Today I can add a few more letters to the old signature line. I passed the VMware Certified Professional 5 test!

Overall, I thought that the test was pretty fair. This test was rumored to test more on your real world experience with vSphere and it didn’t disappoint. I would say that the test was easier for me than the VCP4 test but I also have 2 more years of experience under my belt and had a chance to go to VMworld 2011 with some great sessions and labs that dug into the nitty gritty of 5.

I will fully admit that I’m not the greatest of test takers and these things stress me out way more than they should. But if you have your stuff down cold, you’ll be alright and I felt my preparation allowed me to walk in there fairly confident that I could pass the test without issue. With that, I thought I would offer up some tips that helped me prepare for the test without giving away actual questions.


  1. Read the blue print I know this sounds crazy, reading what is exactly going to be on the test, but it does help you figure out what you need to study. VMware puts out a LOT of material and being able to focus on certain things (though it will still be a lot) will help you out. Once you have the blue print, start breaking it down. Grab the resources that VMware provides and start absorbing as much as possible. I found that if there is a note or a best practice in one of their guides. Think of a question of what happens if you configure XYZ and don’t follow the best practice. Because then you’re thinking along the lines of the test writers.
  2. Books! If I had to recommend one book above and beyond all others, I think going with Scott Lowe’s Mastering VMware vSphere 5 would be my hands down recommendation. Since I had some experience with vSphere, I didn’t read this book cover to cover. But I dug deep in all the new sections and I’m glad that I did. You can pick up the book at Amazon by clicking the book image.

  3. Lab Something I think is widely known is that the VCP5 test is much more geared on real world experience. And this doesn’t come easy. There are a lot of things that you may do in your day to day VMware admin job that will never be on the test. And there are things that you may have done months or even years ago that you have forgotten about that are suddenly re-appearing on the test. Questions along the lines of screens that you look at day in and day out that you never give a second thought to. All of a sudden, you have to name the parts of that screen to show that you know your stuff. Not that easy when you don’t care to really memorize everything on that particular screen. My recommendation is to lab stuff up and play with all the stuff that you may not play with. Play with the vCenter Server Virtual Appliance, play with the vSphere Storage Appliance, HA, DRS, FT. If its on the blue print, you should have it in your lab at some point in your preparation.

  4. Cram Sheets There are many resources out there on the web. One that I found useful was Cosonok’s Cram Sheets (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) Now, I don’t think that his cram sheet was 100% correct, but it did help review things before the test and for those quick 5 minutes of reviewing material. Part 1 is the general overview of everything you would need to know about vSphere, Part 2 is made up of the configuration maximums, and part 3 is more of a summary of how it went for him and some more resources.

    • Sleep I studied pretty hard for the test over my Thanksgiving break. I know, great timing right? One thing I made sure to do on my last night of studying was to get a good nights sleep. Either you know your stuff at that point or you don’t. Get a good nights sleep and tackle the test like the badass you are!
So there you you have it. This is what I did to prepare and pass the VCP-510 exam.

Good luck!

Matt Patterson avatar
About Matt Patterson
Husband, Father of 3, Programmer at heart, spends his days running ridiculously large data centers in the midwest.