Wednesday, June 4, 2014

VCAP5-DCD Exam Experience and Prep Tips

As soon as I passed the VCAP5-DCA I scheduled the VCAP5-DCD exam. I scheduled the DCD exam for 30 days after the VCAP5-DCA exam.

The registration process for the DCD exam is identical to the DCA exam. You need pre-approval from VMware and a registration code in order to register for the exam on the Pearson-Vue site. The exam is given at the "Pearson Professional" center which could impact exam scheduling. There are only a few Pearson Professional exam centers in each region, and they are quite busy with non-IT exams.

I went into the exam without an expectation of passing. I was hoping for a passing score, but honestly I got burned by the DCA so bad I didn't expect to pass this. About half way through the exam I was feeling better, but I was still surprised with I clicked finish and got my score and passed. Unlike the DCA you get your score immediately when you finish the exam.

Just like the DCA exam time management plays a big role in the DCD exam. This exam has multiple choice, drag and drop, and "visio like" questions. What worked for me from a time management perspective was going straight through the exam answering all of the non-visio questions, then going back and answering the visio questions. You do need to make sure you have enough time left to tackle the visio questions, I had 105 minutes left when I started the visio questions and 30 minutes left when I finished and started reviewing other questions.

This is a difficult exam to prepare for. It feels very "cumulative", not just from a VMware perspective but from an IT Infrastructure perspective. If you have years of experince with large scale IT projects you will have a cumulative knowledge that will help you with this exam. I would take this exam after the VCAP5-DCA, there is some crossover material on the blueprint for this exam that could help.

Tips :

  • Use good test taking strategy like any multiple choice test. Eliminate answers that can't be correct. Flag questions you don't know in case you run into the answer later.
  • Track your time. Make sure you get all of the easy, quick, points out of the way first. Make sure you keep enough time for the visio questions. 
Prep Materials -
  • Pluralsight - Designing VMware Infrastructure by Scott Lowe
  • VCAP5-DCD Certification guide by Paul McSharry 
If you have the cumulative knowledge from years of IT projects the Pluralsight course and exam guide should be all you need to prepare for the exam. If you are newer to IT or haven't worked in a large environment with a formalized design process this exam could be very difficult.