70-461 study log

ghmaghma Posts: 12Member ■□□□□□□□□□
Thought I'd start my own log to help keep me on track.

So a little bit about me: I've been wanting to take 70-461 for a very long time, but my workload was pretty heavy the last few years. We were swamped and it only seemed to get worse. In the end, I had to make some difficult decisions to get my life and sanity back. It all turned out good because I now have a normal work schedule.

So it's time to return to my studies and attempt to become a MCSA. This would be a great accomplishment. I really love what I do, and I want to get better at what I do. I've worked with sql for about 4 years now, but I would say my skills are about average so there is a lot to learn.

My goal is to take the exam Oct 1. I'll be purchasing a booster pack with retakes.

I plan to start studying for 70-463 after since I work with SSIS quite a bit. I look forward to taking 70-462 although I'm not allowed to perform dba tasks, but I think learning these skills would still make me a better developer.

I hope to become a MCSA by March (my bday), and then start studying to become a MCSE. Most likely I would take the Data Platform route. I would love to learn more about BI but a deep dive into that seems way over my head, at least now it does.

Thanks for reading, now on to my day-to-day entries.


  • ghmaghma Posts: 12Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    What scares me the most about this exam is XML. I'm sure it's everyone's worst fear.

    I'm trying out the free trial at CBT Nuggets. Yesterday and today I watched the video on XML and got through half of the chapter in the Training Kit. I had to stop when it got to XQuery, it just seemed to get pretty dense and I am tired.

    So I spent some time practicing FOR XML Raw, Auto, Path and I think I am comfortable with it now. I wanted to at least get an overview of XQuery so I went to YouTube and found this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj4qodGsgDA

    He explains it pretty well and I practiced along with him as he explained. On Tuesday I'll go back to the Training Kit and try to finish up the chapter. I would say tomorrow but working on some major house projects... actually I have been all weekend but the bulk of it will be tomorrow. I'm sure I'll be very exhausted. I was today but I am super motivated right now, so I found some energy to get some studying in.

    For those in the U.S., Happy Labor day.
  • ghmaghma Posts: 12Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I could not sleep. I am very, VERY sore after all the work I did around the house yesterday. So I got up early to finish the rest of the chapter on XML in the training kit. Like I said, I'm pretty motivated to pass this exam and move on to the next.

    I took lots of notes in OneNote on all three lessons in the chapter. It's not as complicated as I thought, I'm just overwhelmed by how much syntax I need to memorize and how much I need to practice.

    What's been very helpful is to take each example from book and run in ssms. I'm saving each one as a script with lots of comments so I can go back and review.

    What I need to do now that I've finished reading chapter:

    -Finish all the exercises
    -Re-watch CBT video on xml
    -Look up more videos on Youtube, especially on Xquery
    -Practice like crazy. I probably will spend the rest of the week on practicing XML alone.
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Posts: 2,287Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Take a run through these.


    I would also go through the CBT as well for XML. All 3 times I took the exam I was met with at least 6 XML questions.
  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Senior Member behind youPosts: 2,587Mod Mod
    I sent you a PM. icon_smile.gif
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
  • NotHackingYouNotHackingYou Posts: 1,452Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Don't sweat the XML stuff. Just work through all the lessons on the official book and know the syntax and you'll be fine.
    When you go the extra mile, there's no traffic.
  • scaredoftestsscaredoftests Senior Member behind youPosts: 2,587Mod Mod
    The official book? Did not help me one bit. In my opinion. The measureup tests were easier than the actual test. Transcender resembles the test the best.
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
  • ghmaghma Posts: 12Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thanks everyone. Busy day yesterday, I didn't have much time to study. I worked on one excercise and I was pretty confused, but I think I was just really tired.

    I'll be back with another entry for today. Btw I'm going to stick with CBT for this month.
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Posts: 2,287Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    ghma wrote: »
    Thanks everyone. Busy day yesterday, I didn't have much time to study. I worked on one excercise and I was pretty confused, but I think I was just really tired.

    I'll be back with another entry for today. Btw I'm going to stick with CBT for this month.

    No worries hit it tonight. +1 on the training guide didn't do much for me. When I hit the CBT nuggets and the test I started to memorize the concepts. Flash cards REALLY help me out as well.
  • ghmaghma Posts: 12Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Oh boy what a week. The house projects -- so one of the big-box stores (*ahem* Lowe's *cough*) messed up my order, which has really put me behind in a painful way. Long story about everything and don't want to explain, but anyway. The past few days I've been coming home from work and getting right back to working on the house. A lot to do, a lot of lifting.. I'm tired but this soon shall pass.

    I worked on some XML a bit yesterday during lunch. So I'm confused about how to code these statements in the exam. I mean there are a few different ways to bring back the same resultset. For example:

    So what if I code it a bit differently then what they expect but it still returns the right result? What exactly are they looking for? Is this a dumb question or am I looking too much into this?
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Posts: 2,287Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I don't want to break the non disclosure with Microsoft, but they kind of help you along when it come to writing the code. The code you posted however clearly stated it wanted the the alias a certain way, something trival like that (at least from my perspective) could throw you off so make sure to do what they say to a tee. As far as having ambiguity in the code, they help you along with their requirements I don't think you'll have as much trouble as you are thinking now.
  • DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Posts: 2,287Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    How's the studies?
  • RHONEDOGRHONEDOG Posts: 24Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Any updates? I'm currently studying for this one, scheduled for Nov 7.
  • ghmaghma Posts: 12Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Wow, I can't believe the last time I posted was back in September. Life took over and things got crazy busy, both at work and at home.

    However the exam voucher/retakes I purchased were set to expire March 30, 2017, so I had to buckle down and study.

    I took it once last month and failed (640), which was totally expected. Then I took it again yesterday and passed with a score of 742. I was SO HAPPY AND RELIEVED to see my score. Finally, I passed this dang exam that I've only been wanting to take for the last 3 years.

    Really I don't think I would have been able to pass without the four years of experience I have with sql, but these are the resources I used that I found very helpful:

    -Buying a hard copy of the official Training Kit. I did not do all the exercises, but I wish I would have.
    -CBT nuggets is excellent. Worth the money.
    -Udemy 70-461 course. It was on sale for $10. Videos are short and more high-level but helped me understand some of the things I was confused on.
    -Watching this exam prep video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZVtrjDOEeo

    I did not take any practice exams. The booster pack I purchased included a practice exam but it expired way earlier, so I never got a chance to use it (I'm dumb).

    Anyway, on to the next one. I've already started studying for 70-463.
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