In this post I’d like to share my experience regarding Core Spring course and exam.
Core Spring course
This was a 4-days course which was a mandatory stage to receive a voucher for an exam. The general structure of the course was:
- Lectures delivered by trainer
- Labs (supported by trainer)
Every participant got a Lecture Manual, Student Notebook and a pen. The first thing is the core source of knowledge and the latter is a great place to do notes using the included pen:)
The course takes into account the following general objectives :
- Aspect Oriented Programming (AOP)
- Data access and transactions
- Spring model-view-controller (MVC)
The course made a good impression on me. Even though the range of material is vast, the structure of course and a way of teaching created a clear picture as a whole.
Learning Core Spring
Learning can be understand in terms of preparation for the exam. I wanted to do something more than just pass an exam. My goal was to get deep understanding of the spring container and have a working knowledge of the all other exam objectives. It is great to memorize gained knowledge after taking exam as long as possible.
My learning process
- I attended the Core Spring 4-days course in late November 2013.
- In February 2014 I read twice a Lecture Manual and notes written during the course.
- Next I did all the labs. I also played around with code to exercise different cases, mainly regarding Container and AOP.
- After that I read the spring framework reference  (70% of all content) focusing especially on the content mentioned in the course.
- Read the Lecture Manual again.
- Went through some mock tests which were quite difficult and rather out of real exam scope.
- Read again some parts of the reference manual (AOP and Container).
- Some code exercise.
- Read the Lecture Manual again.
I passed the SpringSource Certified Spring Professional (based on Spring 3.2) exam on 1st of April, 2014 with a score of 98%. There were single choice and multiply choice questions. The most difficult questions were some of those with multiply choice. Attention should be also paid on questions with a word NOT or other kind negation (incorrect, invalid and so on) in a content. Besides that, questions were rather straightforward and non scenario-based which are on the Java EE 5 Business Component Developer Exam. There were 50 questions and 90 minutes to complete the exam.
It is important to be aware of the content of a Lecture Manual. The exam expectation is to have a knowledge of objectives defined in the Certification Study Guide . The guide says: “Most of the questions will be very general, however you will be asked a few advanced questions”. The Lecture Manual covers most content quite general and puts emphasis on selected parts by bold text, clouds with an additional information. There are also pictures with a very short description. Additional resources like reference manual  comes here with help to get better understanding what is behind those pictures.
Attending the course, preparing for the exam was a great opportunity to became more familiarized with Spring Framework. A certification and taking exam in general is usually a strong motivating factor to learn something on a profound level. I encourage to read other Core Spring Training/Exam reviews , , ,  and share us with your experience.