I’m currently sat in a lounge at Schiphol Airport trying vain to get onto to the wireless network , even offering to pay , but to no avial. Thankfully due to the wonders of windows live writer , I can rant now , upload later !

As you may have guessed , the reason that I’m sat here is that I took the Beta Exam for the VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Datacenter Design certification. When I was invited to take the exam , the list of dates was pretty short & in order not to clash with my outbound trip to Tech Field Day tomorrow I had to sit it today but alas there where no seats available at the London test centre.

I’d almost given up hope of being able to sit the beta , when I noticed that the Global Knowledge Test centre in Amsterdam had a plethora of slots available, so checked some prices with easyjet and realised its not much more expensive to travel from Milton Keynes to London at Peak time than it is to travel from Milton Keynes to Amsterdam ! A plan was rapidly forming , which lead to having to get up at 4:30 am this morning to jump on a flight.

As I get older I get earlier , in this time arriving 2 hours before my 4 hour exam was due to start, thankfully the nice lady at the desk let me start early. I’d been doing my last minute revision on the flight and at the airport , so there really wasn’t any point delaying the inevitable !

Onto the Exam itself, I’m restircted by NDA as to how much I can say , beyond what has already been released which is that the exam consists of a …. number of questions , split into 3 types – multiple choice , drag & drop and design/visio(ish). In contrast to the DCA Exam , this felt much more like an extended VCP test to which I suspect I got the whole question deck thrown at me. I’m going to take a wild guess and assume the live exam would consist of a subset of the questions posted.

@hany_micheal was the first tweep I noticed to have taken the beta and his feed back was along the lines of having problems finishing the exam due to the ammount of reading. I suspect that not having english as a first language didn’t help there. He is right , there is a lot to read , but I felt the skill was in working out which buts of the text were relevenet. If you read the same exhibits over and over again form start to finsh I can see how time would be a problem. If course if you skim read them too much then you may well miss a key item , which I think I may well have done on a number of occasions.

I completed the question set with about 35 minutes to spare , which I felt was plenty of time to go back and check any answers & add additional comments ( as beta exam takers are often encouraged to do ) , however when I got to the end, the only option was to end the exam. No review stage meant that a) I was not able to add additional feedback and b) a couple of questions that I had flipped through in order to come back to if I’d had more time went unanswered. I dont know if this was just a beta “feature” or not.

In terms of “features” I felt the exam was pretty good – cetainly didn’t have any of the techinical challenges that the DCA exam had – the design interface was actually pretty good ot use once you had got the hang of it , though it did highlight my lack of visio-diagram-making-pretty skills !

I recognised a few faces coming into the exam room as I left , notably Duncan Epping of yellow bricks fame & also Frank Denneman of VMware , so I look forward to seeing how their feedback compares.