What is the difference between an if statement and a switch statement?
The if statement is used to select among two alternatives. It uses a boolean expression to decide which alternative should be executed. The switch statement is used to select among multiple alternatives. It uses an int expression to determine which alternative should be executed.
What are the practical benefits, if any, of importing a specific class rather than an entire package (e.g. import java.net.* versus import java.net.Socket)?
It makes no difference in the generated class files since only the classes that are actually used are referenced by the generated class file. There is another practical benefit to importing single classes, and this arises when two (or more) packages have classes with the same name. Take java.util.Timer and javax.swing.Timer, for example. If I import java.util.* and javax.swing.* and then try to use "Timer", I get an error while compiling (the class name is ambiguous between both packages). Let's say what you really wanted was the javax.swing.Timer class, and the only classes you plan on using in java.util are Collection and HashMap. In this case, some people will prefer to import java.util.Collection and import java.util.HashMap instead of importing java.util.*. This will now allow them to use Timer, Collection, HashMap, and other javax.swing classes without using fully qualified class names in.
Can a method be overloaded based on different return type but same argument type ?
No, because the methods can be called without using their return type in which case there is ambiquity for the compiler.
What happens to a static variable that is defined within a method of a class ?
Can't do it. You'll get a compilation error.
How many static initializers can you have ?
As many as you want, but the static initializers and class variable initializers are executed in textual order and may not refer to class variables declared in the class whose declarations appear textually after the use, even though these class variables are in scope.
What is the difference between method overriding and overloading?
Overriding is a method with the same name and arguments as in a parent, whereas overloading is the same method name but different arguments