70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012

CertificationSo, I had made the decision to go for the new certifications.  The next decision to be made was which to take first.  I looked over the areas of focus for each of the tests some more and decided to go ahead and take the querying exam.  It looked relatively easy as querying is something I do on an every day basis.

Feeling a bit like pushing myself I set up the exam for a little bit less than two weeks out.  I had a feeling that even if I took it the next day I should be able to pass.  However, I didn’t want to waste any time by taking the certification too quickly and having to retake it,  so I figured I’d spend just a few hours looking over the books online articles for the materials listed.  I also had access to the new Certification Prep Kick from Microsoft Press and figured I might skim through it to fill in a few holes.

Training Kit (Exam 70-461): Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Unfortunately for me, my compulsion to do things correctly kicked in after reading a few chapters from the prep kit book the first night and I ended up reading through all of it instead.  And I say unfortunately because I can not be kind if asked about this book.  It does not do any justice compared to Ben-Gan’s otherwise absolutely stellar books.

The information provided did not seem to go into enough depth to cover the fundamentals for several topics that were listed on the skills for the certification.  The code and sample exercises were often repetitive.  The depth to which the majority of the topics were covered was much weaker than previous books.  The practice tests included did not mimic the real tests in many ways (although I don’t think I can say how since we’re not supposed to talk about what was on the exam).  And, I’d say, most importantly, I don’t really think that this book provided enough information for one to read through it, use the practice material, and take the test.

So, all in all I ended up using my previous experience, reading the books online pages for a few topics and reading through the prep kit book.  I also took the practice exams that came with the book four times.  Overall I think I spent about 20 hours preparing for the exam.  At the beginning of the process I had figured I might spend 5, maybe 10.

The morning of the exam I figured that I would be in and out relatively quickly.  And, it really wasn’t that long of a process.  However, it took me about twice as long as I was expecting: not quite an hour and a half.  I’ll leave off discussing any real details about it other than to say that I passed, and that it was a more difficult experience than I thought it would be going in.

So, one test down with at least two more and in all probability six more to go for the year.  I’m not certain when I’ll set the next one up for, but more than likely some time next month.  I’d like to get the first three knocked out before the end of march as I don’t know how much extra-curricular time I’ll have after that.


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4 Responses to 70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012

  1. Ed Morrow says:

    What resources would you suggest for the 70-462 exam? I’m taking the 70-461 exam in about 5 hours. Good luck on your other exams.

  2. Eric Wisdahl says:

    I’m not entirely certain on the 70-462 exam yet. I have the Prep Kit book and will be reading that (actually part way through it now). I have read several other books over the years that should help to prepare for the exam. Mostly, however, I’m going to set up a lab on my Desktop and try all of the different scenarios which I don’t work with regularly out and try to find the best way to work with them. If the 70-462 is at all like the 2008 exam it will be less intense on syntax and more on questions relating to when and why you would use a technology. At least, I’m hoping that’s the case 🙂

  3. Daniel says:

    Please send me the link as to where i could get Ban’grans book and have a look at it too, because i am currently preparing for this exam. Also if you dont mind, share which sites u went to read on and which topics u did to prepare yourself 🙂 thanks!

    • Eric Wisdahl says:

      Itzik Ben Gan’s books can be found on Amazon. I would recommend the Microsoft SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Fundamentals, Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2008: T-SQL Querying and Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2008: T-SQL Programming. As for the websites, I read a lot of blogs, and I’m sure over the years that has helped. However, for preparing for exams I mostly use books online. Good luck on your test!

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