Home > Certifications, SQL Server 2012 > Passed 70-461 Exam : Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Passed 70-461 Exam : Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012

November 16, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Yesterday (Nov 15th 2012) I went through this exam 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 | 24%

– CREATE/ALTER/DROP Database, [link], [video]

– CREATE/ALTER/DROP Table, [link], [video]

– ADD/DROP/Rename table’s Columns, [video]

– Data Types [video]:

– Constraints [link], [video]
– – (Primary Key, Unique Key, Foreign Key, NOT NULL, Check, Default)

– Computed Columns [video]:

– Views [link]


– Stored Procedures, [link].

– DML Triggers (INSERTED, UPDATED, UPDATE function) vs CHECK Constraint


– UDF (Functions), [link].

– SP vs UDF, [link].

2. Work with Data | 27%

– New Functions in SQL Server 2012 (IFF, TRY_PARSE, CONCAT, FORMAT), [link].

– FETCH-OFFSET, [link].

– SEQUENCE, [link].

– Ranking Functions (ROW_NUMBER, RANK, DENSE_RANK, NTILE), [link], [video].

– OVER() Window Function, [link]


– APPLY Operators (CROSS APPLY vs OUTER APPLY), [link].

– CTE and Sub-Queries, [link].

– PIVOT, [link].


– Dynamic SQL


– CASE vs ISNULL vs COALESCE, [link].


– Implementing XML Schemas and Handling of XML data

3. Modify Data | 24%

– Stored Procedure (with EXECUTE AS, RECOMPILE)


– UNION vs UNION ALL, [link].

– SCALAR vs TABLE Valued Functions.

– Use of APPLY with UDFs, [link].

– VARCHAR(MAX) and .WRITE(), [link].

4. Troubleshoot & Optimize | 25%

– Using Statistics

– SQL Internal JOINS (NESTED – Small, MERGE – Large Sorter, HASH – Large Unsorted), [link].



– TRY/CATCH, [link].

– RAISE vs THROW [link]

– CURSORS (Row-Based) vs SET Based Approach

– Table Hints (UPDLOCK, ROWLOCK, TABLOCK, …etc)


For “SQL Server 2014” exam certification check here.

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

Microsoft Link for this Certification: https://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/exam-70-461.aspx

Books on AMAZON.com:
Training Kit (Exam 70-461): Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Fundamentals

–> Download “SQL Server 2014 Express” (free) version to practice T-SQL Queries:

Join SQL Server 2016 groups on [LinkedIn] and [Facebook] for more updates.

All The Best!!!

  1. Harpreet Singh Dhandal
    November 19, 2019 at 11:38 pm

    Hello Manoj
    any Helpful link on this blog to pass the MTA database fundamental exam


  2. Percell
    January 8, 2019 at 2:34 am

    Just passed my 70-461 3 hours ago. Thank you

  3. Rupa
    November 14, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    HI Manoj, how are the exam points allocated? For example, if we have to write a select statement and only get 1 piece correct, will we still get those points or will we get 0 points for that question?

  4. scp1906
    March 22, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Hey Manoj,

    I’ve already read all the book and seen the videos in Microsoft Virtual Studio Academy.

    How do you think I should pratice from now on to get my preparation right to the exame? I have exame next week.

    Thanks in advance.

  5. srikanth ponnapati
    February 23, 2017 at 2:02 am

    I have heard that Microsoft going to change the pattern by March 2017. Is that true or false?
    If true then do you still prefer practicing with the old edition. Will that effect the current materail that sujested by Microsoft 2012 edision. Because I’m planning to take a test in the month of April. How long certification will be Valid

  6. Kanchana Meghraj
    January 25, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Will the official book “Training Kit (Exam 70-461): Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012” stillbe sufficient to pass the exam now as it now includes SQL Server 2014 as well?

    • January 25, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      Hi Kanchana, I referred this book back in 2012 only, and not sure if it includes SQL 2014 material. If you are sure and have checked this then the book should be sufficient. Best of luck for the exam !

  7. BB
    January 17, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Manoj, Can you please provide cerfification data dump for SQL Sever 2012

    • January 17, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      I would not recommend to go with dumps, if you have any or are looking for. Practicing and learning can only make you understand the concepts.

