Passing VCAP 6.5 - DCV Design, 3V0-624 (Remote Exam)
Having passed the VCP 2019 in Dec last year (which was later automatically upgraded to VCP 2020 by VMware), my natural course of progression is to take the VCAP (VMware Certified Advanced Professional) challenge. There are 2 VCAP exams, and I had opted to take the 'Design' option first as I felt it would be easier for someone with little hands-on experience like me. Completing both the exams would earn you the VCIX (VMware Certified Implementation Expert) certification. Although VCAP is a 3 days course, as compared to VCP being 5 days, VCAP is alot tougher than VCP. They can test you on so many different areas and requires you to have in-depth understanding of vSphere technologies, using them extensively for your design decisions.
From the title of this blog, you can tell that I have passed the VCAP exam. But it was not without failing on my 1st attempt.
The exam was 140 mins in duration, consisting of 60 questions. The passing score is the same as VCP, 300 out of 500. The questions comprise a mixture of MCQs and 'drag and drops'. Most of the MCQs and 'drag and drops' questions requires you to make a number of selections on the options (Eg. to select 2 correct answers out of the 6 options or to drag 5 options to 5 correct boxes). Thus, making it more challenging.
The exam will test you extensively on your knowledge to apply the vSphere technologies to your design. You will be given alot of client scenarios and asked you to make design decisions base on the situation. Below are the examples of vSphere functions and technologies which you are expected to know in detail:
vSphere Storage API for Data Protection
SSO, vCenter, ESXi upgrade procedure (High level)
In addition, you are expected to differentiate the information which you receive from your client into:
Risk: Especially info which is related to potential financial loss if certain conditions are not met
Constraint: Things that are currently in place, cannot be changed, and needs to be strictly followed
Requirement: Things which are not yet in place, and is to be achieved from this project
Assumption: Assuming something is 'there', base on certain input, hear/say, or conditions.
Taking the Remote Exam
Earlier this year, VMware announced that remote proctoring of its exams, delivered by Pearson VUE, will be available starting 20 Apr 2020. This gives the opportunity to alot of people who, like myself, would like to continue their certification plan, but is not able to take exam onsite due to the Covid19 situation.
Unlike the 'usual' method of registering and taking the exam in an exam center, if you choose to take the remote exam, you will only require to choose the date and time slot available. From what I noticed, the timeslots are available every 15mins interval, meaning in every hour, there are potentially 4 slots. For my VCAP exam, I was allowed to make changes to my schedule so long as I do it before the start of my exam, at no extra cost. After you have registered, you will be asked to run a program to test the compatibility of the computer which you will be using for the exam. It will test the spec of your computer, internal stability, and your webcam (More on this later).
On the day of your exam, you are advised to start 30mins - 1 hr earlier as there are quite a number of 'pre-exam procedures' to be completed. The area at which you are sitting needs to be a 'clean desk'. When I took my 2nd attempt of the exam, I was told to even remove the speakers and any cables lying on the table. Interestingly, I was not told of this during the 1st time I took the exam. You will be asked to send photos of your driving license or passport, as well as photos of the room (Front, back, left, and right) which you are sitting in. Throughout the exam, there will be 'someone' who will be constantly 'looking at you', and he will warn you if you are doing something deemed suspicious. I was shocked when I suddenly heard a voice in the middle of the exam, telling me to only look at the monitor and not anywhere else. I was warned another time when I was reading out the exam questions to myself. Yes, it is that strict.
My experience of taking the remote exam has not been a very pleasant one, as I encounter many different issues.
The most serious issue which I had was that I do not know where to navigate to start the exam. Apparently, the instruction sent to me via the email is incorrect. The correct place to navigate is to: 'mylearn page', 'Certification Manager', 'Schedule your exam', and you will see a button 'Begin Exam' which will only appear 30mins before your exam.
The exam session is a bit laggy. On one of my exams, I have to click 3 times for every one of my selections to be reflected.
If you have issues starting the exam, the live chat to ask for help wait time is way too long. On one of my exams, I waited 30mins before someone attended to me. On the other exam, I waited for 1 hr and no one responded.
That being said, having the option to take the exam at the comfort of you home, not needing to travel to an exam center, is really attractive. Especially since I now have the experience of taking the remote exam and understand it's process and expectation. For someone who will be taking this for the first time, I strongly recommend you to start the 'pre-exam procedures' one hr before your exam starts, and reading all the policies and procedures prior to the exam.
"What do you think?"
Let me know if you think there are any important/useful details I have missed in the above write up.