My VCP5 Exam Experience

Before I start this entry, I would like to point out that this isn’t for anyone who wants to know the answers to the exam questions as I won’t be disclosing any information about the content except for pointing you towards the VCP 510 exam blueprint.

What sort of experience do I have with vSphere 5? Well in the first half of this year, I have been fortunate enough to have performed a few installs:

  • 3 x Enterprise License installs
  • 2 x Essentials Plus installs
  • 3 x HP 3PAR F400 installations
  • 2 x HP P2000 iSCSI installations
  • 3 x Fabric installations using Brocade HBA’s and HP Fabric switches
  • 26 x ESXi5 host installs

I had also designed another seven VMware vSphere 5 environments ranging from Essentials Plus to Enterprise.

With this in mind, I felt I could handle the VCP510 with my real world experience and I foolishly just booked the exam.  First time round I failed with 285, which was quite frustrating as 300 is the pass mark.

Why did I fail, well, lack of preparation and I misread some of the questions (I know this as some appeared second time round).

I felt the exam was alot harder than the VCP410 as it tests such a broad technical skill base, from networking to storage to ESXi5.  So you need to know your ‘onions’ in every area.
So after my failure, I decided to do things the right way.  I purchased Scott Lowes – Mastering vSphere 5 and Duncan Epping’s – vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive on Amazon Kindle.  I can’t recommend these books highly enough if you are looking to pass the VCP510 exam.  Each night I went over the chapters and built a nested ESXi5 environment to go over areas that are not my strong point e.g. Distributed Switches and Data Recovery to try increase my technical understanding as our customers normally use Veeam and Enterprise for licenses.

Second time round, I passed with 461, which I was really pleased with.

I always approach exams the same way, I get to the examination centre round 30 minutes early, so you can go over the sign in process and hand over your valuables.  I then make three signs on the plastic sheet you are given

Tick – these are for questions I know I have definitely know the answers too.

Question Mark – these are questions I’m 80% plus sure on

Cross – these are questions I’m making an educated guess or generally haven’t got a clue on!

I try to aim for 30 seconds per question to give myself enough time to review questions at the end.  If I find I have spent over a minute on a question, I will mark it for review and then come back to it.  At the end of the exam, I only review questions I have marked for review not all of them.

Then when I’m finally ready to click the submit button, I always cover my eyes and then peek through my hands at the results.  I’m really not sure why I do this, but as they say habits die hard!

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