Studying for Microsoft Exam 70-461

This month myself and the other Dovetailers took some Microsoft Certification exams.

I took the exam 70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014.

With that in mind I thought I might share some thoughts on my exam preparation and on some of the resources I used in preparing for the exam. I must say that I was not very proficient with SQL before studying for this exam but with the right amount of preparation and study I passed and earned my certificate.

Below is a list of what I did while preparing for the exam

  • Studied from different resources books, video courses and practice exams.
  • Find which kind of study material suits you more.
  • Study over a period of 4 months.
  • At least 30 minutes study every day.
  • Try and study in the morning. I found it hard to study in the evenings.
  • Take practice exams.
  • Study the exam objectives.
  • Once you feel ready, take the exam.

Below is a list of Study material I used and my thoughts on them

Books

The book I studied with was "Training Kit (Exam 70-461): Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012 by Dejan Sarka, Itzik Ben-Gan, and Ron Talmage".

This is the official book for the exam. It is a detailed book and covers all the exam objectives. It also covers more than the exam objectives all of which was interesting and will prepare me for the next SQL exam. The book contains around 700 pages. 

The book comes with a free practice test but this was not as good as the practices exams provided by Measure Up and Transcender.

Video Courses (70-461)

Pluralsight : The course was a bit too short and the instructor does not go through the topics thoroughly . I felt it best as an introduction to the exam.

Joes 2 Pros: Very good material, the instructor goes into every topic in detail and provides labs for practicing as well. The website is kinda clunky but the videos are good.

CBT Nuggets: Alternative to Joes 2 Pros, it does not go into the same depth as them but a it does cover a lot of the topics. Provides a lab for you to practice with. The free trial only lasts 7 days.

YouTube: There is a SQL Server tutorial playlist, which covers more topics than whats on the 70-461 but a good free resource.

Practice Exams

Measure Up: The interface did not properly format the SQL, so it can be quite difficult to read. A part from that the exams were useful.

Transcender: I really like Transcender, the interface is good and they also provide flashcards which were helpful when trying to understand an exam topic when needed. I found this to be a really useful tool when studying. The exams were as good as Measure Up and the type of questions asked were of a similar structure to the real exam.

I hope you find this blog post helpful in preparing for your 70-461 exam.

Good Luck!