Friday, 18 November 2011

Exam review - VCP5

I've taken the VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 5 (VCP5) exam today, not only is it part of my requirements as a VMware Certified Instrucor (VCI) but it also makes a lot of sense for me personally to update my VCP to the latest version.

So, what's the exam like? Well I'll tell you as much as I can, and what I think is relevant to those of you preparing to take it yourselves...

The VCP5 exam is the same format as VCP4 in terms of the basic format, for those of you doing your first VCP exam, you will be faced with 85 multiple-choice questions that you have 90 minutes to answer, and a good number of the questions will require you to choose multiple answers - I'd say about 50% of the items I saw today - as always with VCP exams when that's the case you'll be told "choose two" or however many answers are required.

As a VCI I was required by VMware to take a VCI-specific version of the exam that has a higher passing score than the regular VCP exam that the majority of you will take, but the items in the VCI and VCP exams are the same. The passing score for the VCP exam is 300, the scoring system is scaled and does not represent any kind of percentage - I had to score at least 350 to pass my VCI exam and I'm glad to report that I achieved that by some margin - I never give out my exact scores to anyone, so don't ask :-)

The items themselves definitely demand a combination of two skills around the vSphere features tested on in order to answer them effectively:
- a deep knowledge of the concepts, features, requirements, and limitations
- hands-on experience

As has been reported by a good number of others who've taken the exam, there are hardly any items that you could answer just by having memorized a maximum number - I got no questions like that at all. There are items with screenshots shown as exhibits, and you will get some items that go "beyond the vSphere Client" and test you on your knowledge of some of the command-line tools and other interfaces available that an administrator would use to interact with vSphere.

I have to say that VMware are very fair in the objectives they publish in the VCP Exam Blueprint guide - I was tested on most of the objectives, but nothing that I would class as being outside those objectives. You will also get questions on technologies and concepts around the subject too, exactly as it mentions in the blueprint, without giving too much away I was asked about other VMware products, hardware components used as part of a vSphere infrastructure, and white fluffy things you find in the sky too!

I would definitely suggest you take a look at the other VCP5-related posts on my blog as part of your preparations, click the VCP5 tab towards the top for links to the key posts, including pointers to some excellent study resources.

Best of luck to anyone preparing for their VCI or VCP exam, I hope you've found this particular post and many of my other posts useful!


  1. whats the use when its so common. It will only be useful if you give some accurate details on topics and questions to be covered and studied

  2. @anonymous i think scott was fair and gave some decent hints.. VMware is way tougher on the whole 'you can say whats on the test' thing then other companies. as an instructor he has to be doubly careful.

    Scott can you recommend any of the video based learning products ? I took the class for VCP4 and passed but would rather not pay for another class to get the must up to date knowledge.

  3. @Anonymous - I always refer to the exam blueprint document in any post about the VCP5 exam, this post is no different - it will give you all the topics that are covered in the exam. I cannot and will not give you accurate details on the questions - I would be in breach of the non-disclosure agreement I had to agree to prior to taking the exam.

  4. @Nomad, thanks for your support. I would suggest you look at the TrainSignal vSphere 5 videos as part of your preparations for the VCP5 exam - you have until the end of February 2012 to pass the exam via the self-study option.

  5. Hi Scott

    Congratulations on your pass, i am sitting mine next week, so doing final prep, just hope it goes well.
    I hate reading, so prep is taking much longer than expected, which is a shame.
    Well done once aain.


  6. Hello Scott-

    As far as a newbie goes, I'm stating the Vsphere fast track in about a month. Would you have any good study materials prior to entering the class? Would starting with a VCP 4 book be relevant?

  7. @Anonymous (29th November) - you can access all the documentation, technical papers, and download trial versions of vSphere via the VMware site. Scott.

  8. Hi Scott,

    Just a quick note to say thanks, I attended the course you presented in early Nov (Leeds) and I passed the VCP5 exam this morning. Very good summary above, and your links proved very useful indeed.

    Many thanks

  9. Hey Scott

    Just passed with 420 ! Great info used it in my prep along with this ipad app, question were almost the same as in the exam.

  10. Does the VCP5 exam come with a new pool of questions or are there still some questions from VCP4?
    I've done some mock exams from VMware and many questions were simmilar to the old on which I've seen in v4.

  11. @regnor - as there is inevitably some overlap between the objectives in VCP4 and VCP5 there are items in the VCP5 exam that can be similar to the VCP4 exam.

  12. Actually it's obvious that the exam overlaps since the base(vSphere) is still the same.
    I'll do the exam in a few weeks and I think it shouldn't be to difficult if you know the basics and focus on the new parts(as VCP4).

    And thanks to you I've got a good source for my learing task ;)

  13. scott, as an instructor. do you feel the icm course and some hands on are enough? better yet, does the course cover the topics and would the hands on solidify the material for the student, or is the hands on more important than the course? thanks in adnvance.

  14. @Anonymous (Feb 4, 2012) - VMware expect that a VCP will have a minimum of 6-months hands-on administration experience, check the exam blueprint to see what the objectives are for the exam. There is no single training course that will cover every single objective - the Fast Track for vSphere 5 gets the closest to doing that. I tell my students that the exam cannot be passed by just reading/memorizing - you will get questions in the exam that can only be answered by those that have done hands-on.

  15. Great advice. Just passed moments ago and found this post looking for the max score.

  16. Hello Scott I hope you still look at/answer this post. I am going to enroll in the VM on line training. My company does not offer any tuition assistance. Therefore, I have to pay for the whole thing myself. Can you tell me ( or anyone else) out of the classes listed below, which are kindy price for my pocket, if the Install Configure manage provides enough training to pass the exam. Don’t know if I can afford the Fast Track option which I am told provides 90% of what you need to pass the exam.
    Any advice would be very helpful. I am very interested in Virtualization and would like to kick my career up to the next level. Therefore, I feel getting the cert would provide that opportunity but don’t want to kill by budget doing so if I don’t have to.

    VCP 5 Prerequisite:
    (Attend one of the following 3 courses below)
    VCP 5 Class Cost VCP Days Hours
    What’s New 5.1 $1645 or 17 credits VCP 5 2 16
    Install Configure Manager V5.1 $3845 or 39 credits VCP 5 5 40
    Optimize & Scale V5.1 $4495 or 45 credits VCP 5 5 40
    Fast Track V5.1 $6045 or 61 credits VCP 5 5 50

    Thank you Very much,


    P.S. Sorry the list won't copy and paste well.

    1. If you compare the course outlines against the exam blueprint you would see that the Fast Track is the closest match to the exam.

      This blog post will help:

  17. Hi Scott,

    Currently am working as Server administrator and my total work experience is 2 years. i have 6 months hands of experience on Vmware.(worked on Esx4.1 and 5)

    i am looking for VMware Certification,Please let me know which one i need to choose.

    1. You're on the correct page here, although the certification has now been renamed to VCP5-DCV.