My VMware VCAP5-DCD BETA Exam Experience

I received an invitation to take the VCAP5-DCD BETA Exam a couple of weeks ago and took the exam at Partner Exchange. Like Jason Boche’s experience, the exam consisted of 131 questions and I was given 225 minutes to complete. The experience was similar to my VCAP4-DCD experience over a year ago.

What You Need to Know

Like before, I am under several NDAs, so I will not be giving out even hints about exam content. If you got an invitation to take the beta, pay attention to the blueprint and make sure you are up to date on everything listed. Once the exam becomes GA, you should be able to go to http://www.vmware.com/go/vcap to get the blueprint. In order to take the exam, you need to be invited. You MAY be able to log into the PearsonVue site and look for “Exams Requiring Authorization” in the VMware section to see if the VDCD511 Exam is listed.

Like before, make sure you take a look at the VCAP4-DCD Exam UI Demo. I forgot to heed my own advice and ended up a little confused about how the connectors worked. The EXPERIENCE of the diagrams was the same as the last version, so the tutorial will still help.

Many of the scenarios were exhibits where you had to click a button to view them and you would get an image of the scenario text. It was a rather small fixed font with no way to zoom in. If this is extended to GA, I would highly recommend bringing your reading glasses if you are an old guy like me.  Everything else is done in a fairly large font, so you don’t really need them. The diagrams included a way to expand the text window, but I don’t remember if you could resize the font.

Like I said before, this is a DESIGN exam. The questions involve reading scenarios and making judgments based on the scenario. You may see a list of answers that may all be potentially correct in some way, but will not meet the requirements, constraints, etc. of the scenario, so pay attention. The good thing is that there appeared to be a limited number of scenarios, so you MAY be able to skim some of the text if you feel comfortable with that method. This time there was not a calculator available, so you will need to figure out things on a dry erase board. That may change for the GA.

Again, TIME was important here. Since I had read Jason’s post and had already taken two of these exams, I developed a strategy that worked pretty well for me:

  • I answered each question and “drag-and-drop” as they came up.
  • If I was unsure of an answer, I picked what I thought was the best answer and marked it for review.
  • I skipped the diagrams on the first pass and marked them for review.
  • Any questions that I thought deserved comment, I marked for comment and moved on.
  • Once I answered all of the questions and drag-and drops, I was presented with the review screen.
  • I went through the first pass of the review and skipped any marked question and completed the diagrams, unmarking each diagram as I went.
  • I went through a second pass of the review and fixed what I could on the remaining questions.
  • I was then presented with a comments review screen. At this point, I had about six minutes left.
  • I commented on a few questions and ran out of time.

If you are taking the beta and follow this method, you can send additional comments to the certification email address if you run out of time.


If you received an invitation to take the exam, there is a link to get the blueprint guide. I am not going to provide it here. Read it and make sure you are comfortable with each item. It is pretty true to the exam.

I didn’t take a class, but the vSphere 5: Design Workshop course (3 day) is sure to help. The other thing that will help is experience with the entire process of assessing, planning and designing vSphere 5 systems.


I have heard a few things about the VCDX. The first is that the path from VCDX4 to VCDX5 may be the same as the path from VCDX3 to VCDX4, which means that passing this exam (It will take up to eight weeks to get your results) may gain me my VCDX5. The second is that they may change the upgrade requirements to include a fresh defense. Finally, I heard that there may be some “tracks” to the VCDX, such as VCDX+vSphere or VCDX+View or VCDX+vCloud.

THESE ARE ALL THIRD-HAND OPINIONS AND RUMORS! And I ain’t one to spread no rumors Ummm hmmm…..

Time will tell.