Tuesday 18 December 2012

VCAP5-DCA – My Experience

After passing my VCAP5-DCD exam at the second attempt it was naturally time to start revising for the VCAP5-DCA exam.  I booked the exam for Monday 3rd December at the Leeds Pearson VUE training center which is currently the closest testing point where I can sit the VCAP exam.  This is a bit annoying as it's a 2hr train journey there and back.  In preparing for the exam I used the following resources (In no particular order):

VCAP5-DCA Blueprint
Professional VMware vBrownBags
The Saffa Geek website
VlacoLabs website
Home Lab

This is the first time that I've sat the VCAP-DCA style exam which involved 26 questions in a lab environment accessed via a remote desktop connection.  I'm not going to explain how this exam is setup as there are plenty of posts out there, what I will explain is what issues I encountered whilst sitting the exam:

1.  The speed of the remote desktop session wasn't the greatest.  Opening and switching between applications was very laggy and when attempting to open the supplied .pdf documentation and scroll through was unusable.
2.  The supplied username and passwords were all identical but was there any need for the sheer complexity?  Due to the stress of the exam and time allowance I found it difficult to remember and had to constantly revert back to the screen which contained the details.  A nice and simple Administrator and vmware would have been preferred.
3.  When I actually started going through all the questions I noticed a few were already completed.  Without going into too much details certain tasks that I was being asked to completed seemed to already have been completed and only involved me checking over the results.  I first noticed this when being asked to save a .txt file in a certain location and the file already existed.  After a few more questions like this I raised it with the Pearson VUE test center who said they would log it with VMware and I should complete the exam.
Once I complete the exam I was informed that I would receive my results within 15 business days (Shourly there must be a quicker way to issues results in this day and age).

10 days later during a twitter conversation with Gregg Robertson, Matt Steiner picked up on the issues I experienced and raised it with a Senior Program Manager for technical certifications who asked me to provide feedback on my experience.  I fired off the mail informing him of the issues I encountered but they were unable to identify anything.  He kindly advised that I would get my results within the 15 business days as indicated but was nice enough to put me out of my misery and advised that I passed the exam.  A few days later my official results notification arrived in my inbox.

All in all I really enjoyed this style of exam and think a lot more should be delivered this way.  The speed of the session was an issue but nothing that you couldn't over come with a bit of patience.  I can now finally upgrade my lab from 5.0 U1 to 5.1 and enjoy and nice shiny new web interface.

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