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Preparing for and taking exam 70-463 (Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012)

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): SQL ServerOne of my goals is to become a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Business Intelligence. I decided to start from scratch and take the three exams required for Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): SQL Server 2012 to learn as much as possible. I passed exam 70-461 (Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012) in January and decided to take exam 70-463 (Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012) next. I passed in April :)

Preparing for the exam
I work in a Business Intelligence department and mainly focus on Data Warehouse and SSIS development. Most of my preparation has been working on real projects for over five years and it is by far the best learning experience. I focused mainly on learning the new features in 2012/2014 and features I haven’t used as much in projects: SSISDB, Project Deployment, Environments, Parameters, Data Quality Services (DQS), Master Data Services (MDS), Data Mining, Change Data Capture (CDC), Transactions, Checkpoints and Fuzzy transformations.

My plan was to work my way through each chapter in the Training Kit book, but I skimmed through half of it and skipped the exercises and practices that I already felt comfortable with. I answered all the quick check questions, lesson review questions, and case scenarios out loud to myself. The practice tests that came with the book were great for identifying knowledge gaps.

I completed the Implementing a Data Warehouse with SQL Server Jump Start on Microsoft Virtual Academy and I watched this prep video:

MCSA Certification Prep Exam 463 Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Finally, I went through the list of skills measured and made sure that I felt comfortable with everything mentioned there.

Taking the exam
The exam itself was 50 questions that I had to answer in 120 minutes. Some were simple questions with one correct answer, some were multiple-choice, some were drag-and-drop where you had to choose a certain number of code snippets or steps and place them in the correct order, and some were questions where you had to interact with a GUI and select the correct settings and options.

The different kinds of questions made the exam very interesting, but some questions were actually more difficult than I expected. The questions I found the most difficult were about installing, maintaining, backing up and restoring because this is not something I have a lot of practical experience with – I mainly use features after they have been installed. Make sure you know most of the things in the list of skills measured, focus on the new features in 2012/2014, and get some hands-on experience.

As soon as you end your exam you will see your score and if you pass or fail. Good luck on your exam! :)

About the Author

Cathrine Wilhelmsen is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP, BimlHero Certified Expert, Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert, international speaker, author, blogger, and chronic volunteer who loves teaching and sharing knowledge. She works as a Senior Business Intelligence Consultant at Inmeta, focusing on Azure Data and the Microsoft Data Platform. She loves sci-fi, chocolate, coffee, craft beers, ciders, cat gifs and smilies :)

Comments

Hi! This is Cathrine. Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I'd love to hear your thoughts, but please keep in mind that I'm not technical support for any products mentioned in this post :) Off-topic questions, comments and discussions may be moderated. Be kind to each other. Thanks!

Hey nice article. Can you please let me know if there is any validity on this certification?

Hi Catherine,
Thanks for sharing your story.I plan on taking the test and wanted to know what materials did you use to prepare.~Alex

Hi Catherine,
Nice write-up, please how can i get materials for the exam preparation?

Read the post again. The materials I used for preparation is listed right there in the post, including links and a video.

Hi! This is Cathrine (again). Just a reminder. I'd love to hear your thoughts, but please keep in mind that I'm not technical support for any products mentioned in this post :) Off-topic questions, comments and discussions may be moderated. Be kind to each other. Thanks!

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