Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Take on VCAP-DCD with spare Time at the end.

Yesterday I took my VCAP5-DCD Exam at the Pearson Vue Center in Toronto.

I have been that place so many times now so familiar with all the process and all.

I have appeared for version 4 few times as well with no luck. So decided to drop the idea to keep reappearing for version 4 and focus on version 5 instead.

Seriously I have to think twice about the certification Tread Mill as Jason mentioned in his post as its becoming aggressive day by day. For this year, so far, I have given 4 exams. VCAP5-DCA BETA (which I passed recently), VCP5-DT (Passed - VMware View based), VCP5-IaaS Beta (bloogged about the experience and waiting for result) and now VCAP5-DCD. Finished the VTSP 5 as well which I don't consider as a certification but still mentioning here as spent time to do it.

I found that each VCAP exams are very time intensive. There is a rule board each candidate has to read before entering in to the exam hall "You are not allowed to take any scheduled break in between this Exam" and I am always thinking where is the time to take a break for 3 Hr .45 Mins Exam.

But recently I found a nice post on VCAP5-DCD Exam experience by @jasonboche

In his post he put up a strategy on how to save time or rather create a time by attending the questions in different order.

Everyone who has appeared for this Exam knows that there are 3 types of questions as per the blue print.

1) Multiple Choice
2) Drag and Drop
3) Visio like Tool Design

As per Jason he suggested to flag all the Design questions and just finish the multiple choice and drag and drop at once.

Doing so, at the mark of 2 Hr.15 minutes after starting the exam, I was at question 100. Which means that I have completed all the other questions with enough time given to each question with no rushing whatsoever.

This gave me approx. 1 Hour and 35 minutes to finish the 6 Visio Design questions. I have started working on them and finished all of them by having another 12 minutes to spare which I have used to review the questions from 1 again (skipping the design ones obviously).

While I was at question 82 the pop up came up, your Time is over.

Unfortunately after pressing OK I did not get the popup like Jason but got "You did not successfully Pass the Exam". Score report came right away at the reception counter which says I missed the passing score by 68.

Now the above format can't be followed any more as there is a little (but Critical) update was made to the new Blueprint since October 26th 2012 which is published for VCAP5-DCD.

Page 3 of  Exam Blueprint Version 1.6 states that 

"1.2 Number of Questions

The VDCD510 exam contains 100 questions. The items include a mixture of multiple-choice, drag-and-drop items and design items using an in-exam design tool. A short pre-exam survey is performed, consisting of 7 items.

During the exam you will be designing solutions based on customer scenarios using an in-exam design tool. These items take significantly longer to complete than the multiple choice or drag-and-drop items, and time should be budgeted accordingly during the exam.
Once you have provided a complete answer or design for a given exam item and advanced to the next item, you will NOT be allowed to return to that item and the item cannot be flagged for later review. Please ensure when taking the exam that you have completed each answer and/or design before continuing to the next item. Drag-and-drop items and Design items will prompt you for confirmation that the item is complete before advancing to the next item."


So now my suggestion would be to put full focus on what you are attempting and give your 100% or 200% what ever you think the best for each question and spend the time wisely on each question. You will be notified about the completion of the Design (Visio like) and Drag and Drop Questions until you finish them properly and then you can move forward to the next question. Now I am not sure if you can still flag the multiple choice questions as its not clear from the blueprint but I assume so.

Also thinking about a situation where the candidate not finishing the Design/Drag n Drop item correctly then how much time he think should be good enough to spend and finish it? If not then may be the only choice is to Skip it and go for the next one. But as the questions can't be skipped what other choice the candidate might have.

This change is very crucial to anyone who is going to attend this Exam as you need to restructure your strategy for your attempt and DO THE BEST on each item/question in one SHOT only. NO more Second chance.


Now the material I used /will be using again for preparing this Exam are as follows

1) Blue Print
2) Official Documentation
3) Design Book by Scott Lowe, Forbes Guthrie and Maish S K
4) vBrownBags on VCAP-DCD (both US and APAC versions)
5) Official Documentation
6) Customer case studies
7) vSphere  Design Train Signal Videos by Scott Lowe

I know the above should be enough to Pass but frankly speaking without the actual Design hands on experience or involvement in some kind of Designing for vSphere solutions, I find it difficult somewhere which I am missing for sure. The feedback on the report is not helping at all to find out the area I missed mostly. Which should be corrected based on the items missed by the candidate and just not suggest in general all the areas which needs focus again.

 vSphere Design Workshop is definitely a good option but not lucky enough to go for one yet.

Time to start preparing for the next attempt from today itself as took 3 days of vacation (to study) for this Exam and cant let my family suffer by taking their time. I think this is enough for this year.

I am ready to do any Design Grilling (as @vcdxnz001 offered) to get some more exposure on the Design side which is for me is the other side of the coin.

Wish me luck and Good Luck to all !!

1 comment:

  1. Great writeup mandivs! You were pretty close to passing. I hope you nail it next time - don't give up!