Java Certification, Programming, JavaBean and Object Oriented Reference Books
Java Exam Notes

This page contains notes generated while studying for the exam. The idea (at the time) was to note all the issues which appeared to crop up in various mock exams which caused me to doubt my understanding of Java. It also acted as a list of review topics and "things I must remember".

The following are in no particular order.

Collection Framework

Set cannot contain duplicate elements

List is an ordered collection

Map maps keys to values – duplicate keys not allowed.

new Vector(x, y) ---- x = init capacity, y = capacity increment

Inner Classes:

Inner classes (not defined in a method) have access to all class and instance variables, regardless of access qualifier (ie, it works for private, static, protected, etc).

Inner classes defined inside a method, have access to all class variables regardless of access qualifier. However, access to method parameters and method local variables is possible only if they are declared as final.

Variables inside inner classes cannot be static unless the inner class itself is static.

Inner classes can be declared as private, normal classes cannot.

The inner class can actually inherit from the outer class.

Class Hierarchies

Sibling classes cannot be assigned to each other, even with an explicit cast. This will cause a compile error.

For example…

class Parent{}

class Derived1 extends Parent{}

class Derived2 extends Parent {}

Parent p = new Parent();

Derived1 d1 = new Derived1();

Derived2 d2 = new Derived2()

d1 = d2;

Casting down a hierarchy is possible with an explicit cast (it will compile). However, a ClassCastException will be thrown at run-time (RuntimeException subclass – not catchable!)

For example…

d1 = (Derived1) p;
The following will compile:
public class TestApplication {
public static void main (String args[]){

CellPhone c = new CellPhone();




class Phone{

final void dial911(){}

class CellPhone extends Phone{

void emergency(){



In other words, CellPhone has direct access to the non-private methods (final or otherwise) in the parent class (here dial911()).

An abstract method can’t be declared as static.

When declaring a method abstract, there is no {} (eg, abstract void Test();)

Creating Arrays

The following are valid array declarations…
int []a[] = new int[10][10];

int a[][] = new int [10][10];

int []a = {1,2,3};

The following are NOT valid:
int a[10][10] = new int [][];

int [3] a = {1,2,3};

Wrapper Classes

Wrapper Classes (Integer, Boolean, Character, etc) are final and can’t be subclassed.

String and StringBuffer are also final.



Wait(), notify() and notifyAll() are defined in the Object class.

These can only be called from synchronised code.

The following will stop a thread from executing:

The following won’t stop a thread:
wait() returns InterruptedException (needs to be in a try block).

yield() and sleep() are static (can be called by Thread.sleep()).


When an exception is thrown, the finally clause is executed. Any code outside the try clause is not executed.

A try block always needs a catch or a finally block (either one, but not none).

If an exception is caught in a catch block, it is considered handled, and execution continues after the try block.


Interfaces don’t have constructors – can’t instantiated an interface.

The "this" keyword cannot be used without a corresponding instance of an object.

It is possible to call other constructors or a class by simply using "this(xxx)" (where xxx is the arg constructor in question):

For example:

class aClass{
aClass(int a) {}

aClass(String s, int a){



Here, "this(a)" calls the aClass(int a) constructor. Similarly, calling "this()" will call the default constructor. The same applies to "super(xxx)" when calling parent constructors.

The instanceof operator will cause a compile time error if the compiler can prove that the check is meaningless (ie, there is no inheritence).

If the instanceof operator refers to an interface, it returns true if the interface is implemented.

The key word is "instanceof", not "instanceOf"

Printing a String as follows, will simply print out the letters "null" (ie, if the string is not assigned a value):

Access qualifiers can appear in any order.
public static void main(String [] args)
is the same as
static public …..

The following will print out the 4 char string "true":
boolean b = true;



All methods for String use indexes from zero.

String s = "abcdecfghi";


displays "e"


String s = "abcdecfghi";


displays "cd"

The following compiles and displays "eddie"
if ("abcdecfghi".startsWith("abc"))

String does not have an append() method.

StringBuffer does.

None of the String methods work with StringBuffers (so s.concat(StringBuffer) will cause a compile error)



1. String s = "abcde";

2. StringBuffer s1 = new StringBuffer("abcde");

3. if (s.equals(s1))

4. s1 = null;

5. if (s1.equals(s))

6. s = null;

Line 4 won’t execute because String.equals() will return true if and only if the argument is not null and is a String object that represents the same sequence of characters as this object.

Line 6 won’t execute because StringBuffer doesn’t override equals() (ie, for any reference values x and y, this method returns true if and only if x and y refer to the same object (x==y has the value true)).

