VCP 5 exam experience

I passed the test on 10/29/2011. Like everyone else has said, this test is nothing like VCP 3 and VCP 4. Those tests seemed to focus more on what a product was and the features. The VCP 5 exam seemed to focus more on features of vSphere 5 and how things work. Everything that is a part of the optional install for vCenter is fair game. This includes update manager, Auto Deploy, Web client, Dump collector, Syslog collector and Authentication Proxy. There were also some tough questions on the Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) and the vCenter Appliance (VCSA). My exam seemed to have about 40% scenario questions with exhibits to go over, these can be multiple choice or multiple answer. Don't count on this though, your exam could be different. VMware certainly raised the difficulty level with this exam. I would expect to see this level of skill on the VCAP exam or somewhere in the middle. For me, it was a little difficult to study for the exam with all of the other major (non virtualization) projects I have going on. You really have to take time and focus on the material.

 – I like to call this next section of my post my "rant" section –

There seemed to be some question asked that had to do with some very small topics, or should I say feature sets that I have not seen any enterprise environment use (I'm not going to say specifics because I don't want to get close to breaking the NDA). If I found a company utilizing the vSphere client in this way, I would recommend against it. To me, the vSphere client is not meant to be a general access method for using VMs. But the feature is there and it is a testable subject. Just because something may be a bad design doesn't mean it will not be on the exam.

There was also a scenario question on a topic that mentioned X amount of hosts in a cluster, but the exhibit did not have the same amount. I am going to have to contact someone on this issue. 

I also found a handful of questions that seemed to be poorly written. Maybe it was because I got in a hurry halfway through, but the manner in which some questions were asked did not make sense. I just wanted to shout like Samuel Jackson "what the hell is this?"!

– The testing center –

I took my exam at the eConsortium location in Houston. In the past, they had an excellent testing room that was private in an almost cubical area. You didn't have distractions from other people and you couldn't hear other people. Now, the exam area is in a classroom area. They have multiple tables set out where everyone sits right next to one another. This is a big distraction, especially when you have someone sitting right in front of you who is facing you! In the future, I'm going to have to find another Vue testing center to attend.

– The only advice I can give is –

Take your time and breath, but be mindful of the time restrictions. If you are unsure of something, just go back to it later. But try to set a limit on how many questions you are willing to go back to later. Remember, the answers to the questions will be right in front of you. Just eliminate the ones that you know don't make sense. The answer is sometimes in the question, make sure you understand the small details or hints that the question is giving. For example, know the difference in a product update and an upgrade. 

– What to study –

The VMware exam blueprint is right on the money when it comes to topics. But no one can memorize all that stuff. I don't think this exam is for anyone who may come right out of a VMware class or who has only read all the PDF's. A working knowledge of all the core vSphere products is needed. You really need a lab to work on. If you can find one that has CNA cards or FCOE adapters it would be better. Knowing a wide variety of errors also helps. This test will exercise your troubleshooting skills.

I used a few test engines to help study for some of the vShpere 5 products. Remember, these engines do not contain actual questions or answers from the VCP 5 exam, they are meant to get you thinking about a topic.

Simon Long's practice exam.

Robert Stothard's pratice exam.

Elastic Sky practice exam.

VMware mock exam.

Some exam blogs also helped me to create some flash cards to carry around and study with:

Cosonok's IT Blog

vSphere documentation.

A VCP 5 site.

Andrea Mauro's VCP site.


One type of practice exam I would like to see is one that is scenario based and has exhibits. I think I'm going to look into creating one. 😉