VCTA DCV 2020 (1V0-21.20) – Exam experience & preparation tips

VMware Certified Technical Associate (VCTA) certifications are a new set of associate-level certifications that were released during VMworld a couple of weeks ago. I have covered the details about these certifications in my previous blog post.

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The VCTA exams validate the skills and knowledge required by candidates performing operational tasks within a virtualized infrastructure, in areas across multi-cloud operations, networking, security, and device management.

In the next sections, I will be covering the details of the exam and what one needs to do to prepare and clear the certification exam.

Exam Format:

Online Proctored:

The VCTA-DCV 2020 certification exam is online proctored. Which means you can take your certification exam securely from your home or office.

This was my first experience with remote testing with PearsonVUE. I had some hiccups with the OnVUE app configuration on my Mac. Please read the OnVUE App setup instructions clearly before you start your exam. Especially if you are using a MacBook. The same rules apply as any other online proctored exam if you’ve attended one previously.


The certification exam consists of 51 questions. These questions are all aimed at operators performing a job role consisting of Day-2 repetitive tasks typically delegated by administrators of large virtualized environments.

The exam has Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) with a combination of single choice or multi-choice answers. The passing score is 300 which is common across all of the VMware certifications.

Time Duration:

Depending on your location, the timing might vary (especially for Non-English speaking countries). I was provided with 135 minutes to finish the exam. It is a lot of time, in my opinion, for an associate-level exam with just 51 questions. That gives you about 3 mins per question. Mark the tough ones and get back to them when you’ve answered the rest.

Preparation Tips:

When you start preparing for any of the VMware exams, the first resource to refer to should always be the exam guide. This will provide guidance on what topics you can expect the questions from.

You can find the VCTA-DCV 2020 certification’s exam guide here. The guide also has links to a lot of documents that can be used to prepare for the exam.

As stated in my previous blog post, there is no pre-requisite authorized training needed to attend this exam. VMware Education team has created a course to help aspiring candidates prepare for this certification exam.

Here’s the link to the recommended course – VMware Virtual Data Center – Core Technical Skills (Note: VMware Connect Learning – Premium Subscription is required)

If VMware technology is a new skill for you, and you are trying to understand the basics of virtualization and aiming for your first VMware certification, depending on where you are at your skill level, you may have to refer to additional materials. As for myself, I simply revised some of the topics of vSphere that I needed some reminders on and went for it.

VMware also announced last week that they are extending the VMware Learning Zone Premium access for another year. If you haven’t made use of that, please go to this link and register.

One thing to note is that this exam is fairly technical. It definitely requires one to have at the least, 6 months – 1-year hands-on experience with VMware technology. There are some aspects of the exam that will require one to have seen specific UI options and experience with tools used to manage virtual environments. One must have navigated and configured some of the basic features of vSphere to answer such questions.

The VMware certification portal says this about the candidate taking up this exam:

The VCTA-DCV certification holder has a basic understanding of virtualization and vSphere concepts. The certification holder also demonstrates knowledge of data center technology and basic troubleshooting concepts. A VCTA-DCV holder also has a working knowledge of managing cloud resources and basic networking concepts.


For me personally, I went into the exam thinking it will be an easy one to crack. The exam is a bit on the tougher side. It is very technical.

The certification team has created it with someone with 1-2 years of hands-on experience in mind. It definitely needs some basic understanding of the products if you are new to VMware. If this is your first VMware certification, spend time learning some basics of vSphere and virtualization.

VMware HOLs are a great way to gain experience with the vSphere product if you don’t have an environment at your office or a home lab. There are some really good HOLs that will give you hands-on experience. I have listed some below.

HOL-2010-01-SDC – Virtualization 101: Introduction to vSphere

HOL-2011-01-SDC – VMware vSphere – Getting Started

HOL-2111-01-SDC – VMware vSphere – What’s New

HOL-2004-01-SDC – Mastering vSphere Performance

If you happen to take the VCTA DCV or any other VCTA exams, let me know in the comment section what your experience was like and if you learned anything more than what I have covered here in my blog.

3 comments Add yours
  1. I totally agree with your assessment here. I just finished the exam about an hour ago. Although its presented as entry level, you really have to have used the vSphere infrastructure and understand how to use it, what the features are, and the architecture. Although the training module provided with the free Learning Zone subscription has hands on exercises which help those without access to vSphere (along with the HOL), I’m likely would not have have passed without already having daily hands-on experience in my job. It is very technical, and very detailed. I anticipated a much higher level of questioning, but it the questions were very specific.

  2. Hi,
    Your blog was really helpful and what all things you mentioned are right.. I completed my VCTA certification after I enrolled VCTA course in Udemy. HOL links u provided also helpful… Like u said, the questions are all little tough and confusing.

  3. Im planning to take one in 2 weeks. However being Partner of VMware Im struggling to purchase the voucher with my learning credits.

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