done with the mock tests, you first analyze each wrong answer and why they were wrong.

After that, you should also check the right answers and explanations given by Whizlabs or Enthuware, Sometimes you discover the information you didn't know.  This is the best way to take most of your mock tests.

If you are preparing for OCAJP 8 and OCPJP 8, I recommend you to buy Whizlab's Java 8 Exam simulator, you can get a 25% discount if you buy both OCA and OCP simulators, just use the coupon code "JAVACOMBO2"

8. Join a forum

To do well on Java certifications like OCAJP, OCPJP, or Java SE 11 Developer,  you have to keep yourself well-informed as well as motivated. By participating in a good Java certification forum, you will not only know about recent changes in exam topics or structures but also read many success stories of Java certification candidates. This will allow you to check your preparation process and learn from their experience.

It is also true that when you prepare for Java certification, you get doubts, and you need someone to help you and provide guidance. By registering in a good Java certification forum like CodeRanch or Oracle Java certification forums, you can post questions and discuss certification exam preparation-related queries. This will be helpful for your study.

How to Prepare for Java Certifications

That's all about how to prepare for Oracle Java certification. You can follow these steps to prepare actually any Oracle Java exams, like OCAJP, OCPJP, Oracle Certified Expert, Java EE 6 Web Component Developer, and Enterprise Architect level exam, like OCMJEA. All you need to do is choose the right book, right exam simulator, and right forum to discuss your queries and problems. That should do the trick.

Useful Resources for OCAJP 8 and OCPJP 8 Exams

Useful Resources for Java SE 11 Developer (OCPJP 11) Exam
Useful Resources for Java SE 17 Developer (OCPJP 17) Exam

Thanks for reading this article so far. If you like this Oracle Java certification guide and roadmap then please share it with your friends and colleagues. If you have any questions or feedback then please drop a note.

All the best for your Java certification preparation.


  1. Every issue of Java Magazine ( publishes sample questions for both OCA and OCP, with very detailed answers, including advice on how to handle other similar questions on the exams. The section of the magazine is written by one of the authors of the certification exams.

  2. Nobody in the industry cares about certificates for a programmer. In fact, when we have one in the interview we go extra hard on him to let him show he doesn't know jack shit.

  3. Here are some of the free Java certification dumps and sample questions from the Oracle itself:
    8 questions -
    8 question -

    They just contain 8 to 10 questions but very useful and not easy to answer, so you can check how ready you for the real exam.

  4. These 1z0-809 dumps are still valid. Just passed today with 780 scores in one go.


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