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Tips on Preparing for and Passing the VCP5-DCV Exam

May 22, 2014
John A. Davis


This paper is aimed at IT professionals who are interested in earning a VMware Certified Professional on Data Center Virtualization (VCP5-DCV) certification. It provides the benefits of having the certification, details for earning the certification and tips for passing the exam.


How to Achieve VCP5-DCV

Be sure to follow the official paths and blueprint on VMware's official website for VCP5-DCV. Here is a summary of the paths to become VCP5-DCV:

If you are just getting started, then the requirements are:

- Take a qualifying course, such as VMware vSphere Install Configure Manage or VMware vSphere FastTrack

- Gain hands-on experience

- Pass a VCP5-DCV exam

If you are already VCP4 (but not VCP5-DCV), then the steps are:

- VMware recommendation: Take the VMware vSphere What's New [v5.x] course or another qualifying course

- Gain hands-on experience

- VMware requirement: Pass a VCP5-DCV exam

If you have taken a VCP4-DCV qualifying course, but are not yet certified, then the requirements are:

- Take the VMware vSphere What's New [v5.x] course or another qualifying course, such as Optimize and Scale

- Gain hands-on experience

- Pass a VCP5-DCV exam

Two exams are currently available for VCP5-DCV-the VCP510 exam and the VCP550 exam. Either exam can be used to earn VCP5-DCV certification. If you are already have VCP5-DCV status and earned it by taking the VCP510 exam, then you do not need to take the VCP550 exam. Generally speaking, anyone who still needs to take a course on the path to VCP5-DCV certification should take a version 5.5 course and take the VCP-550 exam.

If you want to take a course that does the best job for preparing you for taking a VCP5-DCV exam, then consider taking the vSphere FastTrack class. It is a 50-hour class (five 10-hour days). It covers everything that is covered in the vSphere Install Configure Manage course, plus more. Generally speaking, the vSphere Install Configure Manage course focuses on vSphere Enterprise edition, while the vSphere FastTrack course focuses on vSphere Enterprise Plus edition. This means the vSphere FastTrack course includes details on features that are only available in the Enterprise Plus edition, such as host profiles, storage DRS, storage profiles, and distributed virtual switches, which are covered in the exam.

If you feel you are already very strong with the material covered in the vSphere Install Configure Manage course, but need to take a qualifying course, then the vSphere Optimize and Scale course may be a great choice.

This white paper examines many of the objectives, but not all. Be sure to download the correct blueprint for the specific exam that you plan to take (VCP510 or VCP550). Closely examine the blueprint and address each item prior to scheduling the exam.

The main steps towards registering for the exam are to use VMware certification website to gain authorization and Pearson VUE's website to register. Here is a statement from the VMware Certification Registration FAQ  web page:

The exam registration process for VMware certification exams starts at http://mylearn.vmware.com/portals/certification/. Begin here to determine the certification you wish to achieve and to check for any pre-requisites. When you are ready to take the certification exam, click the "Register" link so that your authorization can be processed. Next, schedule the specific testing location, date and time by going to www.pearsonvue.com/vmware

The typical price for either exam is $225.

General Tips for Exam Preparation

Ensure that the materials you are studying are based on the proper version of vSphere that corresponds to the exam version that you intend to take. VCP510 corresponds to VMware vSphere 5.1 and VCP550 corresponds to VMware vSphere 5.5.

Get familiar with the configuration maximums. The VCP510 exam should not cover maximums and minimums that changed between vSphere versions 5.0 and 5.1, but the VCP550 exam could cover lots of maximums and minimums, including those that changed between versions 5.1 and 5.5. Try to memorize most of the maximums listed in the vSphere Install Configure Manage (or FastTrack) course material. Then wait until a day or two before the exam and to get familiar with the remaining maximums, but don't bother memorizing all of them. Here is a link to the official Configuration Maximums for vSphere version 5.1:


Here is a link to the official Configuration Maximums for vSphere version 5.5:


Although the exam is not "hands-on", it is intended to verify that you have hands-on knowledge and experience with vSphere.

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