My VCAP-NV (3V0-643) Exam Experience

3 weeks back I attempted my VCAP-NV  (3V0-643) exam and passed with 408 marks. This was my second attempt, in my first attempt I failed with 282 marks as I left too many routing questions as I was not very much comfortable with them.

I interacts with NSX everyday as its core of our Networking in production and my job is to troubleshoot everyday network issues and this helped me a lot during my preparation. 

VCAP6-NV exam have 23 questions and you have total of 3.5 hours to finish the exam. But believe me 3.5 hours are not enough as there are few questions which are very lengthy and you may have to read those questions 2-3 times to make sure you have understood the requirements completely.

Thumb rule for passing this exam is to stick with the exam blueprint and practice each and every topic mentioned in blueprint. The exam is designed in such a way that it covers 90% topics of the blueprint.

Official blueprint can be downloaded from here. This blueprint is dated 10 November 2015 and v1.2 is the latest and greatest version of blueprint (I cross checked this with few folks as I had a confusion when I checked the date there).

Next is to setup a lab for yourself. You need at least 2 vCenter and 2 NSX manager (for setting up Cross vCenter NSX configuration). A good idea is to have separate clusters for Management, Compute and Edge workloads. 

Once you have set up your lab, start configuring things as per blueprint. Name of some of the topics are really weird and I got some clarity when I referred the posts written by people who already passed this exam. There are few good articles available on internet which will help you during your preparation. 

I am listing down few such articles below with some pros/cons (as per me):

1: Clinton Prentice Blog (Aligned to VCAP-NV latest blueprint and all topics covered beautifully)

2: Chestin Hay Blog (Aligned to VCAP-NV latest blueprint but Section 6,7 and 8 is missing at the moment. Concepts have been explained in greater details and all topics up to objective 5.2 is covered)

3: Christopher Lewis Blog (Aligned to VCAP-NV latest blueprint, Section 7-Troubleshooting portion is missing)

4: Martijn Smit Blog (Based on older blueprint of exam, no screenshots available in any of the post but all steps needed to configure things are mentioned)

5: Iwan Hoogendoorn YouTube Channel (Based on older version of blueprint but absolutely awesome videos)

I also published my version of VCAP-NV Study Guide today (Section 4 is missing but I will update it soon)

Exam Tips:

  • Since you get a single monitor set to resolution 1024 X 768, some of the items do not fit in the window completely. I changed the chrome resolution from default to 90% to counter this issue.
  • CTRL C/CTRL V for copy/paste do not work from physical keyboard. You need to use the Windows On-Screen keyboard (but it is damn slow). I used the drag and drop option when specifying any name or IP address etc during deploying stuffs. 
  • Backspace do not work. You need to use the arrow keys and the delete button to delete things. If you are over SSH connection to an Edge,DLR or any host, CTLR + W can help you deleting the mistyped word (not character).
  • For most part of the exam, latency was not there, but 2 or 3 times my screen disappeared and HOL spinning logo was there to give me a heart attack. If you face this issue, just browse to last question from the list and then back on current question (this tip was given by exam centre guy). 
  • Make sure you know NSX 6.2 like back of your hand. You should be knowing which option is where so that you don’t waste time figuring that in exam.

I am really thankful to 2 special people who helped me in my journey to VCAP-NV exam. First of them is Mr Pankaj Garg who is a CCIE and have great knowledge on Networks and NSX. And the second person is my partner in crime Mr Anjani Kumar (VCIX-NV,VCIX-DCV). We both geared up for this exam together and passed our exam same day.

I got my exam result within an hour and I can’t tell you how happy I was when I saw the result. 

Apart from VCAP-NV guides, I found few more blogs which are just awesome when it boils down to NSX related knowledge.

Lastly I am thankful to folks from VMTN and vExpertsIndia group who were always very helpful when I reached out to them with questions. Also there is a VCIX NV Study Group on google where you can find some awesome information. 

I wish good luck to all who are looking forward for their VCAP-NV exam in future.