Where are some experiences from someone who has taken the exam? Dan Fernandez explains in great detail his preparation process for 2.5 test as a grandfathered candidate (without having taken the course.)
How much is the cost for the exam? First of all, Spring has removed the grandfathered mode of buying voucher. Now you have to mandatorily attend the prohibitively expensive training courses (I find it insanely priced and policied, why can't I learn by myself and take the certification) to get a voucher to take the examination.
The cost of training depends on account type and date and time. Account type depends on whether your organization is partnered with springsource or VMware. My organization has not partnered (and I belive that is the case with most of the guys out there). So for me it costs around $2511 + taxes, to take the training (to earn the voucher) for Spring Core between dates 10/26/2010 - 10/29/2010. Nope, I'm not spending two and a half grands for one certification. My organization policy would not allow me to reimburse one certificate that cost more than $500.