Exam 70-461

Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012

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SQL Server 2012 logo
  • Published: June 11, 2012
  • Languages: English
  • Audiences: IT professionals
  • Technology: Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Credit toward certification: MCSA, MCSE

Convince your boss email

Copy the following content into an email message to your boss and update [the bracketed text] with the appropriate content.

Dear [your boss's name]:

I'd like to expand and prove my technical skills by earning a Microsoft Certification. My next step is taking Exam 70-461. The registration fee is $150.00 USD.

When I pass this certification, you'll have proof of my ability to work with Microsoft SQL Server 2012 . Microsoft has training and online resources to help me prepare for the exam. I believe I'll be more effective and productive after achieving this valuable technical certification.

Let me know if you have any questions. In the meantime, you can find out more about this exam at http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/exam-70-461.aspx. As you can see, the exam validates skills that are crucial to our team's success.

Thank you for your support,

[your name]

Skills measured

This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below. The percentages indicate the relative weight of each major topic area on the exam. The higher the percentage, the more questions you are likely to see on that content area on the exam.

Please note that the questions may test on, but will not be limited to, the topics described in the bulleted text.

  • Create and alter tables using T-SQL syntax (simple statements)

    • Create tables without using the built in tools; ALTER; DROP; ALTER COLUMN; CREATE

  • Create and alter views (simple statements)

    • Create indexed views; create views without using the built in tools; CREATE, ALTER, DROP

  • Design views

    • Ensure code non regression by keeping consistent signature for procedure, views and function (interfaces); security implications

  • Create and modify constraints (simple statements)

    • Create constraints on tables; define constraints; unique constraints; default constraints; primary and foreign key constraints

  • Create and alter DML triggers.

    • Inserted and deleted tables; nested triggers; types of triggers; update functions; handle multiple rows in a session; performance implications of triggers

  • Query data by using SELECT statements

    • Use the ranking function to select top(X) rows for multiple categories in a single query; write and perform queries efficiently using the new (SQL 2005/8->) code items such as synonyms, and joins (except, intersect); implement logic which uses dynamic SQL and system metadata; write efficient, technically complex SQL queries, including all types of joins versus the use of derived tables; determine what code may or may not execute based on the tables provided; given a table with constraints, determine which statement set would load a table; use and understand different data access technologies; case versus isnull versus coalesce

  • Implement sub-queries

    • Identify problematic elements in query plans; pivot and unpivot; apply operator; cte statement; with statement

  • Implement data types

    • Use appropriate data; understand the uses and limitations of each data type; impact of GUID (newid, newsequentialid) on database performance, when to use what data type for columns

  • Implement aggregate queries

    • New analytic functions; grouping sets; spatial aggregates; apply ranking functions

  • Query and manage XML data

    • Understand XML datatypes and their schemas and interop w/, limitations and restrictions; implement XML schemas and handling of XML data; XML data: how to handle it in SQL Server and when and when not to use it, including XML namespaces; import and export XML; XML indexing

  • Create and alter stored procedures (simple statements)

    • Write a stored procedure to meet a given set of requirements; branching logic; create stored procedures and other programmatic objects; techniques for developing stored procedures; different types of storeproc result; create stored procedure for data access layer; program stored procedures, triggers, functions with T-SQL

  • Modify data by using INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE statements

    • Given a set of code with defaults, constraints, and triggers, determine the output of a set of DDL; know which SQL statements are best to solve common requirements; use output statement

  • Combine datasets

    • Difference between UNION and UNION all; case versus isnull versus coalesce; modify data by using MERGE statements

  • Work with functions

    • Understand deterministic, non-deterministic functions; scalar and table values; apply built-in scalar functions; create and alter user-defined functions (UDFs)

  • Optimize queries

    • Understand statistics; read query plans; plan guides; DMVs; hints; statistics IO; dynamic vs. parameterized queries; describe the different join types (HASH, MERGE, LOOP) and describe the scenarios they would be used in

  • Manage transactions

    • Mark a transaction; understand begin tran, commit, and rollback; implicit vs explicit transactions; isolation levels; scope and type of locks; trancount

  • Evaluate the use of row-based operations vs. set-based operations

    • When to use cursors; impact of scalar UDFs; combine multiple DML operations

  • Implement error handling

    • Implement try/catch/throw; use set based rather than row based logic; transaction management

Preparation options

Find training near you

Microsoft Certification PREP Talk: Exam 461

In this episode of Prep tips from certification experts, James Seymour, Certification Planner, and Dandy Weyn, Senior Program Manager on the SQL Server product group, discuss the relevancy of the skills being measured on Exam 461.

Buy a practice test for Exam 70-461 from:

  • avatar image

    Passed 70-461 Exam : Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012

    Posted by Manoj Pandey on 06 Jun 2013 at 12:24 GMT

    Few days back (Nov 15th 2012) I went through this exam (70-461) and passed it. From long back I was looking an opportunity to give at least a single SQL Server Certification Exam to check my worth.

    Just a week back I scheduled a slot for this Exam (for yesterday). I was looking for some reading material for the same but I couldn’t get any. Though there is a book from Microsoft Press i.e. “Training Kit (Exam 70-461): Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012″, but it was not available at my nearest.

    As I maintain this blog on SQL Server and also evangelize on SQL Server 2012 latest features from long back, so I thought to give it a try and wow I went thru in a single shot!!!

    Here by this post I want to provide my readers some information and knowledge about this Exam, so that they can plan well for this and look forward to take up this exam.

