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July, 2012

VCDX5 Attained…VCAP5-DCD Done!

Last Friday I took the final VCAP5-DCD exam and passed (<archer>yeaaahhhh</archer>.  I was invited to take the beta, but honestly I’m not a fan of beta exams.  My attention span is pretty short and during even regular non-beta exams I get bored….a beta exam with a ton of questions just isn’t fun for me.  So I waited for the final exam to be released before making an attempt.  When I took the VCAP4-DCD I made a post here and about everything carries forward.  This exam is a revised version of that for vSphere 5.

Unfortunately, you can’t take this exam at just any Vue center like others, such as the VCP exam.  You have to go to a Pearson Professional center.  Similar…but more formal with more oversight.  Not a problem but there aren’t a lot of these centers so getting a seat to take a 4-hour exam can sometimes be tough.  The two near me in Charlotte have a lot of seating, much more than a normal Vue center, so I was able to book the exam on pretty short notice.  But I miss the people at my normal center.  We’re on a first name basis at this point.

The exam is 100 questions and you get 4 hours.  Brian Tobia’s post here illustrates for many that time is a major factor on this exam.  I finished right at the 2 hour mark…but again, I have a short attention span for exams so I usually get through them very quickly.  I’m also a firm believer in the “You either know it or you don’t.” philosophy of exam taking.  I rarely sit and put a lot of thought in to a question I just don’t know.

The exam is multiple choice, pick the following, drag and drop, and “Visio” style questions.  The odd ones are the Visio style.  VMware has an example of this type of question on their site and I suggest you check it out so you aren’t too surprised.  Also like Brian mentioned in his post, my workstation was buckling under the load of a couple of those.  I was worried it was going to freeze…thankfully mine didn’t, but poor Brian’s did.  The interface for these questions isn’t great so they can be cumbersome at times…but just keep in mind what you are trying to show.  I’m also not one to tag a lot of questions for review.  Sure…I’ll tag 2 or 3 but when I go back and review I read them, think “Huh…still not sure.” and move on.

The rest of the exam is basically like the VCAP4-DCD.  Read the blueprint.  If you know the blueprint nothing should really surprise you.  Also remember, it’s a design exam so think bigger picture.  That can make it a hard one to prep for since it’s so wide ranging, but follow the blueprint.  Read the reference guides, papers, and pages and pay extra attention to VMware best practices.

My final score was 338 so I didn’t knock it out of the park but I also didn’t read the blueprint until the day before.  When I hit the button to end the exam I felt like I had passed, but not by a lot and I was correct.  Just like last time I’d love to see the thought behind some of the questions and answers.  I don’t like vague and I know it’s hard to create a design exam in this format but I can’t say I’m a fan of this particular one.  How they score some of the Visio-style questions is a mystery and without knowing if it’s flexible or rigid I think it’s a bit of a disservice to the person taking the exam.

But, it’s done!  This moves my VCDX up to vSphere 5 and gets that out of the way.  Next on my list are a couple EMC exams that we need passed for partner programs and then I’ll probably take a shot at the vCloud ITaaS exam.  I have a very strong suspicion that will be needed for the next move up for my VCDX so I want it done sooner rather than later.

Good luck!

5 thoughts on “VCDX5 Attained…VCAP5-DCD Done!”

  1. What’s up VCDX5 buddy. I took the beta at PEX (or was it VMworld? Don’t even remember) and was distracted the whole time the sounds of Vegas just outside the door. I ended up finishing with an hour to spare and wasn’t sure I passed it. As I walked out I realized what they were looking for on a couple of those Visio exercises and I wasn’t sure how they scored it.

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