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!