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VCAP5-DCA Post Exam Review

If you have been following my other post on VCAP5-DCA study resources you will know that I have been studying for the VCAP5-DCA exam over the last 5-6 months. It’s been time consuming but I have enjoyed the learning curve and it has taught me allot about VMware vSphere that I didn’t know. Even if you don’t plan on taking the exam I would recommend reviewing the various study guides (some listed here) and learn all you can.

The Test Centre

I chose the nearest test centre to me which was just over an hour’s drive which was good as it gave me some time to gather my thoughts and think about how I would tackle the exam. I made the decision that I would use the wipe card provided to write numbers 1-26 (before you click start exam) and before answering any questions review them and write a quick title against each of them so I could pick and choose which questions I would take first.

The Exam

As you will most likely know already the exam is pure lab with no multiply chose questions and as many other people have said you sign an NDA before you start the exam so you will find no exam questions here and this means unlike many other exams including Microsoft and the VCP you can’t cheat!!!. This in my mind makes it a worthwhile exam to go for as many 1000’s of people cheat and this exam guarantees to others that you haven’t.

When you click the start exam button you first complete a quick questionnaire before moving onto the actual exam. The first question will pop up and once you have read it click a button on the top which will launch a RDP session to a jump box. This jump box has the RDP client to the vCenter server, a putty client, vSphere Client and Adobe (you have various vSphere standard documentation you can read. Check this out for more information).

From this point on you take each question in turn and perform the administration task or troubleshoot the issue.

You can go back and forwards between questions but this means clicking next or back on each screen so going from question 1 to 26 can take a few minutes.

An issue I kept having was RDP dropouts to the jump box which wasted valuable time and time in the end I desperately needed and was extremely frustrating. I did report this along with another issue I had with the lab to the exam administrator so hopefully it will not go against me.

I managed to complete 20 of the 26 questions in the exam plus I partially completed two questions and there was one that I my opinion was broken (I know it’s this test checks your ability to troubleshoot but in this instance I believe there was an issue with the setup)

VCAP5-DCA Exam Tips

Copy the password down on your wipe card as you will need it. It says it will be on the jump box screen but only IPs and Host names are.

Use the vSphere Client on the jump box to connect to the vCenter server as it is much quicker than using the RDP connection.

I would recommend skipping questions you are not 100% confidant on and come back to these at the end when you have time (if you have time). If you are stuck on a hard question (or hard for you) you might find it take 20 minutes which could be the time it would take to answer two easy questions which in the long run would give you a better mark.

Launch connections to anything you might need in advance to save time later. i.e. vCenter, vMA et.

Post VCAP5-DCA Exam Review

I think what makes this test hard is the 3.5 hour limit. It was on my mind from the get go and I think by the 1 hour mark I had only actually completed 4-5 questions which wasn’t down to me not knowing the answers but rather double checking what I had done. You just don’t have that luxury when doing this exam. I don’t think I even benefited from writing all the questions down in the beginning and I think this actual took me about 10 minutes which I could have used later in the exam to answer another questions of two.

If I don’t pass then I know the next time I take this exam and yes there will defiantly be if I don’t pass I will be better at my time management. I had initially wanted to pass with around an 80% pass mark but given the questions I missed I think the best I could achieve now would be 75% but would be happy just to pass.

The Results

I am currently waiting on the results and according to the details at the end of the exam this will take 15 working days to mark my exam and provide me with the results. So hopefully by the 4th of July 2013 I will be a happy man and can move on to the DCD exam.

Today (June 25) I had an email from VMware confirming that I have passed my DCA exam. As you would expect after so much time spent studying, taking the exam and then waiting for the results I was very happy to have passed and did a little dance with my daughters to celebrate.

Now it’s onwards to the DCD and maybe ultimately the VCDX.

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