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Here are the steps to become an Oracle Certified Associate - Java Professional:

1. Understand the Java Certification versions and their validity

One good thing about Oracle Java Certifications is that they never become invalid. Thus, once you are certified for a particular version of Java, then you will always remain certified for that version. They do become obsolete though. For example, if you are certified for Java 8 version and the Java 9 o Java 10 version of the exam is released, your certification may not be as valuable. The older certificate doesn't become invalid but just a little old. Therefore, it is always best to go for the latest version of the certification available.

Upgrade Exams - Oracle releases upgrade exams that allow you to upgrade from an older certificate to the latest one. For example, Exam Code 1Z0-813 and 1Z0-810 are upgrade exams that enable a Java 6 or Java 7 certificate holder to upgrade to Java 8 certification.

As of now, Java 8 is the most recent version; therefore, start with the Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 8 Programmer certification i.e. OCAJP 8 1z0-808. The exam of this certification is composed of basic Java and object oriented programming questions. You can find detailed information about this certification by visiting the Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 8 Programmer certification site. Oracle has come up with an even more basic level of Java certification called Java Foundations Certified Junior Associate. This certification is for school students. This is a good certification if you are a Java beginner but we recommend going for the OCAJP 8 certification because it is a required certification to acquire other higher level certifications.

2. Read Recommended Books

Although Java certifications focus mostly on fundamentals, they do contain topics that are rarely used as well. Therefore, irrespective of how much experience you have, you should go through at least one certification book. Java Certification books make sure you don't miss any important topic that is on the exam.

  • For OCAJP 8 exam, we recommend, "Oracle Certified Associate Java SE 8 Programmer Fundamentals" by Hanumant Deshmukh

3. Solve Mock Exams/Sample Tests

The exams contain tricky questions and even if you have a few years of Java development experience, you will trip while answering the exam questions. Therefore, it is better to prepare by solving as many questions similar to those encountered in the exams as possible. Enthuware offers the best mock exam s/w. It is also very reasonably priced. Usually, people score about 5-10% more on the real exam than what they score on Enthuware mock exams.

4. Register and Buy Vouchers

To enter a certification exam you need to register with the Oracle Education System and buy an electronic voucher. One exam voucher is nearly $245. It is valid for 6 months from the date of purchase. In case you fail the exam, one can register again after 14 days to retake it.

Here's the Oracle Education Exam registration link.

5. Locate Exam Place and Time

After registration and buying a voucher, when you're ready to take the exam, you can use the Pearsonvue organization to find a suitable place and time to take the exam. Exams may also be rescheduled if need be prior to the exam date.

6. Check Your Results

Within 30 minutes after taking an exam, you can get your score via email. Therefore, you can learn the outcome of your exam very quickly. After all controls, 3-4 days after, certifications are sent electronically. You can check your eCertificate here.

That's it!