VCP4 Study Plan

As I had mentioned in my last blog, I got thru VCP-410. My secret – good teachers for my VSphere 4.0 Fasttrack class. Jim McCullough and Brian Watrous did a good job.

I also followed a study plan – after the class. Some thoughts below :

  • Good Practical experience
    • Have a running system, good experience in solving various problems in a running virtualization infrastructure is essential. No doubt, the vmware course (FastTrack, for me) also rounds of the actual working experience – as one will not get a chance to work through all the facets of the product.
  • Read a good book – to get a slightly different view and narration technique
    • The VMware documents, while are very good compared to other tech documents, are not exactly a long read without getting monotonous
    • I read thru the book “Mastering VMware vSphere 4.0” by Scott. Rounds off the knowledge; also gets one’s attention as the book says the things in a different way, different order
  • Read VMware Tech Notes
  • Take on-line sample tests
    • I like to take the sample tests early and fail ! This way, one gets a feel for how the material will manifest in the test, also as one reads the documentation, the questions one failed will stand out !
    • My first choices are Simon Long and the VMware site
      • When you are at Simon’s site, don’t do the Maximums yet ! It totally confused me until I wrote some notes
  • Now the time has come for the VMware documentation work !
    • First download the book bundle and unzip them into a directory (I actually printed them and bound them at Kinkos)
    • Also keep the pdf copy of the Exam Blue print (download from the site and make sure you have covered all the sections, as you read the various documentation
    • The order I followed:
      • ESX & vCenter Setup Guide
      • vSphere Basic System Administration
      • iSCSI SAN Configuration Guide
      • Fibre Channel SAN Configuration Guide
      • Resource Management Guide (Pay special attention to this guide. It has lots of good information)
      • Upgrade Guide (important, may not so obvious stuff here)
      • Availability Guide
  • Next comes the VMware materials you got during the VMware course. Read them through to refresh all the good work you have done during the course
  • Now go back to the sample exams and work them until you have > 85%
  • (Dday – 3) Finally curl up with the study notes from Simon and the VMware Maximums.
    • Also my notes, if that helps. Or write your own notes on areas you are not that comfortable with.
    • This is also the time to do the “vSphere 4 Configuration Maximum Exams”. First do the exams referring to the notes.
    • And don’t overdo the Maximums. “They will come you …” when you need them
  • (DDay – 1) Get a good night sleep
  • (DDay) Refresh the VMware Maximums list, and the final notes
  • You will ace the test in no time …
  • Test taking tips
    • There are 85 questions for 90 minutes.
    • They have review check box which makes it easier to mark questions that you have some doubt on
    • You can also review all questions after you have gone thru all the 85 questions
    • My suggestion is breadth first – answer all questions you are sure of and mark the ones you have some doubt on. DOn’t dwell on any question too long
    • After the firat pass, depending on the time available (there is a countdown clock) allocate time for the ones you have marked for review
    • Usually your first gut feel is the right answer; but sometimes as you analyze the question, newer insights will change the answer
  • Good luck …

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