Spring Study Notes - Copyright © 2010 Gavin Lasnitzki Index   Notes   Objectives

Core Spring Professional Certification Study Guides, Resources, Mock Exams

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I gathered these notes and resources to assist with my Spring Core Certification studies. I have not attended the Spring Core course as I am following the "Grandfather" stream. The contents of this site are my "best guess" at what is covered by the certification exam (based loosely on posting on the web, mock exams, Spring resources, etc.).

Using these resources, I passed the Spring 3.0 certification with a score of 88%.



About Spring Study Notes
This document was written to assist you in attaining the SpringSource Certified Spring Professional.
The information, notes, exams, etc. are mainly based on Spring 3.0


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1. Exam Information

1.1 Exam Details

  • Official certification site: Spring Core Certification
  • Exam type: Multiple choice
  • Passing score: 76% (38 of 50 questions)
  • Type of Questions - The type of questions asked in the exam are multiple-choice. Some questions have multiple answers (i.e a and b and c are correct). This is NOT always explicitly stated.
  • Time - The time allowed to complete this exam is 88 minutes, You are allowed to go back to earlier questions during the exam and can change the answers. No scheduled breaks are built into exam.
  • Results - Score is provided immediately at the end of the exam. Hard copy provided at test center and softcopy certificate sent by e-mail.
  • Retaking exams - Candidates who fail an exam must wait a period of thirty (30) calendar days, beginning the day after the failed attempt, before retaking the exam.Once passed, Spring exam may not be retaken.

1.2 Question Breakdown By Topic

This breakdown is not "official". See Jeanne Boyarsky's Spring 3.X Certification Experiences for more details.

  • Container and test (20)
  • AOP (10)
  • JDBC (3)
  • Transactions (4)
  • Web (2)
  • REST (2)
  • Remoting  (2)
  • Security (2)
  • JMS (2)
  • JMX (2)


2. Mock Exams

Exam Comment
Spring 3 Certification Mock

The best Spring mock exam.

See Jeanne Boyarsky's Spring 3.X Certification Experiences for an excellent blog on how she passed her certification.

Skill Guru Core Spring Mock 10 free and 40 paid questions
Very good questions available. See Ikoko's blog for more information.
Skill Guru Core Spring Mock 2 This exam is not as good as the first one. In the end I did not use it as it covers too many topics that are outside the scope of the certification.
Skill Guru Spring Transaction Management 10 free questions
Skill Guru Spring Fundamentals 13 free questions
Exam from www.developersbook.com 50 free questions
Not sure if it is related to the certification or just misc Spring questions.
Spring Sample Questions The only questions from Spring!!
Blackbelt Factory Exams

The following exams are also available:
Spring Core - Basic
Spring Core
Spring Transactions
Spring MVC
Spring Core Fundamentals

However, there is a complex contribution system that limits what you can see. Some of the exams offer "beta" questions or a limited number of exam questions.


3. Resources

3.1 Documentation

Resource Comment

Spring Framework 3.0.x

Spring Security 3.0.x

The Spring reference documentation.

${coreservlets.com} Spring Course Slides

Excellent tutorial and slides.


3.2 Examples

Resource Comment
Spring Samples A subversion repository with projects that can be built with maven and imported into STS/Eclipse.
Spring By Example A good repository with complete code samples and the ability to contribute your own samples.


3.3 Exam Topics

Resource Comment

Spring Certification Exam Topics 3.0 (PDF)

Exam objectives from the source!!

Spring Certification Exam Topics 2.5 (PDF)

Exam objectives from the source for the 2.5 certification!! Take a quick look but use the 3.0 ones instead.
Spring Core Training Outline (PDF) High level overview of what you should know after attending the course.


4. Spring 3.0 Study Notes and Advice

My notes are very, very heavily based on Jeanne Boyarsky's excellent Spring 3 Certification Study Notes (super big thank you!!). I have copied / reposted them, changed the formatting and added where I thought appropriate.

The major challenge with the Spring Certification is determining the scope of the exam. The Spring 2.5 exam had almost no reliable "objectives'. Thankfully, Spring 3 has comprehensive objectives (see Spring Certification Exam Topics 3.0 (PDF) ). As a result, I switched to the Spring 3.0 certification (and never looked back!!).

I believe these notes cover most of the material (and much of it in more depth than the exam). The exam focuses more on high level features / concepts (i.e. what can and can't feature X do, can this be applied to private methods, etc) than detailed syntax and implementation. Topics with "(Optional)" were added by Jeanne and ones with (Gavin) were added by me. As Jeanne indicated, most of these are not required for the certification. However, I added these topics before I did the exam and have not reviewed them after the exam so please take it as a guide (and study more material rather than less!!).

My advice for the exam is as follows:

  • If you are thinking of taking the Spring 2.5 certification... switch to Spring 3.0!! The objectives are much clearer and the scope much more limited. I switched half way through my studies and never looked back. Most of your Spring 2.5 knowledge is relevant. The biggest change between the versions was what was deprecated (i.e. removed) in Spring 3.0.
  • Read the questions very, very carefully. There were many tricky "negative" questions.
    For example, which of the following is NOT applicable to X...
    I had plenty of time to review my answers and corrected about 6 questions were I had initially misread the "negative" (either in the question or in the choices).
  • Know the Container, AOP and Transaction sections very well. I found the questions from the other sections pretty easy. Breakdown (as per Jeanne Boyarsky's Spring 3.X Certification Experiences) is:
    • Container and test (20)
    • AOP (10)
    • JDBC (3)
    • Transactions (4)
    • Web (2)
    • REST (2)
    • Remoting  (2)
    • Security (2)
    • JMS (2)
    • JMX (2)
  • Watch for tricks like mixing up the "client" or "server" features (especially for Remoting).
  • Know your AspectJ pointcut syntax and how to apply it.
  • Know your container lifecycle events and their order on execution.
  • Know how to turn on features like AspectJ AOP, component scanning, etc
  • Know how to apply Security url interceptor rules (especially if there are multiple rules that are applicable).
  • If in doubt, guess by giving Spring the benefit of the doubt.
    If you are asked: "Can Spring do a, b, c or all of the above?" and you do not know and can not confidently eliminate any answers, guess "all of the above" (PS This was my rule of thumb, no guarantees!!).

As far as mock exams go, use the Spring 3 Certification Mock. This is by far the best!! I did it many times. The questions are pretty easy and you should aim for around 90%. In the end I downloaded all the questions (about 220) and did one final run through before the exam. See detailed instructions on how I did this.

Click here to see my last minute Spring 3.0 Study notes.


5. Spring 2.5 Study Notes (Old, use Spring 3.0 Notes instead!!)

5.1 Spring 2.5 Objectives

5.2 Spring 2.5 Study Notes