Exam 70-464

Developing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases

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  • Published: June 11, 2012
  • Languages: English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese (Simplified)
  • Audiences: IT professionals
  • Technology: Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Credit toward certification: 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 70-464. 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-70-464.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.

Starting April 24, 2014, the questions on this exam will include content covering SQL Server 2014.

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 (complex statements)

    • Develop an optimal strategy for using temporary objects (table variables and temporary tables); how not to rely on triggers solely as a means to manage a table; data version control and management; create tables without using the built-in tools; understand the difference between @Table and #table

  • Design, implement, and troubleshoot security

    • Grant, deny, revoke; unable to connect; execute as; certificates; loginless user; database roles and permissions; contained users; change permission chains

  • Design the locking granularity level

    • Choose the right lock mechanism for a given task, handling and/or avoiding deadlocks; fix locking and blocking issues caused by previous development or third-party apps; analyze a deadlock scenario to alleviate the issue; impact of isolation level and ado defaults; impact of locks and lock escalation; reduce locking scenarios; how isolation levels affect blocking and locking; identify bottlenecks in, and improve, the data design

  • Maintain indexes

    • Inspect physical characteristics of indexes and perform index maintenance; identify fragmented indexes; identify unused indexes; implement indexes; defrag/rebuild indexes; set up a maintenance strategy for indexes and statistics; optimize indexes (full, filter index); statistics (full, filter) force or fix queue; when to rebuild versus reorg and index; create a tuning and maintenance strategy for proactive operations

  • Implement data types

    • Use appropriate data types; develop a CLR data type; understand the difference between @Table and #table; impact of GUID (newid, newsequentialid) on database performance, indexing and privacy; use spatial data; LOB data types; understand when and how to use column store and sparse columns; implicit and explicit conversions, integer math

  • Create and modify constraints (complex statements)

    • Create constraints on tables; define constraints; performance implications

  • Work with XML data

    • Implement XML; use XML (Query, Input, Output); transform XML data into relational data; retrieve relational data as XML; FOR XML; design a strategy to transform XML into relational data; design a strategy to query and modify XML data; understand XML data types and their schemas and interoperability, limitations, and restrictions; implement XML schemas and handling of XML data; how to handle it in SQL Server and when and when not to use it, including XML namespaces; import and export XML

  • Write automation scripts

    • Automate backup testing; shrink file; check index fragmentation; archive data; run an SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) job; check disk space; automate backups

  • Design and implement stored procedures

    • Create stored procedures and other programmatic objects; techniques for developing stored procedures; different types of stored procedure results; create stored procedure for data access layer; analyze and rewrite procedures and processes; program stored procedures, with T-SQL and CLR#; use table valued parameters; encryption

  • Design T-SQL table-valued and scalar functions

    • Ensure code non regression by keeping consistent signature for procedure, views and function (interfaces); turn scripts that use cursors and loops into a SET based operation

  • Create, use, and alter user-defined functions (UDFs)

    • Understand deterministic, non-deterministic functions; use cross apply with UDFs; Common Language Runtime (CLR)

  • Create and alter views (complex statements)

    • Set up and configure partitioned tables and partitioned views; design a best practice for using views and stored procedures and remove the direct usage of tables

  • Design tables

    • Data design patterns; develop normalized and de-normalized SQL tables; understand the difference between physical tables, temp tables, temp table variables, and common table expressions; design transactions; design views; describe advantages / disadvantages of using a GUID as a clustered index; understand performance implications of # versus @ temp tables and how to decide which to use, when, and why; use of set-based rather than row-based logic; encryption (other than TDE); table partitioning; filestream and filetable

  • Design for concurrency

    • Develop a strategy to minimize concurrency; handle concurrency to minimize locking and eliminate as much blocking as possible, and to avoid deadlocks; manage the transactions to limit the time to hold lock and have fast transactions (maximize concurrency); define locking and concurrency strategy; impact of read committed snapshot / snapshot isolation; understand what it solves and what it costs

