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VMware Certified Professional (VCP, VCP5-DCV, VCP510) Exam Preparation

This page is intended to provide advice to IT Professionals, who plan to take the VCP-5 Exam and become VMware Certified Professionals on vSphere 5.

VMware recently modified the name of the certification from VCP5 to VCP5-DCV.   So far, the official name of the corresponding exam appears to be unchanged and is still named VCP510.   Don’t be surprised if some web pages and news articles still refer to the certification as VCP5 or VCP-5.  Don’t be surprised to find references to the exam as VCP5-DCV or VCP5.  But to be accurate today, we should state that a key step to becoming a VMware Certified Professional – Datacenter Virtualization on vSphere 5 (VCP5-DCV) is to pass the VCP510 exam.

Another key step is to attend a qualifying, authorized VMware course.  Generally speaking, the vSphere 5 FastTrack class is the best course to prepare for this exam, but most students take the vSphere Install Configure Manage course.   In some cases the What’s New in vSphere 5 or the vSphere Optimize and Scale course could also suffice.

I recommend that you begin by reviewing VMware’s web page on VMware Certification that provides all the details.  On this page, you can match your specific, current certification and training level and determine the specific, required course options that are required for you becoming a VCP5-DCV.  Then examine the Exam Blueprint, Program Overview, Mock Exam, and Forum that are located on the same web page.

Here is a list of recommendations that I typically provide to my students.

  • Do not be concerned if the study materials you utilize are version 5.0 or 5.1, the test is 5.x.  So, no questions should appear in the exam whose answer would vary in vSphere 5.1 versus vSphere 5.0.
  • For students of the vSphere FastTrack course, you can rely almost solely on the course materials for your studies.  Pay close attention to the tiniest details in the text.  Practice performing the labs to the point where you feel you could comfortably repeat similar steps in a production environment without having to look inside the lab book for guidance.
  • For students of the vSphere Install Configure Manage course, use your books as your main study material, paying close attention to details, but plan on gathering more materials to study, as probably 30% or better of the exam questions are not covered in this course.  Some of the items that are not covered in detail in the vSphere ICM class, but will be covered on the exam, are dvSwitches, Host Profiles, and Storage DRS.  Use the Blueprint from VMware’s Certification web page as a guide on what additional items to study.  Be sure to gain hands-on experience with any such items.
  • Here is a very handy link, which matches items from the VCP510 Blueprint with appropriate resources: http://virtual-infrastructure.it/certifications-on-virtualization/vcp/vcp5/
  • Here is another handy link with study materials: http://blog.mwpreston.net/vcp-5/
  • Get familiar enough with all VMware products, such that you can identify the purpose of each product.  You do not need to know details about each product, but you should at least know what the products are.  Here is a starting point:  http://www.vmware.com/products/
  • Memorize some of the maximums, but the exam does not seem to focus to hard on this.  Memorizing the maximums found in the vSphere 5 Install Configure Manage course book should be adequate, but if you prefer to a more comprehensive list, use this link:  http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere5/r50/vsphere-50-configuration-maximums.pdf
  • Likewise, memorize ports for the various vSphere connections that are covered in the vSphere Install Configure Manage course.  Here is a handy diagram: http://www.vreference.com/public/ConnectionsPorts-v5.pdf
  • Be sure to fully understand CHAP as described in the course book and on page 40 of this document:  http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r40/vsp_40_iscsi_san_cfg.pdf
  • Handy reference card:   http://www.vreference.com/vsphere-5-card/
  • 3rdparty – unofficial, sample exam questions:
  • 3rd party blog and references for VCP exam:  http://vmwaretraining.blogspot.com/2011/10/vcp5-information-and-preparation.html
  • Expect the exam to be 100% multiple choice, where the number of correct answers for each question is specifically identified in the question. For example, the question will not state “more than one answer may apply”, instead it would specifically state “choose three answers”.
  • Don’t get stuck on questions that are worded poorly or that technically have too few or too many correct answers.  Simply decide which answer(s) VMware is most likely wanting and keep moving.
  • Gain hand-on experience, which is a requirement for becoming a VCP.  Students who do not have access to a working environment should create their own personal lab environment.  Many articles appear throughout the Internet for creating a home lab for VCP study, such this comprehensive article on Boerlowies Blog.  Although the exam is not hands-on, I recommend that you feel comfortable that you could successfully implement and utilize all the features of a vSphere Enterprise Plus in a greenfield environment without having to research any steps.
  • For students, who took a course besides vSphere FastTrack or vSphere ICM, and for students, who prefer a single source for all their studying, use the Official VCP5 Certification Guide from the VMWare Press, written by Bill Ferguson.   Students using this resource should not have to utilize any other resource to prepare for the exam.

I hope you find this useful.  I am interested in your feedback.

14 Comments
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  2. Touche. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the amazing work.

  3. I truly love your blog.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did
    you develop this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m attempting to create my very own website and want to find out where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Kudos!

    • I am a bit of a rookie at blogs, myself. I used WordPress.com to create my website at the recommendations of a friend.

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  4. This is the third time I’ve been to your website. Thanks for sharing more information.

  5. satyendra ranjan permalink

    thanxx for your knowledge sharing .. really grateful .. god bless u !!

  6. Pat permalink

    I have heard that Ferguson’s book doesn’t cover exam materIal. If you look at some of the questions at actualtests, the real questions are more troubleshooting oriented. You say we should not have to use another source but you don’t say won’t have to use another source.

    • Interesting. Two recent VCP candidates have no shared their displeasure with the Ferguson book. I will modify my recommendations.

  7. Excellent resource John, if it helps anyone else with the exam, here is my study notes: http://vikernel.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/vcp5-dcv-certification/

  8. Amit permalink

    Hi,

    I attempted the VCP550 exam and got failed. My Score was 244.
    Can you tell me what is the procedure for retaking the exam?
    and what is the no. of times can I appear for it ?

  9. paran permalink

    as i fresh to vmware . which course i like to start …. as i know how to install vmware , now wil i go with vsphere …. or vmware icm . can u suggest the right option ……. awaiting for ur precious response …

    • The VMware vSphere FastTrack course may be a good fit for you. I contains all the content of the vSphere Install Configure Manage class, but also covers Enterprise Plus Features such as Host Profiles, Distributed Virtual Switches, and Storage DRS. It is the best course to take for VCP5-DCV preparation.

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