The following compiles:
float f = 412; //promotes int to float automatically - OK
The following doesn’t compile:
float f = 412.0; //412.0 is a double -> no auto demotion to float

The following displays….
double d1 = -0.5;

System.out.println("Ceil d1 = " + Math.ceil(d1));

System.out.println("floor d1 = " + Math.floor(d1));

Ceil d1 = -0.0

floor d1 = -1.0

ie, 0.0 is treated different from –0.0.

Boolean b = new Boolean("true");
Allocates a Boolean object representing the value true if the string argument is not null and is equal, ignoring case, to the string "true". Otherwise, allocate a Boolean object representing the value false.

ceil() and floor() return doubles

round() returns integers (int for float, long for double)

ceil() and round() go higher (round(-4.5) = -4)

floor() goes lower.

&, | and ^ will work with booleans


A call is automatically inserted in a derived class constructor, to call the default (no-args) base class constructor. Therefore in a hierarchy, an explicit default constructor must be present in the next highest class (see Bruce Eckels "Thinking in Java" page 224).

However, if an explicit call is make to super(..) (ie, a parent constructor), then the implied call to the default constructor is not needed (and a no-args default constructor in the parent is not required).

Constructors can’t be final, native, static, synchronised or abstract.

The class hierarchy is called from the base class down.

GUI Components

When placing components in Layout Managers, the following applies:
Stretchable: Button, Label, TextField

Non-Stretchable : Checkbox

Container Default Layout Manager

Frame = BorderLayout

Applet = FlowLayout

Panel = FlowLayout

Dialog = BorderLayout

Window = BorderLayout




String s1 = "abcd";

String s2 = "abcd";

if (s1==s2)

System.out.println("s1==s2"); //this prints
if (s1.equals(s2))
System.out.println("s1.equals(s2)"); //this prints

String s1 = new String("abcd");

String s2 = "abcd";

if (s1==s2)

System.out.println("s1==s2"); // Doesn’t print
if (s1.equals(s2))
System.out.println("s1.equals(s2)"); //this prints
String s1 = new String("abcd");

String s2 = new String("abcd");

if (s1==s2)

System.out.println("s1==s2"); //Doesn’t print
if (s1.equals(s2))
System.out.println("s1.equals(s2)"); //this prints

The following will generate a compile error…
StringBuffer s1 = "abcd";

All the Number classes (Integer, Boolean, etc) override equals();

StringBuffer does NOT override the equals() method, so it will do a "shallow" compare (ie, compares object references).

String s1 = "aaa";



This prints out "aaa", since strings are immutable and s1 is always s1.
String s = new String("abcdefgh");

s.replace('d', 'q');


displays "abcdefgh", for the same reasons.

Consider the following:



public class Tree{

protected age;



public class Forest{

public static void main(String [] args){
Tree t = new Tree();

System.out.println("Age = " t.age);


This will compile. Both classes are in the default package, and so have access to all non-private members.


Consider the following:

class Acc{
public static void main(String [] args){
First s = new Second();




class First{
int var = 1;

int method(){ return var;}


class Second extends First{
int var = 2;

int method(){return var;}


The type of object reference determines the variable, the type of underlying object determines the method.
The above displays:


The signature for the finalize() method is:
protected void finalize() throws Throwable

String s = "abc";

int x = 3;

String s2;

s2 = s1 + x;

This will compile fine, and give s2 = "abc3";


NOTES From Roberts/Heller

Chapters 1 and 2

Valid variables start with LETTER, $ or _.

~ (bitwise invert) only works on integers (not "char")

* and / works on "char" type (but result is promoted to int)

all comparisons with NaN return FALSE;

Modulo and Reduction of Right-hand Operator

With binary operators (+, -, *, /, >>, <<, >>>, etc) the operands are promoted to "int" (see page 47)

It is legal to compare different types (eg float and char), but not legal to assign.

The line "a = x ? b : c" is "if (x), a = b, else a =c"

The second part of a && or || operation may not be executed (short-circuit logical operators)

System.out.println((x > 3) ? 99.00: 9) will display "9.0" [ x gets promoted to float for comparison]

Consider the following:

String val = null;

int x = Integer.parseVal(val);

This will throw a NullPointerException in the parseInt() method.

Chapter 3

The decreasing levels of privacy are: PRIVATE -> FRIENDLY -> PROTECTED -> PUBLIC

If an object reference is final, the reference can’t change, but the object can.

A class that has an abstract method must be declared abstract.

It is best to use the class name to access a static member (see page 82).