  • Create and alter indexes

    • Create indexes and data structures; create filtered indexes; create an indexing strategy; design and optimize indexes; design indexes and statistics; assess which indexes on a table are likely to be used given different search arguments (SARG); column store indexes; semantic indexes

  • Design data integrity

    • Design table data integrity policy (checks, private key/foreign key, uniqueness, XML schema); select a primary key; data usage patterns

  • Design for implicit and explicit transactions

    • Manage transactions; use transactions in code; ensure data integrity by using transactions; use transactions inside the database using T-SQL and from the "outside" via C#/VB; distributed transaction escalation

  • Optimize and tune queries

    • Tune a badly performing query; identify long running queries; review and optimize code; analyze execution plans to optimize queries; tune a query that is poorly written; tune queries using execution plans and database tuning advisor (DTA); design advanced queries: pivots, utilizing common table expressions (CTE), design the database layout and optimize queries (for speed and/or data size); understand different data types; basic knowledge of query hints; tune query workloads, using realistic data sets not being production data sets; demonstrate use of recursive CTE; full text search; control execution plans

  • Troubleshoot and resolve performance problems

    • Interpret performance monitor data; impact of recovery modal on database size, and recovery; how to clean up if .MDF and .LDF files get too large; identify and fix transactional replication problems; detect and resolve server hung, failure; identify and troubleshoot data access problems

  • Optimize indexing strategies

    • Develop optimal strategy for clustered indexes; analyze index usage; know the difference between the type of indexes and when to choose one over the other; optimize indexing for data warehousing vs. optimize indexing for Online Transaction Processing (OLTP); generate appropriate indexes and statistics with include columns; apply effective and efficient indexes, including the use of INCLUDE lists; full-text indexing

  • Capture and analyze execution plans

    • Collect and read execution plan; review an execution plan to spot potential performance issues; read an execution plan; create an index based on an execution plan; row-based logic vs. set-based logic, batching, splitting implicit transactions

  • Collect performance and system information

    • Use Data Management Views to determine performance issues; from system metadata; gather trace information by using the SQL Server Profiler; develop monitoring strategy for production database; run a Profiler trace and analyze the results; run Profiler for troubleshooting application; collect output from the Database Engine Tuning Advisor; extended events

Preparation options

Find training near you

Microsoft Certification PREP Talk: Exam 464

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 464.

Buy a practice test for Exam 70-464 from:

  • avatar image

    Prep materials for 464

    Posted by MichaelL on 20 Mar 2013 at 21:14 GMT

    I took and passed the 461 exam today (YAY!) and am preparing to study for the 464 exam only to find a surprising lack of general preparation materials.  When studying for 461, there was a brief video tutorial at http://borntolearn.mslearn.net, and there was a recommended Microsoft Press book, “Training Kit 70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012”.  I found both of these resources extremely useful.

    For the 464 exam there is no video and the recommended books state, “Explore books written by experts at Microsoft Press”.  I am glad we have the “Prep resources by objective” (a HUGE improvement from the past); however, under each section it states “<< Add your resources here >>”.  This would be a massive help for the 464 since I doubt any one book will cover all the topics.

    If any enterprising MCT would take the time to suggest resources for the following areas, I would greatly appreciate it:

    2.1 Write automation scripts

    2.3 Design T-SQL table-valued and scalar functions

    2.5 Create and alter views (complex statements)

    3.2 Design for concurrency

    3.4 Design data integrity

    3.5 Design for implicit and explicit transactions

    4. Optimizing and Troubleshooting Queries (the entire section, this is a gap area for me)


    Thank you in advance.






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Who should take this exam?

This exam is intended for database professionals who build and implement databases across organizations and ensure high levels of data availability. Responsibilities include creating database files, data types, and tables; planning, creating, and optimizing indexes; insuring data integrity; implementing views, stored procedures, and functions; and managing transactions and locks.

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.