VCAP5 DCA Exam Experience and Study Tips

  Today I got my VCAP5 DCA results , I was really happy to see the scorecard with a Pass and Congratulations.

“Congratulations on passing the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5 – Data Center Administration exam! You will receive an email notification from once your certification status has been confirmed and added to your VMware Education Transcript (allow one week).”

This year I have had a very hectic work schedule with many responsibilities in VMware Professional Services team , although I quite liked the challenge and the work I did it had a toll on my personal goal for 2013. This is my first certification in 2013 and I hope that I finish the rest which I am targeting this year. Now enough of the rant lets see what is the exam has in store for you and how can you effectively prepare.

Exam Overview

The total time for this exam is 225 minutes. Candidates who take the VCAP5-DCA exam in a country where English is not a primary language will have an additional 30 minutes added to the exam time. This time extension is automatic, no additional action is required from the candidate.

This one has 26 lab questions that you have to complete and each question can have multiple parts. There is partial credit so read each question (and its parts) thoroughly! Passing score for the exam is 300.

In terms of what is covered in the exam you can refer to the  blueprint from VMware:

Exam Experience

This was a tough exam just in the sheer amount of tasks you are asked to do in a short amount of time. If you are not a Virtualization Consultant a Virtualization Administrator then you should have plenty of lab time. The exam touches each and every section of the blueprint so don’t miss any section and any module of vSphere to do practice on. There is a help in the exam with the pdf documents which you can refer , however it can be very slow and can eat up your precious time. So unless you need to refer the doc please don’t do so.

There is a jump box vm which has all of your vSphere clients, remote desktop connections, SSH, and other connectivity tools. Additionally, the vSphere documentation set is on this VM. Familiarize yourself with the tools on this VM when you start and I would also recommend opening connections to all your important sources. This will save you time later on!

Thankfully I didn’t have any interface crashes this time , however I had a problem with my VUM environment.

This was my third Advanced Administration exam on VMware starting from VI3 , vSphere4 and now on vSphere 5 , and I feel the exam environment has come a long way and so do the complexity of the tasks.

Overall I enjoyed the exam and thought it was true test of some one’s knowledge of vSphere. It’s definitely a potboiler to the finish, but I really liked how well the live lab format worked and the way you can structure the tasks around a scenario. This exam will leave you mentally and physically tired so be well prepared and relaxed.

Tips and Tricks

Know each way (PowerCLI, command line, GUI) to do a task on the blueprint, but also have your preferred way.If you are not a powercli guy then make sure that you know the GUI very well.

One of the things that I used for the exam was to scan the questions initially then mark them up if they are in the same category , this has helped a lot. For example I got around 5 tasks which were logically related to each other and finished them in one go rather than going as per the questions.

The scanning also helps you to figure out which questions to attempt first based on your comfort level, which builds confidence in the exam.

Last but not the least know what your doing , if you don’t know a certain question don’t waste time and skip to the next question.


You will find some usual suspects below , they have done awesome job for this exam and will be great resource for your exam preparation.

My VCAP5 DCA Study Guide :

Chris Wahl :
Jason Langer :
Josh Coen:
ProfesionalVMware : Definitely watch/listen to all of the episodes to help prepare:

Final Thoughts

I am a very happy man today , however you have to have patience for the exam result as it takes minimum three weeks. The next logical step for me will be to start preparing for my VCDX , but we all know it’s easier said than done 🙂

8 Replies to “VCAP5 DCA Exam Experience and Study Tips”

  1. Congratulations on passing and thanks for providing feedback. I have my DCA booked in 4 weeks and any heads up information is always good to have.


  2. Hi Samir,

    Congratulations !!!

    I have cleared my VCAP4-DCA in the month of March 2013 and at present I am searching for a job as I have taken a career break. I was just wondering whether clearing this certificate have any value in the job market as I dont see people recognize this certificate. I am preparing for my VCAP5-DCA but thinking whether its useful for my career.



    • Deepika,

      Apart from the certification you will also need relevant work experience,this certification is very valuable and currently very limited set of people in the world has it. So don’t worry about the certificate value.

      Hope that helps.


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