VCAP5-DCA Thoughts and experiences

There’s been a ton of write-ups on the VCAP5-DCA exam.  Any quick Google search will pull up several people’s experiences and if you’re on Twitter following the #VCAP hashtag, you can join in the conversations and see posts there as well.  Given that I just took the exam back at the end of February and found out my results, I figured I’d toss up my thoughts and experience as well for anyone that might want to read about it.

Impressions

I sat the exam back in February in the afternoon.  The testing center was close to my office so it wasn’t bad traveling there.  I have to say that the testing center was significantly better than the one that I normally take my exams in, which is closer to my house.  The PC I was given was just fine and the latency to the testing environment was bearable.  Overall I thought the test was fair.  Just like others have suggested, if you follow the blueprint and you can do all the things listed on it, you’ll be just fine.

Practice

I suggest coming up with practice scenarios for each topic and changing them up as much as possible so you can get used to doing the topics as many ways as you can.  I think one area that most people forget about is fundamentals.  The VCAP5-DCA exam is an advanced-professional level test sure, but you’re still going to need solid fundamental understanding of vSphere.  Don’t just focus on the advanced topics, but make sure your basics are solid.  It will help ensure you don’t silly mistakes.  For the last several months I had been migrating our remote offices to new infrastructure builds so reinforcing basics was pretty easy for me as I had done quite a few of them 5-6 times already.  This also helped building my confidence and speed with doing basic tasks as well as fast GUI navigation rather than hunt and peck.

Strategy

My strategy was simple, write down 1-26 on the dry erase board I was given and the number of topics in each question along with the overall topic out to the side of the question.  I then attacked each question based on how fast I thought I could get through each piece.  When I was done I simply marked the question and topic out on the board.  This way I knew I had finished a question or was missing something.  I had to consult the PDF’s a couple of times.  I suggest knowing exactly where to look if you need to hit these and to use the Search function.  Scrolling the PDF’s means you’re going to have a bad, bad day.  As with just about everyone that I have read about their experience will attest, I ran out of time.  I was pretty confident I had accomplished enough of the tasks and parts of others to pass.  I received my results 9 business days later, 6 days short of the amount of time VMware said they would return results and was happy to see ‘PASS’ in the attachment.

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