@Kim_Bottu … Virtually Gung Ho
After months of studying, today I went to take the VCAP5-DCD exam and passed it on first try! Not a moment too soon I have to say because I really was getting quite fed up with reading the same books, whitepapers and documents over and over again.
There are dozens of blogs out there on the Wild Wild Internet telling you exactly what to study and what to pay attention to so I will be brief about what I think you have to know and where you can look for information:
Read the blueprint and don’t skip anything.
Make a google account if you don’t have one and join the VCAP5-DCD group. Do not take anything at face value, we use this group to discuss techniques, solutions and architecture. Discuss: so not everything is correct. When you have doubts about information on the google group you can reach out to any of us. But definitely read through all the posts and mark all posts you think are important or print them out. I choose the last option and printed out everything I thought important. You don’t want to go through all the post again the day before your exam (it took me 6 hours to read through all posts).
Reach out to people! If you need assistance, we are here for you! We will not give you exam questions and answers but are available to help you when you have problems understanding certain topics.
Definitely visit the Mock exam site for DCD created by Jason Grierson, VirtualTiers. If you need any training with the design tool this is your best bet. If you need any examples on how the drag and drop questions in the exam work, this is your best bet too. There are errors in the solutions in the mock exam, but this site is not as much about giving you a 100% solution to the problems in the exam but more about showing you how the exam works. Don’t forget to download the study pack at the end f the mock exam!
We have all read and heard the stories about people passing the exam without studying. Don’t believe these stories. Like with any design, ‘assuming only’ equals ‘failing’.
To give u an idea about how much I have studied I have added a picture.. Some whitepapers I have read are not on the picture and some books like ‘Clustering Deep Dive’ are not on the picture either. Most of these books I have read 4 times.
Create your own flashcards for topics you keep forgetting about.
Do not go to the exam when you know you might fail because you skipped study topics. These exams are not cheap.
You cannot prepare for the way questions will be asked and how much time you will need to find out what is actually asked of you, but you can prepare by studying how VMware technology works in detail. Make sure you don’t have to lose time figuring out how specific VMware technology works during the exam.
Do not take what others have read or studied as a benchmark for what you need to read or study. ex: When you are really experienced in networking, maybe you have to read up more about storage ( Just for storage I have read 3 books and a whitepaper of 270 pages).
If you have doubts about basic stuff such as HA, DRS, shares, LBT, RR, resource pools, etc, now is the time to get that knowledge. Don’t find out the hard way during your exam.
My Exam Eperience:
So how was my exam experience.
Well by now you probably figured out I studied a lot… really a lot and still I almost didn’t make it.
So let me start from the weekend before my exam:
Saturday: went over the google group posts which I thought were worth looking into a bit deeper.
Made sure I found contradictions in people’s offered solutions and tried to find a correct solution. I also went over Jason’s study pack.
I went over the entity diagrams I had, created some new ones and posted those to the group as well. All in all I spend 6.5 hours studying in total on Saturdays.
Sunday: Reread all marked chapters, passages and notes in all my books, whitepapers and printed out internet pages from various sources. Found some contradictions there as well! So check and double check if you have to.
Monday I got up at 6 and studied until 8. Exam was at 9.
At the exam center I asked if I could use my own earplugs. That was allowed. Good because mine are better than the freely provided ones.
I spend 45 minutes on my master design and between 10 to 15 minutes on the other designs.
The drag and drop questions can be a real pain to figure out. Where the design questions are rather easy to understand I really had some issues understanding how to complete certain drag and drop questions. Some questions should be better formulated!
I finished the exam with 12 minutes to spare… Still my mind was racing and I couldn’t make up my mind if I should press finish or not.. Took me 10 minutes to make up my mind staring at a button… lol.