When a candidate shows up at the local testing center at the appointed time, she will be escorted to her own little cubicle with a desktop computer. The test will be conducted in this cubicle, using a testing program on the computer. The program will ask questions, record answers, and tabulate scores.
Candidates will not be allowed to bring personal belongings or food with them to the cubicle. During the exam, candidates will be allowed to make notes on a single piece of paper, but they will not be allowed to take these notes with them after the exam. Quite often the exam area is fitted with security cameras.
The exam consists of 61 questions, which must be answered within 2 hours. The questions vary in difficulty. Some are easy and some are hard. With about 2 minutes on average to answer each question, the candidate cannot afford to get stuck on the hard questions. If the answer does not become apparent within a reasonable time, it is advisable to move on to the next question. Time permitting, it is possible to return to the unanswered questions later.
An experienced Java programmer used to taking exams should be able to complete the exam well within the allotted time. Any remaining time is best used reviewing the answers.
The computer program used to conduct the exam will select a set of questions at random, and present them through a graphical user interface. The interface is designed in such a way that candidates are able to move back and forth through the questions for reviewing purposes. Questions can be temporarily left unanswered, and the candidate can return to them later. Before the exam starts, the candidate is allowed a test run with the computer program. A demo test that has nothing to do with the Java exam is used. Its sole purpose is to allow the candidate to get acquainted with the program being used to conduct the exam.
Immediately after the completion of the exam, the program will present the candidate with the following information:
An indication of whether the candidate passed or failed. A score of 52% (32 of 61) or more correct answers is needed to pass the exam.
The total score. All the questions are weighted equally, and the score is calculated based on the percentage of correct answers. No credit is given for partially correct answers.
Indications on how well the candidate did on each of the categories of the objectives. Candidates who fail the exam should pay close attention to this information. If the candidate is planning to retake the exam, it may give a good indication of which topics need closer attention.
However, the program will not divulge which questions were answered correctly.