The Sun Certified Java Programmer' (or SCJP) exam, designated CX-310-055 by Sun, is the entry level Java exam and is a prerequisite to a number of the other Java-related certifications. It is designed to demonstrate that the programmer has met a fairly detailed test of basic knowledge of the essentials of the Java programming language. It tests only for the essentials of the language such as classes, looping constructs and variables, and does not cover specific technologies such as GUI creation, Web or network programming.
The exam is taken at a Prometric test center, and to take the test a candidate must buy a voucher from Sun.

The two most popular versions of SCJP are for java 1.4 & 1.5. The Exam Codes are:

SCJP 1.4 : 310-035, SCJP 1.5 : 310-036

The version of the test based on Java 1.4 is quite popular as it is generally considered easier than the Java 1.5 exam.

One of the main goals of this new exam is to create a test that is "performance based" rather than "knowledge based" (Sun's terms). Generally what this means is that a "knowledge based" question focuses on memorization of details, and a "performance based" question focuses on more real world activities like actually writing code.

The SCJP Java 5 exam tests a candidate on knowledge of declarations, access control, object orientation, assignments, operators, flow control, assertions, string handling, I/O, parsing, formatting, generics, collections, inner classes, threads and the JDK tools.

With each new release of Java, Sun releases a new version of the exam. The current version is aimed at the JDK 1.5 release of Java. The newest version of the exam introduces "drag and drop questions". Thus the JDK 1.5 exam introduces variable arguments, autoboxing, and generic types, and it drops the bit shifting topics from previous exams.
The test is available in English, Japanese, Chinese, German, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish.

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