Static initialiser code is executed in the order it appears.

A class can not be declared as private or protected.

Chapter 4
interface members (variables or methods) are public (can’t be declared as static, protected, private, final, synchronised).

It is legal to cast an interface to a class.

Important – see Q8 page 121 – casting down the tree but the object reference OK!

Class->Interface conversion is OK

Interface->Class conversion is NOT OK (needs an explicit cast, then a ClassCastException will be thrown).

Chapter 5


break statements cause the loop in question to terminate completely.

continue causes the loop in question to cease the current iteration (flow restarts at the bottom of the loop)

All exceptions are subclasses of the class java.lang.Throwable

The finally clause is always executed (even if there is no exception).

Checked Exceptions must be declared in the method declaration or caught in a catch block. RuntimeException and Error are unchecked exceptions, and don’t have to be declared (but can be caught).

Examples of unchecked exceptions – ArithmeticException, NullPointerException, NumberFormatException

main() can declare thrown exceptions in its declaration

A method which is overridden can only throw exceptions declared in the parent, or any subclass of exception declared in the parent. You can’t add in new exceptions.

Chapter 6
Overloaded methods use the method name and parameter list (the return type is not relevant/used by the compiler to distinguish overloaded methods).

Over-riding methods must have the exact signature (name, parameter list, return type).

See Q7 page 186. Important in relation to subclassing constructors (if there is no explicit call to the default constructor, the compiler implicitly inserts one).

Chapter 7

Threads - 2 Options:

// implements Runnable

Thread a = new Thread(new Thread_A());


// extends Thread

Thread_B b = new Thread_B();


Chapter 9
Component Event Types Generated
Button Action
Canvas Mouse, MouseMotion, Key
Check Boxes Item
Choice Item
List Item (on selection of item), Action on double-click
Scroll pane Mouse, MouseMotion
Scrollbar Adjustment
Text Field/Text Area Text, Action (on ENTER key press)

For lists, addItem has been deprecated. Now, to add an item to a list, use
List l = new List(3, true);


Menu bars and pull-down menus only appear in Frames.

Only Frames can contain a MenuBar.

Chapter 12

The following components have no default appearances and show up as empty rectangles (unless they are subclassed and given their own paint() methods).

g.setColor() only affects the following drawing operation (not what has been drawn already).

Font availability is platform dependant. The only ones you can count on are "Serif", "Sans Serif", "Monospaced".

To set a font, use:

drawPolygon() and fillPolygon() both take int [] as the x and y points.

Polylines cannot be closer or filled – they’re simply a run of line segments.

repaint() schedules a call to update(Graphics g)

update(Graphics g) clears the component to it’s background colour and calls paint(Graphics g)

Over-riding update() to simply do a paint() means the background is not re-drawn (can accumulate operations – eg mouse clicks).

Chapter 13

CODE, WIDTH, HEIGHT tags are mandatory. Order is insignificant.

CODE and CODEBASE tags are case sensitive, and must include the .class extension.

PARAM tag is case insensitive. Missing parameter causes getParameter() to return null.

getParameter() returns a string

Multiple JARs can be downloaded using a comma separated list in the ARCHIVE tag (eg ARCHIVE = "a.jar, b.jar").

Chapter 14
File Class
A File class can represent a file or directory (both which may or may not exist).

Creating a File instance does not create a file on the harddisk.

The directory separator ("\" or "/") will work regardless of the platform, without throwing an exception.

delete() will delete the file off the disk.

mkdir() will create a directory on disk

renameTo() will rename the file.

RandomAccessFile Class
incompatible with stream/reader/writer model

needs to use a mode ("r" or "rw") for read only, or read/write

IOException thrown if "r" used, and file doesn’t exist.

Supports reading/writing of all primitive types (eg, readint(), writeFloat()).

All methods throw IOException.

Streams deal in bytes.

Readers/Writers deal in unicode.

Low-level Streams – FileInputStream, FileOutputStream (byte reads/writes – no primative)

BufferStreams – BufferInputStream – sits between low-level and high level streams – reduces I/O overhead

High-Level Filter Stream – DataInputStream – can only chain to low-level streams (primative reads/writes)

Example of use:
FileInputStream fis = new FileInputStream("c:\eddie");

BufferedInputStream bis = new BufferedInputStream(fis);

DataInputStream dis = new DataInputStream(bis);

Same as equivalent Streams (eg, BufferedReader, FileInputReader, etc)

deal in unicode

doesn’t have primitive read/write calls (eg, no writeInt())

Only has reading/writing of char’s

Return to : Java Programming Hints and Tips