I was planning and trying to do this certification since last year but did not manage to get time. when I did my first VCP certification, which was VCP550 in this Oct. when i got the certificate, it was a really good feeling. It was the time when I decided and started to prepare my vDCA550 exam and it took me 2 month continues study to prepare the exam and finally I sat in the exam on Dec 18 and passed it in my first attempt. Today, I want to share my experience and difficulties, which I faced to get it done.
As this is my first Lab exam ever and I had very difficult experience to register the vDCA550 exam from Pearson VUE through credit card. I want to share this so that other can learn to avoid the problems, which I faced. following are the some key points which you should know.
- Get Authorization from VMWare prior to the registration for vDCA Exam. (OfCource you all knew that but it’s the first step)
- If you want to book your exam through Pearson site with credit card then you should first authorize your credit card against your Pearson VUE ID/account by calling at your regional Pearson Authority phone no. you can easily get this form Pearson Website.
- Since, I am using my friend’s credit card. So Pearson required an Authority letter or an email from my friends as an acknowledgment to allow me to use his credit card before I place the call to authorize this credit card against my Pearson VUE ID/Account.
- In acknowledgement email he/she should write following things.
- Last four digits of his credit card
- Credit card bank name
- VUE ID of the candidate whom he/she want to authorize.
- Exam name and code whom the candidate want to register.
- When you placed the call and they got you credit card and Exam Registration info, then you have to wait for 24-72 hour to authorize the credit card against your Pearson ID. Meanwhile you can check periodically by yourself by paying through Pearson Site. If it works then its mean you got authorized and if it’s not working after 72 hours then you should give them again a call.
NOTE: Don’t provide them the security code. Because some time agent ask you to provide it as they are not properly educated that, it is not required. It happened to me two times, when two different agent ask me the code.
- If you don’t have credit card than you can call or visit your nearest Authorize Pearson Testing Center and ask them to register the exam in your behalf, if they have authority to register the exam and Ofcource you should pay them as cash or using any other payment methods which they accepted.
Before registration, I am able to go through the vDCA550 objective once. A week before the exam registration, I was sitting in home and thinking about the exam, than something clicked in my mind to search for discount voucher for Advance professional exam. When I start goggling it. Fortunately, I found one with 50% discount. But crazy part was, it expired after one week at “19-Dec-14” and I was still in exam registration process. But luckily, I got register for the exam one day before the exam and unlucky part was there was no exam slot available at my nearest exam center before 19-Dec. so I forced to register it with another exam center which was another city and far away from me, approximately 35OKm and I had to traveler there for exam.
There are few tips. which, I want to share and it helped me alot for preparation.
- Download the latest vDCA550 blue print and go through each topic one by one.
- At least 4, 5 days prior the exam, you should go through every objective of the blueprint quickly once, I prepared a checklist for that.
NOTE: I prepared this check list with name “4 Days vDCA550 Lab Revision Planning”, you could modify it according to your needs. The “day-1” tasks are those, in which I am very strong and “day-4” tasks with the least strong. Why I do the least Strong tasks at last? It is because, when I prepared it day before the exam, I would definitely remember the most in the exam.
- Take a good night sleep before the exam.
- Try to schedule it in the morning, so you sit in exam with fresh mind.
Following are some exam preparation material. Which, I followed and it helped me to prepare my certification exam.
- TrainSignal – VMware vSphere Optimize and Scale (VCAP5-DCA) by “Jason Nash”
- CBT Nuggets – VMware vSphere 5.5 VCA-DCV VCP5-DCV by “Keith Barker”
- vCenter Orchestrator 5.5 Foundations for vSphere Administrators by “Greg Shields”
- vCenter Orchestrator Fundamental training videos by “VMWare”
- vSphere 5.5 Official Documentation
- VMWare Press VCAP5-DCA Official Cert Guide (Great Book)
- Esxtop 5.5 Troubleshooting quick reference guide
NOTE: According to me, the most important part of the preparation is your experience related to the product.
Finally the day come and I sat in exam. In my mind, I was 50/50 about that time. The exam center was good. But lab was slow and it was very difficult to perform the exam tasks especially when I going to opened 2 or 3 windows at once. The worst part was the vSphere web client experience, which was very slow and available only in form of Mozilla Browser.
Time is your biggest enemy in this lab exam. You should choose it wisely, following are few tips.
- Use vSphere Desktop Client instead of Web Client, whenever possible.
- There are 23 Lab Questions, In first 5/10 Minutes, go through each question and have a quick look, which lab have small tasks to perform and note it then start accordingly. (Optional).
When I am doing the lab, time was running very fast and luckily due to non-english native language, I got 30 minutes extra. which helped me alot to pass the exam. When the time ended, I was still shot of 3 questions and have doubt about some attempted question as well.
According to VMWare, I have to wait minimum 15 business days to get to know whether I passed the exam or not. But when I reached home at that day and checked my email at night, I noticed that, I received an email from VMware about the exam score report. I quickly opened it and got relieved when I saw the status as “passed” :).
In the end, i would like to thank VMWare and all the peoples who share their knowledge in the internet especially where i got helped (which are in Exam Prep materiel list) to prepare my exam. I also want to say special thanks to my parents/family and friends, who prayed and helped me for this exam without them, it was not possible task to perform.
During all of my preparation, I happened to write my own notes with my own experience and ofcource with the help of above mentioned learning material. i will share it later days in my blog, so other can get help from it to prepare their vDCA Exam.