Hard to believe that a mere 8 hours so, I sat for the VCP6-NV (2V0-642) exam. 77 questions and about 60 minutes later, I walked out as a newly minted VCP!
Truth be told, I have not needed to study like this for quite some time… likely while getting my undergrad many years ago. The type of learning I adapted to in the real world was more bursty, need driven, and broad. So, I really needed to get to clean the rust off those old studyin’ routines and get to work.
The Internets were massively helpful in not only helping identify what to study but, also, confirming what I thought would be the correct content. This post is my way of paying back for the help I got. If you’re here for the actual test questions and answers, you’re in the wrong place…
Please keep in mind that this is not meant to be prescriptive. Rather, this is what worked for the type of learner I am.
What did I use to study?!
There are some awesome content creators out there with amazing reviews and success stories (Pluralsight, vBrownbags, etc…). I did not use them. I felt like trying to focus on the information from VMware would be the most effective use of my time.
- NSX: Install, Manage, and Configure [6.2] – On Demand
- VMware Education NSX Practice Exam
- NSX 6.2 – Admin Guide
- NSX 6.2 – Design Guide
- VMware Learning Zone – NSX Exam Prep
- VCP6-NV Exam Blueprint
- Hands on Labs
The ICM course’s On Demand structure worked really well. I was concerned about my usual preferred learning style conflicting with the presentation and lab format of the course. However, it was quite nice and I rather enjoyed it. I completed all of the course in about 1.5 weeks… and I have a crazy amount of notes to show for it. Note: if you decide to go through the On Demand course, there are some oddities about the delivery system that you can work 2V0-641 to your benefit. Not listening to the robo-voice reading each slide was a sanity saver.
The Design Guide was surprisingly enjoyable… It has been composed in a very thoughtful and logical manner. It needs to be read from cover to cover at least one time as the pages and sections build on top of each other. I found myself re-reading chapters 3 & 5 to help drive some concepts home. Any time spent with the Design Guide was time well spent.
The Learning Zone exam prep content was really nice. Each objective and sub-objective is presented is short 5-10 minute videos. They cover the content in ways that are explanatory, show correct logic in analysis, but don’t give you the answer. They guide you to the water… But, you need to drink it.
What didn’t I do?
- Use external content providers – I felt like I had a good grasp on the concepts from the VMware materials. The external content providers would help explain and/or make sense of concepts that I was getting pretty well.
- Did not focus on speeds and feeds – Yes… knowing easily referable information like the amount of RAM and vCPU for NSX Manager is within scope of the exam. I can look that up if I need to… And I accepted that I may miss those questions on the exam. My time was more important elsewhere.
- Did not memorize details of UI paths – Again, knowing which tab or right-click option is within the scope of the exam and not worth my time. Accepted risk.
- Did not study at all. At this point, I knew what I was going to know and spending time on last minute things do not yield anything but uncertainty.
- I felt good about the test… Like I did in college… The rust was off the gears! I was calm and accepted the current state of my study and learning as it was.
- Pay attention – very common concepts, themes, principles, rules, restrictions, limits, etc… show up over and over and over.
- Write – our minds retain information better when we write. Writing engages an artistic portion of our brains… and information associated with artistic activities is retained better.
- Schedule the exam – or else you will find a reason to start kicking the can and delaying the prep work
- Exam structure is no surprise – single choice, multiple choice, sometimes answer options are super similar, sometimes answers are super obvious. There is nothing exotic here.
- Question wording / Answer wording – NSX, traditional networking, and network virtualization have similar verbiage, differing implications, and concepts both shared and unique. Consider the context of the question and don’t make assumptions without considering the environment.
- Have fun! – if you can enjoy the process and the test, you will be calmer, more confident, and have a clear thought process.
- NSX is not just L2 overlay – be sure to understand the purpose, mechanics, workflows, and other concepts for the other functions of NSX.
- Pay attention!!! – Did I mention that already. If I were only allowed to give one piece of advice, this would be it.
This was a really enjoyable process for me. I got to do something I have not done for quite a while. Plus, I ended up on the passing side of the exam, which does not hurt.
The exam felt appropriate to the level of studying required. It it’s very likely that I could have studied certain areas a little more and gotten a higher score. But, I felt like I had a solid hold on the subject matter, so no need to push it.
After going through the learning process for VCP6-NV, I feel like there is value in this certification process. Yes… I recognize that people have differing opinions on certification… and this is mine. Network Virtualization is not a commodity knowledge set like other technology topics may be. The range of NSX specific info, network architecture, and network concepts feel like a good evaluation of a necessary skill set versus a test on a specific product.
Good luck studying and don’t forget to PAY ATTENTION!!