I received an invitation on July 8th, 2011 to participate in the VCP5 beta exam. The availability period was from July 12th through July 24th, and registration opened on the 12th. I had been participating in the vSphere 5 beta program for a few weeks, I had installed and configured the product and had about 10 hours of hands-on experience when I received the invitation.
There weren’t all that many participating Vue locations, but that’s how it works with betas I guess. The exam consisted of 180 questions over 225 minutes – only 48 seconds per question. Seemed like nowhere near enough when I read about it, but it turned out to be plenty of time.
The exam had the familiar mark and review later interface. Beta exams have a comments button for every question – VMware expects the beta participant to give feedback on each question. Results did not arrive until today, 9/7/2011. I’m told that 7 weeks is quite a bit faster than it has been for past beta exams. As this was my first, I don’t have anything to compare it to.
I decided to follow my typical certification exam strategy – go through the exam as fast as I can. If I’m not sure of an answer within a few seconds of reading the choices, mark it for review and move on. Making comments on the questions slowed me down a bit, but I stuck with the strategy. By the time I made it to the end, I had about 50% that I thought were correct. I then went back and reviewed my questions. I walked out of there thinking that I had barely passed, and I chalked that up to a lack of preparation time. I would typically spend 6-8 weeks getting ready, 50+ hours of study time. For this I only put in about 15 hours.
When I took the beta, I found it to be extremely difficult. I think my perception of the difficulty of the exam was related to the lack of study time, coupled with the fact that I saw 2.5x more questions than the standard VCP5 candidate. Looking back, I do think it’s a bit harder than the VCP4 – it does require some hands-on knowledge. I don’t think you can pass the exam without actually playing with ESXi.
In the end, I passed!