Yesterday I passed the VCAP5 Datacenter Design exam and want to share my thoughts and study ressources with you in this post.
This was by the way my first VCAP exam and of course I knew this would be a real challenge and I didn´t got disappointed
If you read some other exam experience posts before you know that time is mostly a problem and many people don´t get all 100 questions finished in time. I finished the last question with ~15 minutes left of the available 4,5 hours (as non-native speaker). Properly you also know that the exam changed some months ago and you now don´t have the possibility to go back & forward between the questions anymore or to flag a question for review later. So forget all the tips about doing the Visio-style questions on the end etc. because it´s not possible any more, you need to answer all questions straightforward.
Before your exam starts you get the info how many Visio-style design questions you will get within the 100 questions. In my case I got 6 but I also read that some people got just 5, so it seems this vary from exam to exam. I think you should keep in mind how many of the design questions you already completed. In my case I made a note down to the whiteboard after each one. When I was at question 60 I got a little bit nervous, because I just had 1,5 hours left but then I realized that I already completed 5 of my 6 design questions.
Some of the multiple-choice questions are pretty long and many of the info’s you got provided you don´t need at all to answer the question. I always read the question and the answers first before taking a look on the scenario described on the beginning of these questions. So I knew already for which information I need to look for.
If I came to a question where I didn´t have a clue at all I read it maximum twice and then went over to the next one. Don´t spend too much time on thinking about it!
When I came close to the last question I was pretty happy about my time management and like mentioned above I also had some minutes left.
Beside of the questions I think the most difficult thing is to stay 4,5 hours full concentrated during you always fell to hurry up. After the exam I felt totally wiped out. So make sure to get enough sleep the day before to be fit for the exam. In my case I needed to travel 250km to the Pearson VUE center so I decided to take a hotel room to avoid traveling 3-4 hrs + 4,5 hrs exam in a row , which was afterwards the right decision.
In my opinion the exam shouldn´t be so long. I think only half or at least 3/4 of the amount of questions should be more than enough to prove your design skills.
Here you find a list of all resources I used to study for this exam:
-Book: VMware vSphere Design (watch out for the new on, which just got released)
-Book: Managing and Optimizing VMware vSphere Deployments
-Offical Course Material: VMware vSphere 5.0: Design Workshop
-Video Training: Designing VMware Infrastructure
-Video Training: vBrownbag Sessions
-Blog posts: DCD study guide out of many ressources (great work by Karim Elatov), Josh Odgers – Architectural Decisions & Gregg Robertson´s Mock Design
-Other: Of course I also read some of the PDFs, which are mentioned in the blueprint. If you have limited time to study I would recommend focusing more on the other material.
Last but not least you should make sure to watch the official DCD UI-Demo to get used with the Visio-style design tool.
Good luck to everyone taking the exam!