    –> Exam Highlights:

    - There were total 54 Questions
    - Total time to attempt the paper was 3 Hrs.
    - Total Marks: 1000
    - Passing Marks: 700
    - The Questions in the Exam were:
    1. Mostly Objective Type.
    2. Some were Subjective: where you’ve to write code, like SELECT statement and/or View Definition, etc.
    3. And very few were Multiple Choice.
    4. A few Question were where you’ve to pick up the appropriate code snippet and arrange them in correct sequence.

    –> The Exam is divided into 4 modules:
    1. Create Database Objects
    2. Work with Data
    3. Modify Data
    4. Troubleshoot & Optimize

    You need to brush up on following Skills in the these Modules:
    -:Check links with the below items for more information:-

    –> Create Database Objects | 24%
    - CREATE/ALTER/DROP TABLE/COLUMN
    - Data Types (XML, DATETIME, SPATIAL, VARCHAR)
    - Constraints (Primary Key, Foreign Key, Unique, Check, Default)
    - Calculated Column
    - Views
    - Indexed Views (SCHEMABINDING, COUNT_BIG(*), CLUSTERED INDEX)
    - Stored Procedures, [link].
    - DML Triggers (INSERTED, UPDATED, UPDATE function) vs CHECK Constraint
    - TRIGGER for VIEWS (INSTEAD OF)
    - UDF (Functions), [link].
    - SP vs UDF, [link].

    –> Work with Data | 27%
    - New Functions in SQL Server 2012 (IFF, TRY_PARSE, CONCAT, FORMAT), [link].
    - FETCH-OFFSET, [link].
    - SEQUENCE, [link].
    - Ranking and Window Functions (ROW_NUMBER, RANK, DENSE_RANK, NTILE), [link].
    - JOINS (INNER, OUTER LEFT, OUTER RIGHT, CROSS), [link].
    - APPLY Operators (CROSS APPLY vs OUTER APPLY), [link].
    - CTE and Sub-Queries, [link].
    - PIVOT, [link].
    - ROLLUP, CUBE & GROUPING SETS, [link].
    - Dynamic SQL
    - ANY, SOME, ALL
    - CASE vs ISNULL vs COALESCE, [link].
    - FOR XML RAW/AUTO/PATH [ELEMENTS], [link].
    - Implementing XML Schemas and Handling of XML data

    –> Modify Data | 24%
    - Stored Procedure (with EXECUTE AS, RECOMPILE)
    - MERGE Statement (TARGET, SOURCE, WHEN MATCHED, WHEN NOT MATCHED, OUTPUT),[link].
    - EXCEPT vs INTERSECT
    - UNION vs UNION ALL, [link].
    - SCALAR vs TABLE Valued Functions.
    - Use of APPLY with UDFs, [link].
    - VARCHAR(MAX) and .WRITE(), [link].

    –> Troubleshoot & Optimize | 25%
    - Using Statistics
    - SQL Internal JOINS (NESTED – Small, MERGE – Large Sorter, HASH – Large Unsorted), [link].
    - TRANSACTIONS (BEGIN, COMMIT, ROLLBACK, XACT_ABORT, TRANCOUNT), [link].
    - ISOLATION Levels (READ UNCOMMITTED, READ COMMITTED, REPEATABLE READ, SNAPSHOT, SERIALIZABLE)
    - TRY/CATCH, [link].
    - RAISE vs THROW [link]
    - CURSORS (Row-Based) vs SET Based Approach
    - Table Hints (UPDLOCK, ROWLOCK, TABLOCK, …etc)
    - Query Hints (OPTION (OPTIMIZED FOR … [UNKNOWN]))

    –> You can visit following Study materials to prepare for this Exam:

    Microsoft Link for this Certification: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exam.aspx?id=70-461

    Book “Training Kit (Exam 70-461): Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012″ on AMAZON.com: http://www.amazon.com/Training-Kit-Exam-70-461-Microsoft/dp/0735666059?tag=651998669-20

    Book “Microsoft SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Fundamentals” on AMAZON.com:http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Server-2012-T-SQL-Fundamentals/dp/0735658145/ref=sr_1_3&tag=651998669-20

    All The Best!!!

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

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

Published: November 2012

Ace your preparation for Microsoft Certification Exam 70-461 with this 2-in-1 Training Kit from Microsoft Press. Work at your own pace through a series of lessons and practical exercises, and then assess your skills with practice tests on CD—featuring multiple, customizable testing options.

Buy this book at the Microsoft Press Store

Who should take this exam?

This exam is intended for SQL Server database administrators, system engineers, and developers with two or more years of experience, who are seeking to validate their skills and knowledge in writing queries.

More information about exams

We recommend that you review this exam preparation guide in its entirety and familiarize yourself with the resources on this website before you schedule your exam. See the Microsoft Certification exam overview for information about registration, videos of typical exam question formats, and other preparation resources. For information on exam policies and scoring, see the Microsoft Certification exam policies and FAQs.

This preparation guide is subject to change at any time without prior notice and at the sole discretion of Microsoft. Microsoft exams might include adaptive testing technology and simulation items. Microsoft does not identify the format in which exams are presented. Please use this preparation guide to prepare for the exam, regardless of its format. To help you prepare for this exam, Microsoft recommends that you have hands-on experience with the product and that you use the specified training resources. These training resources do not necessarily cover all of the topics listed in the "Skills measured" section.