I took the VCAP-DCD exam earlier in the year and planned on posting details of my experience after taking the exam but just never got round to it. So here it finally is.
As I design VMware vSphere solutions for a living I thought this would be the easiest of the VCAP exams for me to pass. I didn’t do a lot of study for it. I
- looked through the exam blueprint
- watched some of the APAC vBrownbag podcasts focused on the VCAP-DCD exam
- read through the official VMware Cert Guide for the exam
- tried out the exam drawing tool example
There are only a few testing centres in the UK where you can sit this exam and I had to travel 100 miles to my nearest one with a suitable time slot for me to take the exam.
The exam consists of 100 questions of which 6 are Visio type drawing questions. You are told to expect to spend about 20 minutes per Visio type drawing question, so that takes up 1 h 40 of your allowed time of 3 h 45 for this exam, leaving approximately 2 hours for the remaining 94 questions; just over 1 minute per question.
Some of the questions have a lot of reading material. I started my exam by reading everything that I was given in each question, this turned out to be costing me time. So as the exam went on I would find out what each question wanted me to do and then pick out the important information to allow me to answer the question. For example, whether it is a Visio type drawing question or a multiple choice question and you have an option for a Standard Switch or a Distributed Switch then there will be some information in the question text to identify which one you need; it may be that there is a design constraint that the solution must use the existing enterprise licenses or there may be a requirement for Network vMotion. For each question you need to quickly identify the important information; I found that I needed ALL of the time allowed. I got to the last question with 7 seconds remaining, I quickly selected a random answer that sounded like it might be the answer to a question and then tried to read enough of the question to select a more informed answer – I never did get chance to fully digest the question and the time ran out, I don’t know if the answer I had already selected was marked or not.
I did have an issue with one of the Visio type diagrams where all of my elements on the design moved randomly around the screen. I tried to move each one back to the correct places and ensure all the correct connections were in place but it was proving difficult. So I cleared the drawing and started again with it, it only took a few minutes to redraw from scratch as I had already worked out the design but this did cost me valuable time.
I had read reviews previously stating that you couldn’t mark questions for later review or go back through the questions. However, there was the option at the top of each of my questions to mark them for later review. As I never got to the end of the exam I don’t know if I would have been allowed to review the marked questions or not.
I have also read reports about this being a design exam and you don’t need to know the VMware Technology so well, trust me you DO need to understand all of the vSphere features and where and when you would use them. Although there are some things that you should be aware of that are not VMware specific. You should know the following and the difference between them: –
As a last tip, I would not recommend drinking a litre of water on the journey to the test centre. I was bursting for the toilet for the last 40 minutes of my exam, I’m not sure what the toilet break policy is but I knew that I didn’t have time to go anyway!
You are given your results immediately the exam finishes and I am pleased to say that I passed on my first attempt. I just wish I had taken the time to do this exam earlier, such as when the VCAP4-DCD exam was available.