VCAP5-DCD Exam Prep – part 1

The past year has been a whirlwind of activity in my personal and professional life. I’ve taught 6 cvcap5-dcdourses, redesigning 3 from scratch, changed jobs, ran 5 VMUG events including a superconference in Vancouver (2nd biggest in Canada), attended VMworld, participated as a competitor in Virtual Design Master Season 2, assisted in the Virtual Design Master live at the Toronto VMUG superconference (biggest in Canada), attended 7 courses, obtained 6 certifications, presented at 2 conferences and several VMUGs / vBeers, and possibly will also present at the Openstack Summit in May. I was also a technical editor for the book (The Art of IT Infrastructure Design) and started developing an online University for the bleeding edge of technology. We also had a beautiful baby girl at the beginning of the year!

So those are my excuses for not doing my VCAP5-DCD like I told myself I would last year. The time for excuses is now over. I have finally booked my exam and I am working hard to achieve it.

Here I will document the steps I am taking to prepare myself for the grueling 4 hour exam. I’ll try to be a bit more realistic in my approach, because I still have a full time job to do and no free time with a new baby in the house.

1> First I need to know the area and topics I need to prepare for. So I will look at the exam blueprint in detail.

2> Next I will create a timeline for myself, with deadlines to ensure that I meet my preparation objectives. I am giving myself 14 days to prepare.

3> I will break down each day into studying with different learning styles, or modalities. Visual, Auditory, Tactile and Kinesthetic.

This allows me to keep it interesting and avoid fatigue.

Visual Preference
Students who have a visual strength or preference:
♦ want the teacher to provide demonstrations
♦ find it easy to learn through descriptions
♦ often use lists to keep up and organize thoughts
♦ often recognize words by sight
♦ often remember faces but forget names
♦ often have well developed imaginations
♦ are easily distracted by movement or action in the classroom
♦ tend to be unaware of noise
♦ Roughly 60% of students are visual learners.

Auditory Preference
Students who have an auditory strength or preference
♦ want the teacher to provide verbal instructions
♦ find it easy to learn by listening
♦ enjoy dialogues, discussions, and plays
♦ often remember names but forget faces
♦ often do well working out solutions or problems by talking them out
♦ are easily distracted by noise and often need to work where it is relatively quiet
♦ often do best using recorded books

Tactile Preference
Students who have a tactile strength or preference:
♦ do best when they take notes either during a lecture or when reading something
new or difficult
♦ often like to draw or doodle to remember
♦ do well with hands-on activities such as projects, demonstrations, or labs

Kinesthetic Preference
Students who have a kinesthetic strength or preference:
♦ do best when they are involved or active
♦ often have high energy levels
♦ think and learn best while moving
♦ often lose much of what is said during lecture
♦ have problems concentrating when asked to sit and read
♦ prefer to do rather than watch or listen

The sections of the exam are the following:

Section 1 – Create a vSphere Conceptual Design

Section 2 – Create a vSphere Logical Design from an Existing Conceptual Design

Section 3 – Create a vSphere Physical Design from an Existing Logical Design

Section 4 – Implementation Planning

So below, I am breaking the days down and adding in the learning methods.

Day 1-3 – Section 1


Understanding vSphere Design Terminology 15:42
Determining vSphere Design Factors 24:48
Defining a Logical Design 16:51
Defining a Logical Compute Design 18:44


VCAP5-DCD Series #1 – Overview & Methodology with Alastair Cooke (vBrownbag)


Create Statement of Work and Level of Effort documents for customers. Define in detail, client requirements, assumptions and constraints


Work on real life design process on a whiteboard

Day 4-6 – Section 2

Day 7-9 – Section 3

Day 10-12 – Section 4

Day 13-14 – Recap/ Review / Regroup

Day 15 Exam

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