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Jun 27

That was brutal – My VCAP-DCA exam experience.

I am just now getting home from my attempt at the VCAP-DCA exam and I have to say it was pretty BRUTAL. My brain is mush and I don’t have a really great feeling about how I did.

It is a live lab and I had an issue pretty early on with how I read a lab activity and it came back to bite me in one of the last activities. I tried to get back to fix it but I just ran out of time. I finished the configurations required in the lab but did not have time to actually make it work, and I know for a fact that it would not have worked because of the earlier screw up. Problem is that I did not uncover the issue until it was too late. Hindsight is a bitch.

The exam is tough but the time limit is what really gets you (or the time limit is what really gets me anyway), you feel rushed and if you are like me you make stupid mistakes. I was given 34 labs and had 3.5 hours to complete them. Some took a few minutes while others required a fair bit of thought. I skipped at least one that I was not very sure of in hopes of going back to working on it later, there was just no time. Then there is the early one that I screwed the pooch on, I am fairly certain that this one lab is what will end up costing me the exam. Another 60 minutes, or even another 45 minutes would have been enough to correct my mistake.

The exam environment is not a bad as I have heard some say. It would be nice if you could ALT-TAB between open windows and the 1024×768 resolution sucks, but I had no problems with how the interface responded or refreshed. Scrolling was a little cumbersome but I don’t think it really held me up any. I did run into a few instances where artifacts (configs and files) of previous exams attempts had not been cleaned up.

If I had to give someone advice on taking the exam it would be read the lab instructions carefully. You probably will not have time to fix things if a future lab uncovers an earlier mistake.

I am going to stay positive and hope for the best. I am going to keep studying and practicing until I get the official results. I know the technologies, I know how to implement them, and now I know what to expect from the exam so if I didn’t make it, I’ll be back ASAP to take it again.

Keeping my fingers crossed…

About the author

vHersey

Hersey Cartwright is an IT professional with extensive experience designing, implementing, managing, and supporting technologies that improve business processes. Hersey is Solutions Architect for SimpliVity covering Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland. He holds the VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX-DV #128) certification. Hersey actively participates in the VMware community and was awarded the VMware vExpert title in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012. He enjoys working with, teaching, and writing about virtualization and other data center technologies. Follow Hersey on Twitter @herseyc

5 comments

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  1. Jason Boche

    You may be surprised by the results (I was). Best of luck on a passing score!

    1. vHersey

      Thanks for the well wishes Jason. I hope to be (and If I pass I definitely will be) surprised.

      Hersey

  2. Sean

    Hi,

    I totally agree with Jason. I also found a lot of old files from others attempts and the screen resolution was terrible. I keep saying it to people but one of the big requirements to pass is to stay calm and manage your time.

    Its a tough exam especially since its a real world lab, there are a lot of tasks to complete in a short time especially when you are not used to the IP’s, how things are setup already, etc.
    Wish you all the best with the result and the wait.

    1. vHersey

      Even a basic network diagram would have been helpful (what networks are connected to what vmnics). I know with a little digging you can figure it out but again time is precious and time was freaking me out. Connecting a vmk to the wrong vSwitch is what I believe ultimately will have done me in.

      Thanks again for the well wishes, really wish I felt better about how I did. I am going to continue to prepare and work on my weaknesses – if not to take the DCA again then to continue on the path to the DCD.

      Hersey

  3. Jay Scheponik

    I just took both my VCAP-DCD and VCAP-DCA at VMWorld 2013. Passed the DCD and honestly the wait on the results for the DCA is killing me. I’m 4 days into the wait and hoping my test somehow finds its way to the top of the pile. The time crunch is insane. I know I completed 21 of the 26 completely, bits and pieces of the remaining 5. Hopefully it was enough to pass.

    My recommendations to anyone is practice, practice, practice. Setup a little lab at home or work if possible and do normal everyday setup type stuff as fast as possible, and then do it again faster.

  1. VCAP-DCA Prep Resources and Thanks | vHersey

    […] from VMware and I PASSED. It took 8 business days to get my results and when I left the exam I did not have a great feeling about my performance. The exam was tough and the time limit makes it brutal. I continued to prepare for the exam up […]

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