Exam Review - VCAP DCV Deploy 2022 (3V0-22.21N)

It's been a few years since I sat my Data Center Virtualization deploy exam, after which I wrote my first Exam Review. Initially I'd decided to wait until next year with renewing my VCAP Deploy, but after some discussions during VMware Explore I decided to have a go earlier this week.

This post will be a write-up of my Exam experience experience that lead to achieving the VMware Certified Advanced Professional Data Center Virtualization Deploy 2022 certification. The specific exam I took was 3V0-22.21N

Exam Guide

As with most other of my reviews let's first take a look at the Exam Preparation Guide (formerly known as the Exam Blueprint) and the certification guide.

The certification guide covers the requirements and paths that leads up to the VCAP-DCV Deploy certification.

In short you'll need to have a VCP-DCV 2021 or newer, or a VCAP-DCV Deploy OR Design 2019 or newer, and finally pass the VCAP-DCV Deploy exam.

If you already have the VCAP-DCV 2021 you can actually choose to take one of four training courses and get the 2022 version of the certification, or you can also choose to just take the exam. Check out the PDF linked above or the certification website for more details

The Exam Preparation Guide details what's tested in the exam. This is always my first stop when preparing for the exam. As with all other VMware exams the objectives are standardized in seven different sections where not all neccessarily are tested in each of the exams. For instance there's no Architecture, Solutions or Design objectives tested in this exam.

In my opinion the Exam Prep guide for this exam is very detailed and will help you a lot in your preparations, more on this next.

Preparations and resources

Part of the decision around doing the exam now was that I decided to not spend time on preparations. I remember from back when I did my last deploy that I found it very well aligned to my then day-to-day job so I expected the same this time, even though I'm not as directly involved in daily core vSphere anymore. This decision was made after reviewing the Exam Preparation guide and the details mentioned in the tested Objectives.

As I mentioned, the guide is detailed and will help a lot in pinpointing objectives you need to prepare for. For instance one of the objectives listed is Objective 4.4 "Set up a cluster solution for VMware vSAN". If you've never touched vSAN you'd obviously have to prepare for this. If you've set up vSAN multiple times you should be fine.

Another excellent part of the Exam Preparation Guide is the References section. This details which references the item writers have used when developing the exam. Continuing with the abovementioned vSAN objective, the reference would be the "vSAN Planning and Deployment > Creating a vSAN cluster" section in VMware docs.

The exam guide also refers to a couple of training courses that can be taken as a preparation, but in my opinion it should suffice with a couple of years experience in the objectives listed, and a look at the references mentioned in the guide.

At the time of my exam it was based on vSphere version 7 update 1. Make sure that you align your preparations to the v7 materials

The exam is lab-based so hands-on experience is key. If you're not sure or feel you haven't got enough experience, be sure to practice. Either with the Hands-on-labs from VMware, in your own lab, or preferably both. There's also this Exam simulator that can be used, although it's created for 6.x so all objectives might not be relevant anymore. I've never used this myself, but have read good things about it.

The exam

The exam it self is a lab-based exam consisting of 17 items that needs to be solved, some of which included multiple tasks to be performed. I got tasks in each of the objectives listed in the exam guide.

The lab environment is part of the Hands-on labs platform. This means that you'll get a desktop console where you perform your tasks, but you'll also have access to consoles to other resources in the environment (i.e. ESXi hosts). Be sure to make yourself familiar with the HOL experience as this will save you time during the exam.

I did my exam remotely using my own laptop. In a test center you would have access to a monitor whereas I used only my laptop. You might get permission to use an external monitor if you do your exam remotely, but from what I hear from others you might get unlucky and have to discuss with the proctor before getting it accepted. I didn't want to risk that so I went with my laptop only.

The console experience is not the best, and you will have to rearrange i.e. the lab manual, maybe also move it around, especially if you're on a laptop screen. Try not to get upset and waste time and energy on that as time is a factor in this exam.

In almost every other exam I finish the exam after a short period of time as I've found that overthinking a question almost never works for me (this might be different for others). In this lab-based exam however I actually ran out of time. The time allotted is 205 minutes.

Especially the troubleshooting tasks will require time so be sure to save time for them. Some of the tasks will be time consuming in terms of deploying resources, be sure to follow the exam manual's tip on not waiting for things to deploy. I would recommend that you spend a few minutes on getting an overview of all the tasks up front. One of the first tasks would probably have you deploy or configure something that can run in the background while you can continue on with other items. Note however that you need to be very structured and make a note on which items you need to go back and revisit. If you're doing the exam remotely or if you're not allowed to bring a whiteboard in to the testing room you can use the whiteboard function in the exam environment, or even easier just open a notepad in the lab console and scribble away.

Another tip would be to read the whole item before starting. There might be details mentioned to the end of the item that is crucial. Also be sure to double check the spelling of resources created, or use the drag and drop, or copy/paste functionality in the environment. Also make sure you test this functionality in the HOL before sitting the exam.

The items are scored using a scaled method so it's pretty difficult to advise on a strategy if you're stuck on some items. I would however try to finish the items that you feel comfortable with to at least get the most out of those and rather leave the ones you have less clue on for last. And even if you have no clue on an item, make sure to do whatever you might know as you'd probably score some points which might be essential in tipping the score in your favor when it comes to passing or failing the exam. As with other VMware exams the passing score is 300 and the maximum is 500.

To summarize my tips:

  • Read the exam prep guide to find the objectives tested AND the references used
  • Test out one or more Hands-on-labs before sitting the exam, and if you plan on doing it remotely test HOL with the equipment you intend to use for the exam
  • Try the vSphere specific HOL's, but you don't necessarily need to follow the lab (if it doesn't align to an objective from the exam). The environment is there to be used
  • When starting the exam, Quickly read through all items to get a feel for which items would require more time than others and make sure to save time for these
  • Do not wait on resources being deployed/configured if they are time consuming, continue with the next item and come back and revisit later
  • The above also goes if you're stuck on an item. Carry on with the next and revisit
  • Keep calm and work through the items, solve bit by bit, and double-check in the end
  • Use the copy/paste or drag'n'drop functionality from the manual, double-check the naming of resources you create
  • If you find yourself in a time constraint, try to make the most out of the items you feel comfortable with. The items are scored individually and are scaled


I actually was a bit surprised that the exam was a bit tougher than I'd remember from the last time. Which I think is a good thing.

The Advanced exams should be tough, and they should reflect actual hands-on experience, which I have a bit less of nowadays, especially around the troubleshooting part as I'm more focused on the vRealize and Tanzu portfolios.

As mentioned a couple of times I really found the exam prep guide to be pretty good. And be sure to prepare with lots of hands-on practice!

Also be aware that the scoring is not immediate as with the multiple-choice exams. You will have to wait for it. In my case I got it the next day and luckily I passed with a score of 418 out of 500. The passing score is 300.

Good luck on your exam and thanks for reading!

This page was modified on November 17, 2022: VCAP post