This morning I sat the VCAP5-DCD BETA exam just as soon as the certification doors opened here at VMware Partner Exchange 2012 (follow the action using the Twitter hash tag #VMwarePEX). As usual, I can’t cover exam content in detail but I’ll briefly cover the experience in explicitly vague detail so as not to violate any policies.
Just like the VCAP4-DCD BETA I sat over a year ago, the exam length was 130 questions to be answered within a 225 minute time constraint. From what I gathered, all questions asked were fair in that they came straight from the beta blueprint. When you read through the blueprint, pay attention to any areas of coverage new to you – it’s all fair game for the exam. If you’re not familiar with some of the content, be sure you obtain at least a baseline understanding to have a chance at fielding the questions with success. As was the case with the VCAP4-DCD, question types include multiple choice, choose 2 or 3 that apply, drag -n- drop to match this to that, and build a diagram. Questions can be marked for review but the navigational button to go back to a previous question did not work for me once I had advanced to the next question. Many of the non-multiple choice questions inherently have a lot of reading associated with them. Digest the information as quickly and accurately as possible and move on. Be sure to understand what version of vSphere the question is referring to – there are design and operational differences between vSphere 4 and vSphere 5. Some of the questions involved performing math on the dry erase board. A calculator provided with the exam would have saved a little time.
Time management was a challenge for me on this VMware BETA exam. I ran out of time leaving many questions either unanswered or in the case of lengthy questions requiring a lot of reading, answered with a guess. If you plan on sitting this VMware BETA exam, you might consider saving all of your feedback for a consolidated email to email@example.com after the exam, rather than providing feedback on each individual question during the exam itself. One needs to study everything on the blueprint but in my opinion, this is still an experience based exam for the most part. Sure there is some material you can get through from book and white paper knowledge but the scope of the exam itself is broad enough that several titles would be required to cover all of the content. I felt confident enough in the material covered that I can pass the exam based on content alone. If I need to sit the exam again, in all likelihood it will be due to my lack of adequate time management. I should have my results within a few months.
As far as the Partner Exchange testing center – a few tips for those at Partner Exchange who will spend some time in the exam room this week:
- It’s cold. Wear a long sleeved shirt or sweater.
- It’s loud (large events going on nearby). Bring some ear plugs if you have any.
- Time management once the exam begins. I can’t stress that enough on the advanced level exams.
- I asked if coffee was allowed in the exam room. They told me clearly it was not so I got rid of mine only to find out several candidates had coffee with them in the testing center. Don’t ask, just walk in with your drink unless they stop you.
- The on site staff is very friendly and did a great job. Be sure to ask questions if you have any. If you paid the $200 beta exam fee because the discount voucher didn’t work when you registered, the staff will refund that for you.
- Enjoy your testing experience.
- Good luck!
I’ve heard only rumors so far on Twitter, no formal announcements from VMware, that the VCAP5-DCD exam will qualify towards VCP5 certification and possibly VCDX5. We’ll have to wait and see what develops there. One thing is absolute: VMware made it clear there was a February 29 deadline to obtain VCP5 upgrade certification without requiring formal classroom training (and the associated costs). Because of this, many individuals, including myself, rushed to shell out the exam fee for VCP5 before the deadline in order to avoid training costs if sitting the VCP5 exam after February 29. I speak for myself when I say that if I had known a VCAP5-DCD exam would qualify for VCP5 certification without additional training, I would have waited to save money on the VCP5 exam fee.
Update 4/25/12: Pass/Fail results were sent out today by VMware which confirmed my time management needed improvement. A more detailed score report will be sent sometime in May. I’ll be sitting this exam again when the final version is launched. I saw a lot of tweets today announcing a pass. My congratulations go out to those folks.
Update 7/19/12: I passed the GA version of the VCAP5-DCD exam. That experience was different and I’ve written about it here.