VMware VCAP5-DCA Exam Experience

This morning, I have received great news from VMware Certification. After one week since re-sitting my VCAP5-DCA exam, I am very pleased to have passed VCAP5-DCA.

VCAP5-DCA Certification Info

VCAP5-DCA is an advanced level VMware administration exam for vSphere 5. There is NO multiple choice question and all questions are lab based. There are 26 questions and you need to figure out to fix real complex VMware environment. This is the VCAP5-DCA Exam description from VMware: “The VCAP5-DCA exam is a unique, lab-based exam where you will perform tasks using actual equipment to verify your skill at installing, configuring, and administering large and complex virtualized environments. Earning this certification demonstrates your expertise with VMware vSphere 5, as well as your ability to use automation tools and implement virtualized environments.”

VCAP5-DCA Exam Preparing

The latest version of exam blueprint is your Best Friend. I would like to suggest to develop your real hands on skills by using a home lab or online labs. Personally I practiced and developed my hands on skills in my home lab. Try breaking and fixing, understand the whole picture by reading and following up by doing hands on.

I recommend below links as they proved useful for me:

  1. Professionalvmware Brownbag where the place share knowledge from experienced persons not just to prepare VCAP exam.
  2. TrainSignal. A great location for IT training courses given by experts.
  3. Chris Wahl’s The VCAP-DCA 5 Study Sheet. I used this study sheet to keep track where I am during my study.
  4. Mastering VMware vSphere 5 by Scott Lowe. I started keep in touch with vSphere 5 by this Great Book.
  5. VMware vSphere PowerCLI Reference: Automating vSphere Administration. This is where I gained knowledge for PowerCLI not just only for VCAP. I used it when I was upgrading vSphere 4.0, 4.1 large amount of ESXi servers firm to vSphere 5.0.
  6. ESXTOP by Yellow Bricks and VMworld 2012: Session VSP1423 – ESXtop for Advanced Users. This is where I got knowledge for esxtop to use for troubleshooting.

VCAP5-DCA Exam Experience

One year ago, my First Attempt was a painful experience. I went into the exam room and sat in front of the PC, ready to Rock and Roll, Wait Wait Wait… the lab kit had problems logging in from the exam center PC to the VMware Exam datacenter and I lost the good feeling in my mind. The exam center reported the issue to VMware Education and tried getting L1 support. However, the lab kit never came up and I could not continue the exam. In the end the exam center asked me to reschedule the exam. After two days I made a follow up call to the exam center and I was asked to follow up with VMware education even though the exam center said they will inform me once it’s resolved. I did follow up with VMware education myself and finally I got another appointment for my second attempt to the exam.

Time for my Second attempt! I went in to the exam room with a great feeling. Woh!!! This time the exam lab kit logged in without an issue. When I log into the lab environment, the first thing I noticed there was A PERFORMANCE ISSUE. The whole environment was very slow and I was extremely disappointed. Every single mouse click, it took more than 10 seconds to get a response. It made me feel panicked because even though I had the multiple steps of the answer in my mind after I read the question BUT because of slowness I lost my mind and tried rethinking the solutions for each answers and thus wasting valuable time. I made a complaint about the lab performance issue to VMware Education and they confirmed that they were taking serious action to address these problems. Also they offered me an exam coupon as compensation. Again!

So the time for my Third attempt arrived, this time it was my fault. Because of the performance issue my colleague gave me a reminder to try not to book the exam at business hours, morning or late evening while the internet lines are congested. Because of my busy schedule I couldn’t get perfect timing. Again I had to reschedule in the morning and ended up with the same performance issue. All my colleagues who took the exam at non business critical time successfully PASSED. BTW, at that time there was only one exam center certified for VCAP5-DCA exam here in SG. After this time round I decided to sit back and wait for multiple exam centers to be certified to offer the VCAP5-DCA exam in the hope to get a better schedule.

Time passed by pretty fast with busy schedule for work and family, I just realized that, it was over a year ago I last attempted the exam. When I looked online there were now multiple exam centers certified to provide the VCAP5-DCA exam. I started preparing for my Fourth attempt carefully. I selected different exam centers to get a perfect timing (I needed to log in to PearsonVUE multiple times to find a suitable time) and of course I have to refresh all my knowledge, one year time was enough to erase a lot of information from my mind. At that time my colleague was taking another exam at same exam center where I scheduled. After I listened to the exam center experience from my colleague I now decided and quickly rescheduled my exam to another exam center (Not the one I took last year and not the one my colleague had faced bad exam center experience). This time round, I planned extreme care for exam time, exam center, refresh my studies. I couldn’t afford any single obstacle for my destination to the VCAP5-DCA. As the result, everything was perfect during exam time. NO MORE PERFORMANCE ISSUE, GREAT TIMING AND A GREAT EXAM CENTER EXPERIENCE. I am extremely satisfied after taking the exam.

The Exam Result

It will take some time to get exam result. The official exam receipt said it will take up to 15 business days. My exam result was out one week in time which pretty amazing speed to get result.

Gotcha for Taking the Exam

  1. Try not to take the exam during business hours.
  2. Latest exam blueprint is your lifesaver. Understand and know how quickly you can answer the questions. Choose Command line or GUI for a given question. Scores are given for successfully accomplished tasks and not by how you do it. Unless the questions specifically asked you to do it in either way.
  3. If you get stuck on one question don’t waste your time and your happy mode, note down the question number, go on to the next questions and come back later.
  4. DON’T wait while system is performing activities, go read the next question and try start thinking of the answer. Be Sure, to go back and check whether tasks are successful or they failed.
  5. Don’t forget to bring at least two photo ID’s..Passport, ID, Work Pass or Driver’s License.

I hope that the information which I provided here was useful to those who are preparing for the exam. I am willing to answer any questions which don’t violate the exam NDA. Feel free to post comments, email or twitter at AKMyint.

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8 Responses to VMware VCAP5-DCA Exam Experience

  1. Congrats! Glad the study sheet was helpful.

  2. Congrats.. finally you get it passed and certified as VCAP!
    let’s pursue the next VCAP, and try our best to achieve the dream as VCDX.

  3. Congrats Bro!! When you suggested non-business hours, means anytime outside of 8am to 5pm (UTC+8)?

    • AKMyint says:

      Hi Jason thank you.
      If you could Saturday is the best otherwise after 12:00pm not later than 3pm during week days. I scheduled at 12:45pm Wednesday (UTC+8).

  4. Voiper A says:

    Hi AKMyint,

    Where did you took the exam in SG? I recently attempted the exam and the faced the performance issue : (


  5. Pingback: VCAP5-DCA links | SOSTech

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