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After two year I’m again on the VCP beta exam… (on July, 14 2009 I’ve take the VCP4 beta exam, that was the first beta exam from VMware).
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The beta exam

As written in the official blueprint (v1.2) the beta exam (code VCP511) consist of 180 questions (with a short pre-exam survey of 8 questions).

Beta exam period will finish on July, 24 (I never though that some VUE testing center were open also on other day than Mon-Fri) and can be schedules in any VUE center (depending on available seats). Note that each people can see both VCP510 and VCP511 exams in their profile, but the official will be available only on late Aug and the beta is only on invite… so I think that without the invite voucher (that is individual) is not possible book the exam.

Exam length

The time limit for the exam is 225 minutes, with an additional 15  minutes to complete the survey questions and agreements. Candidates who  take the exam in a country where English is not a primary language will  have an additional 30 minutes added to the exam time (the time extension  is automatic, no additional action is required as I can confirm).

Honestly the duration is quite good… I’ve got much time to review all the questions (with still 40 min left). On the VCP411 the exam was 255 + 30 min… too much… But also there were more questions (as I remember).

Of course you must use the time in the right way… do not stay too much on a question… use the review (yes in this exam there is and it’s work) to skip and see later.

This time I was also lucky that the air cooling was working (2 year ago it wasn’t and the room windows were on the sun side ) so there was no problem to stay so much time without drink and make pause (I think that you can make a pause, but you will only loose other time…).

Exam contents

The blueprint cover all the arguments… and what is not included in the blueprint is not present in the exam questions… except a general overview of VMware products and solutions (as usual in previous VCP exam)  and on cloud concepts.

How many questions are on licensing? I cannot say too much… just look in the blueprint to have an idea. Fortunately VCP is a technical exam and most of commercial questions goes in VSP accreditation.

The official Mock exam is still easy compared to the real exam, but this time I think that can give a minimum idea of the level of some questions.

The questions are not so easy… most are multi-choice and usually only one answer can be discarded easy… the other answers in most cases are really similar, and in some case I haven’t found the best answer (not present) but only one that could be correct.

Another note… you must expect some questions related to the command line… But honestly they are not so difficult… just remember that it’s ESXi… You may except that legacy ESX is no more present, but it’s not true… upgrade questions of course include both ESXi and ESX upgrade path (as written in the blueprint).

Compared to previous VCP exam there are several scenario questions that require also administration and/or design capacity… Some could be similar to VCAP-DCD or old Admin exam questions.

Yes… the overall difficult level seems that is raised… but could be a good news… less mnemonic questions (but of course they are still present).

Note that some questions are really generic question (some also for a VCP3), other are specific only on new features and other have answers that are completely different from the vSphere 4.x case.

Questions distribuitions seems good and not un-balanced only on some new features (I remember that on VCP4 beta really a lot of questions where on DVS and vApp).

Exam references

The blueprint is a good starting point… but actually it does not include link to other documents (of course official product documents are not available yet).

Some good info can be found the the What’s new topics. For a complete list of them see:

Also in Partner Central there are some doc and presentations, but probably the official product documents could be enough as a reference.

Some book can help (like “VMware vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive” or, when will be released, “Mastering VMware vSphere 5”), but do not forget also a good lab to make practice especially for troubleshooting, deployment (this new version has a lot of options!), upgrade and management.

Exam result?

As usual for a beta exam, I have to wait to know the final result. I hope that this time beta results are published before official exam goes live (this issues IMHO is a bad aspect of VMware beta exams).

Probably also this time will be not possible (I can understand that there are only few weeks to the end of Aug)… But I hope that at least are faster than VCP4 beta results (if I remember correct, more that 3 months).