My VCP 5 Exam Experience

This morning I sat for and PASSED the VMware Certified Professional Exam on vSphere 5 (VCP510). If I had to sum up the VCP 5 Exam in a single word that word would be tough.

There was a small issue with the test center not having the environment ready for my scheduled exam time. Took them about 45 minutes to get things squared away. This increased the anxiety associated with taking the test a bit but once they worked the problem out with the system everything went OK. I was able to calm myself down once I was seated in front of the testing workstation.

The exam was fairly difficult (tough), much more so than the VCP 4, but I really really enjoyed it. Of course because of the NDA I cannot reveal any specific questions but a lot of the questions were almost like lab set ups. You have this, this, and this and you need it to do this. What is the first thing you should do or why is this not working? Yes there were also some general product knowledge type questions but a lot more of the questions seemed to have you thinking through a configuration or problem.

There are a lot of great study resources on the web and I have listed a few of my favorites with some of my notes on my VCP5 Study page. The Mastering vSphere 5 book by Scott Lowe and the vSphere 5 Clustering Deep Dive by Frank Denneman and Duncan Epping
were also very useful resources. I have to say the best resources for preparing for this exam were my home lab and the hands-on experience from upgrading a production vSphere environment from 4.x to 5.

My home lab is a simple environment built on VMware Workstation 8 with 2 ESXi 5 host and the vCenter Virtual Appliance. This set up was enough to work through just about everything in the VCP5 Blueprint.

I think it is pretty fair to say that if you attempt the VCP 5 exam without at least some hands-on experience you are probably not going to do very well unless you are just extremely lucky.

As with the VCP4 and the VCAP-DCA exams I wish the VMware exams would give you some idea of your strengths and weaknesses. Similar to the way EMC did with the ISA exam. I know the reasoning for not providing the questions you missed but being able to see what blue print objectives you scored weakest in would do a lot to help someone as they continue to work with the product.

I think the best advice I can give anyone who is planning to take the VCP 5 exam is to download the VCP 5 Exam Blueprint, set up a lab environment, and start working through the blueprint objectives.

6 thoughts on “My VCP 5 Exam Experience

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  • Hello Hersey,

    Congratulation on becoming VCP5.

    I am new to VMWare or Virtualization or DC Storage.
    I have a couple of questions regarding preparing for VCP 5 exam and recognition.

    Is it possible to do a self-paced studies and then practise them (hands-on) and then go for the exam ?

    If so, what hardware equipments do you recommend for VCP5 and what VoD or study resources do you highly recommend ?

    Maybe each country is different but i have heard that anyone in Australia wishing to become a VCP5 has to go through a course and satisfy them before he/she can do the actual exam ? Is that true ? They emphasize that there’s a lot of hands-on to master…

    Alternatively, can i use GNS 3 or some sorts of emulator ?

    Thank you for your help.


  • Hi Hersey,

    Forgot to ask you this: Is Linux essential in order to master VCP5 ?
    Or Windows is ok ?

    I know there’s a lot of text based command so if i am newbie to linux or have some unix knowledge, will i run into difficulties ? Or will i ever be able to master VCP 5 ?


    • Not sure I would say it is essential to have Linux knowledge to obtain the VCP certification, but I think having a good basic knowledge of Linux definitely helps. Especially if you are administering a VMware environment.

      Most operational and administration things covered in the VCP blueprint are part of the VI client. If you are actually administering a VMware environment a basic knowledge of Linux will go a long way.


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