Study materials and an exam review for Pivotal Certified Spring Web Application Developer Exam 4.2, with flash-cards and study notes.
After finishing the official Spring Web Training, you receive a voucher for the certification exam. This voucher is free and cannot be obtained without the training. If you fail the exam, another voucher can be bought for $ 150 and the exam can be taken after at least six weeks.
Beware, that in the previous versions of the exam, the certification voucher was valid for 12 months after the training. Official study guide (see bellow) also states 12 months. However, this was changed and the voucher now expires after only 3 months. However, I still recommend taking the exam not too long after the training, so the memory is still fresh.
- The exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions (usually single correct answer, rarely multiple), where 38 (76%) must be answered correctly to pass.
- It is computer based and the interface is easy no understand and navigate.
- It can be taken in a Pearson Vue certified test center.
- There is 90 minutes to complete the test, which is more than enough – it can safely be completed in half the time even with reviewing the questions again.
- There are only topics covered by the training.
- I was required to provide two identity documents (eg. ID card and driving license).
- There were no personal items whatsoever allowed in the exam room and the room was under video surveillance. You’ll be provided with a marker and a erasable board for your notes.
- You are not required to write any code.
- Advanced topics covered after a LAB slide in each block are not part of the exam.
- (Note that all the info above is public and can be found in the official study guide or other sources and does not violate the exam NDA)
Overall the exam was not too hard and you should be able to complete it if you pay attention during the training, do the lab exercises and and study the slides. The good news is it is not about memorising API, but more about understanding the concepts. In that sense the questions are very well designed. Much better than the Oracle Java Exams, where it is often very important to study not only the topics, but actual question types and watch out for tricky questions. There were no tricky questions in the Spring exam.
There is an official Spring_Web_4.2_Study_Guide, which describes the certification process and some FAQs. What’s more important, there is a list of areas and topics covered in the exam. That is valuable as a checklist whether you are ready for the exam and also a guide to determine what to focus on when studying.
Beware, that the Study Guide currently available (as of 27.6.2016) on mylearn.vmware.com is obsolete (dated April 2011) – it is intended for the older version of the exam. Most up-to date version can be found on Pivotal Academy page.
Here are available my personal study notes. They cover all the topics required to know for the certification. As they are available on GitHub, feel free to add more info or correct anything and create a pull request. Note that code listings provided are usually more for illustration purposes and do not need to be memorised. During the exam you are not required to write code snippets or exactly know all the API and details.
I have created set of flashcards using Anki software. The contents are basically derived from my study notes. Anki provides desktop client as well as mobile applications to study on the go.
The deck contains 200 questions and can be downloaded here.
The downloaded deck file can be imported in Anki using File → Import.
If you have some extra time, there is a good book covering the certification exam – Pivotal Certified Spring Web Application Developer Exam: A Study Guide by Iuliana Cosmina. It if definitely worth reading. But be aware, that the book is for 4.0 version of the exam, but the current latest version of the training and the exams is 4.2. Topics covered by the book no longer fully match the exam. For example, one of the major chapters of the book – Spring Web Flow (110 pages) is no longer part of the exam.
The exam is not too hard and with a proper preparation you should be able to pass it without problems. I highly recommend to do all the lab exercises. If you have extra time, it is useful to read the certification book, but it is not necessary. After reading the official slides, I recommend to continue with my study notes and flash-cards as they contain the same information, but only in a more condensed form, which is better if you already have grasp of the basics.