My VMware VCP5-DCV 510 Exam Experience


A couple of days ago I passed the VMware VCP5-DCV exam (version 510, for vSphere 5.1), and I’d like to quickly share my impressions.

In a nutshell, I think it is a fairly tough exam.


The Exam

Good time management is important: 85 questions in 90 minutes is the standard in english-speaking countries. In my case, I was allowed 30 minutes more being in Italy, so I had two hours total (plus 15 minutes for review)… That means roughly 85 seconds per question, and some are long, with screenshots to examine and/or sample scenarios to be considered.

Another challenge was that a good part of the questions were essentially memory exercises. That was somewhat expected, but in my very personal opinion, some questions were unnecessarily tricky or involved more obscure, hard to remember things. Or things that are not so terribly important (always IMHO)…

Side note: a (negative) surprise for me was the presence of some grammar / ortographic errors, in both questions and answers… In some cases, this could impact on your score.

But I don’t want to criticize too much, the exam also contained a good number of questions on planning and troubleshooting, much needed topics in infrastructure design and day-by-day management.


Preparing for VCP-DCV

I attended the vSphere 5.1: Install, Configure and Manage [5.1] course last summer, which is a 5-day hands-on classroom training (also available for live online distribution). The trainer did a very nice job and the course itself was good, but in my opinion, it wasn’t nearly enough to pass the exam.

Some topics (datastore clusters, for example) are not covered by the course but they do appear in the exam.

For this reason, like many many others before me, I encourage everyone aiming for the VCP-DCV certification to:

  1. Use the free resources from the VMware VCP-DCV Certification Page (Exam blueprint, Mock exam…)
  2. Build a lab and create a vSphere environment to experiment with. Another good way of practicing could be through the VMware Hands-On Labs (HOL)
  3. Take advantage of the huge amount of free study notes, mock exams and other resources made available by other professionals (kudos to them!), like Andrea Mauro
  4. Read as many technical blogs, e-books, documentation as possible 🙂


The Bottom Line (?)

It is important to remember that VCP exams are only the foundation of professional level VMware certifications: the next steps would ideally be the VCAP exams and then elite VCDX certification.

Everything considered, although there’s room for some improvement, VCP-DCV is in my opinion a valuable testing tool for your working knowledge of VMware vSphere environments.

Let’s move on to the next challenge!



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