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By on September 21, 2014

I’ve been having the chance to take 3 VCP’s so far. The VCP5-DCV (Data Center Virtualization), the VCP5-DT (Desktop) and the VCP-Cloud. Below I will give my general recommendations for studying towards the exams. I will not give any guidance towards the newly released VCP-NV certification (based on the NSX plattform) as I haven’t got the chance to take it yet.

It is also worth mentioning that you have to attend an official VMware course to get VCP-certified (unless you already are VCP or higher on a different topic). There exists a lot of different courses you may take beforehand, but in general the “Install, Configure & Manage” (ICM) courses will give you a thorough understanding of the subject and a good base for the preparation.

Exam Blueprint’s
First of all, READ THOSE BLUEPRINTS! Secondly, read them again! They’ve got all the info on the different objectives that you need to focus on. So once you’ve got the hold of those objectives, you are certainly doing well this far. Below you’ll find the link to those blueprints, for each of the VCP’s:

VMware Certified Professional 5 – Data Center Virtualization:
VCP5-DCV-VCP550 – Blueprint

VMware Certified Professional 5 – Desktop:
VCP5-DT-VCPD510 – Blueprint

VMware Certified Professional – Cloud:
VCP-Cloud-VCPC550 – Blueprint

Books and Study Guides
Reading (zzZZzz?)…; Well, first of all, you got to do this, whether you like it or not. There do exist tons, and by that, I mean TONS of information out there for you guys.

First of all, VMware has provided an official certification guide (book) for each of the VCP’s (mention obligatory):
Official VCP5-DCV Certification Guide
Official VCP5-DT Certification Guide
Official VCP-Cloud Certification Guide

I wouldn’t say it is necessary buying those books, I haven’t read all three of them myself, but they do exist for a good reason.

A book that I do recommend though, specifically for the VCP-DCV exam, is the “Mastering VMware vSphere 5.5” by Scott Lowe and Nick Marshall. This bestselling vSphere book gives you a great understanding of how to install and configure the entire vSphere environment. All from the beginning of installing/configuring the ESXi servers to managing/balancing resources, as well as monitoring performance.

At VMware, they’ve listed up some study guides which you need to go through and also remember in some way (I’m sorry). In the blueprints they list up the necessary ones and below you find the links to the overall portal for each of the VCP’s (this may sound a bit overkill, but frankly, it is not. The more, the better.):
VMware vSphere Documentation
VMware Horizon with View Documentation
VMware vCloud Director Documentation

Now you are probably a bit tired of all the reading references, so I will just give you one last advice on the reading part. Read and remember the most important parts of the “Configuration Maximums”. You WILL get questions about them on the exams.

Hands-on experience
You can’t get enough of it really, can you? Hands-on experience is all about what it takes to pass those exams. Againg, the more the better, it is that simple. The exams are pretty tough and advanced in my opinion. So you really have to now your stuff around navigating and be familiarized with the different technologies. The point here is, from day to day basis, you will get more and more comfortable of where you can find and tune different settings. Some of the questions can be as “stupid” as asking you about a certain path to a setting inside of the vSphere Client / Web Client. Ex: “Where do you navigate in the vSphere Client to enable the SSH service on an ESXi-host?”. You can read as many papers and study guides you want, but for those type of questions, you’ll get far more back from having hands-on experience.

You probably remember those blueprints I talked about? Do not just read them from page to page. Get the best out of those objectives, by going through each task using the different management portals in a test environment (vSphere Client / Web Client, vCloud Director, View Administrator etc.).

And finally, I should mention the VMware Hands-On Labs (HOL) . VMware HOL is a page where you can test-drive each technologies provided by VMware and their partners, to get hands-on experience without any installation required. Online based hands-on experience, given to you for free, isn’t that cool? Well, not to totally overexcite you, do not just go through those “relevant-for-your-exam-labs” and think you are fine and ready for the exam. The VMware HOL gives you a basic understanding and configuration abilities on different technologies, it does not serve you all the different objectives from the blueprints. BUT what you can do, is to use those live environments, provided by HOL, to go through the blueprints objectives, if you do not have any other test environments on your laptop or any other place.

Mock exam / Free Practice Quiz
If you’ve come this far, I congratulate you already! By this time you have probably done some great amount of reading as well as having gone through those blueprint objectives (hopefully more than one time).

Why I really want to mention this one, is because the “Free Practice Quiz” is a way for you to test your abilities on questions that are very similar to those you get on the actual exam. It consist of 30 questions, and if you get one or more answers wrong, you may take it several times. Read that one as you like (caugh). Below you’ll find the link to those Free Practice Quizzes, for each of the VCP’s:

VMware Certified Professional 5 – Data Center Virtualization:
Free Practice Quiz

VMware Certified Professional 5 – Desktop:
Free Practice Quiz

VMware Certified Professional – Cloud:
Free Practice Quiz

The Exam
So, you’re ready now? Bet you are! You’ve study hard, you feel comfortable and now you take the step and register for your exam. I will not go on and guide you on your daily preparation, as I personally feel a bit uncomfortable speaking the “nutrition language”, but here follows some information specifically regarding the actual exams (you may find this information in your blueprint as well):

  • The exams consists of 135 questions and a short pre-exam survey consisting of 8-10 questions.
  • The passing score for the exams is 300, using a scaled scoring method. The scale is from 100-500. Scaled scores are calculated using a mathematical formula that considers a variety of factors, including the number and type of exam questions included in a specific version of the exam.
  • The exams are available in English.
  • The time limit for the exams is 120 minutes, with an additional 15 minutes to complete the survey questions and agreements. Candidates who take the exams and have a home address in a country where English is not a primary language will have an additional 30 minutes added to the exam time. This time extension is automatic, no additional action is required from the candidate.

Recertification policy
In March 2014 VMware released a recertification policy , which in general means that you have to re-take a VCP exam within 2 years, to stay VCP-certified. There exists some other policies as well, if you have multiple VCP’s or if you are both VCAP and VCP certified. The link provided above will give you more information on VMware’s recertification policy.


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