After  passing the VCAP 6.5 DCV Design exam in March this year I booked to sit the second part of the certification in early August, this post provides detail on how I found the VCAP 6.5 DCV Deploy exam and my overall experience, along with the material I used to prepare and some (hopefully useful) tips for anyone thinking of sitting this exam in the near future.

1st Attempt - a bad start...

I had to travel to a test centre that was further away to sit the deploy exam (it doesn't seem to be widely offered here in the UK) and the time slots were only available on a weekend, I went for an early morning on a Saturday as the exam showed as 3hrs 25mins long.

After arriving at the test centre and sitting down at the test station it soon became apparent that my test environment was not going to load... a false start and a Saturday morning wasted.

More frustrating was that all the prep I had carried out in the weeks leading up to the exam felt like complete waste of time, the pressure was now on to get the exam re-booked as soon as possible, after logging a support request with the Pearson Vue test centre I was contacted the following week and provided with a voucher to cover the cost of a re-sit.

2nd Attempt - a not so bad start...

3 weeks later in late August I found myself sat at the same exam terminal with the VMware exam lab loading, what a relief I thought... only to find after sitting for 10 minutes and looking through the lab environment and VMware offline pdf documents that there were no exam questions loaded (they should have loaded down the right hand side of the screen instead I was faced with blank box)

With 15-20 minutes lost* the test centre coordinator reloaded the entire lab and the questions appeared**, I was off and running and although the lost time would return to haunt me later in the exam I managed to finish all but 2 questions fully.

4 weeks later I received my score report via email stating that I had passed !

Despite running into technical issues on both attempts I would still recommend sitting this exam, it tested a good selection of my vSphere knowledge in a short space of time and without the time limit would actually be quite good fun:)

*Do not wait like I did every minute counts in a practical exam like this, if you run in to any issues in the early part of the exam get the test center coordinator involved straight away.

** After speaking to other members of the vExpert community it seems I am not the only one to have no questions load on starting the lab session, one tip that solved this for someone else was to change the language of the exam away from English and then back again, after doing this the questions loaded, this would have almost certainly been quicker that closing and reconnecting to the whole lab again, saving me more valuable time.

Tackling the exam - My approach

The exam bank presented to me was a total of 17 questions.

The approach I took was to answer as many questions in the bank as I could before singling out the ones needing more thought or assistance from the provided pdf documentation.

The questions that I had skipped on the first pass (around 5-6) were then sorted by which I thought I could solve the fastest.

I did use the provided pdf documentation to assist me with the last couple of questions but I would warn that while useful this can be time consuming to navigate and should only really be used as a quick reference.

Materials used to prepare for the exam

As this exam is a practical exam there is no substitute for just using and getting to know the 6.5 version of the vSphere product either in a home lab or by using the VMware hands on labs

Be sure to download the exam blueprint and study it:

https://www.vmware.com/content/dam/digitalmarketing/vmware/en/pdf/certification/vmware-vcap-dcv-2018-exam-prep-guide.pdf

Mastering vSphere 6.0 - 6.7, although there isn't a 6.5 specific version of these books, both were used as reference to lookup specific areas during my prep for this exam.

https://www.oreilly.com/library/view/mastering-vmware-vsphere/9781118925157/

https://www.wiley.com/en-us/Mastering+VMware+vSphere+6+7-p-9781119512943

The rest of the material I use for preparation was gleaned from all the other amazing blogging sites and fellow VMware community members that have trodden this path before me, my thanks goes out them for making a difficult (and initially daunting) process that little bit easier

https://rudimartinsen.com/2019/01/21/its-a-pass-thoughts-on-the-vcap-dcv-deploy-exam/

http://vcallaway.com/vcap6-dcv-deploy-study-guide/

https://sostechblog.com/2018/08/29/vcap-dcv-6-5-deploy-a-k-a-vmware-certified-advanced-professional-data-center-virtualization-deploy-2018-a-k-a-3v0-21-18/

Sample Questions and Simulator advice for 6.0 exam from Graham Barker (does not matter that it's not 6.5 exam specific, the questions are still valid and very good practice even without a test lab)

https://virtualg.uk/vcap6-dcv-deploy-exam-simulator-free/

Thanks for Reading

Adam