  8. January 15, 2017 at 12:43 am

    Hello manub22

    I have some question to ask you please. I do not understood why I failed the exam SQL SERVER 2012-2014 two time with the same result. First exam I took was 08/08/2016 and my result is 674 and the second exam was 14/01/2017 this now and my result again is 674. In my time exam I try to fill the question to say yes for answer but is not accept the click. and that happened The First exam and the second exam Also.
    my email address is ricomk007@hotmail.co.uk.

    Please if you can help me that will be helpful.


  9. Vox
    December 22, 2016 at 12:23 am

    i have issues reading complex queries and determine the outcome of the query especially during the exam. Does anyone know of a tip that can be used? i tried the exam once and did not make it. I need help and guidance to clear this exam as soon as possible. This is for 70-461 exam

  10. December 4, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    SQL Server 2014 certification update: I’ve added new updated post on SQL 2014 certification, please check this: https://sqlwithmanoj.com/2015/12/01/exam-70-461-sql-2014-update-querying-microsoft-sql-server-2014/

  11. Rafael Lima - Brazil
    October 15, 2016 at 1:42 am

    Hey Manoj, I’ve been following your blog in the last days and I liked what I read, especially the tips on the exam 70-461, and video tutorials, for I will make my second attempt in a few days.

    I would suggest the following link reference to the indexed views:


  12. Ryan
    July 17, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Do we get a certificate , after clearing 461 ? Or only after clearing 461,462,463 we get a certificate ? I only want to appear for 461. I’m not interested in getting the MCSA tag.

  13. July 8, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Hi Manoj,

    I cleared my 70-461 (Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/14) on 5th of july with 810 points.:)

    I had a total of 2hrs to complete 49 questions,which included MCQs,Choose all that apply type questions,around 10 queries to write,5 questions on code arrangements,3 questions where i had to mark statements whether true/false.I studied from Training kit by Itzik Ben-Gan and Jumpstart videos from Microsoft Virtual Academy. Overall it was a complete awesome experience.

    Thanks for all your support and useful tips.Now working on 70-462,Hope to clear it soon.

    • August 28, 2016 at 8:47 am

      Hi Shivraj,

      Could you please let us know about the writing queries? On which topic those were based on!!

  14. bhavinpatel
    July 3, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Hi Manoj!

    I recently cleared exam 70-461 (Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/14). Now I am in a fix whether to opt 462/463. I have some previous knowledge about Data Warehouses and Data Mining (Informatica and SPSS Clementine).
    Note: I have no knowledge or experience in Database Administration,

  15. Bhavin Patel
    July 3, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Hi Manoj!

    I cleared my 70-461 (Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/14) exam on 02nd Jul 2016.
    My doubt is, I am studying in Final-Year of Engineering(IT) and I have some previous knowledge about Data Warehouses and Data Mining(Informatica and SPSS Clementine).Now I am in a fix whether I should proceed with Exam 70-462 or 70-463.
    Note: I have no knowledge about ‘ Database-Administration’.

    • August 31, 2016 at 11:21 pm

      congrats for your certification.

      It will be great help for me ,if you share any model questions(dumps) for”
      070-461 – Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012″ exam.

      Please forward to “SIVAGVP@GMAIL.COM”.

      Thanks in Advance.

  16. June 21, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Hi, thanks for your post, it is really helpful!
    I was wondering.. what do you think about the 70-461 trainer handbook as a study guide?

    Thanks a lot!

    • June 21, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      Hi David, thanks a lot for your comments and I’m really happy that people are getting benefited from this blog post. Handbook would be a very tough task for me as of now, would have to work full-time for sometime 🙂


      • David
        June 21, 2016 at 5:17 pm

        Manoj thanks for the really quick answer. But I think I didn’t make myself clear… I meant the already existing Trainer Handbook (the one that MCT’s have access to).
        Thanks again!

      • June 21, 2016 at 5:22 pm

        my bad 🙂

        Yes, the Training Kit book mentioned above in my blog post will be very helpful. But you need to do good hands-on with SQL queries.


      • David
        June 21, 2016 at 5:27 pm

        Still not quite there! hahaha
        The training kit book and the MCT’s trainer handbook are two different tools. I was wondering if you had access to the MCT one.

      • June 21, 2016 at 5:32 pm

        no-no, got you on 2nd reply 🙂 I haven’t checked that book yet !!!

      • David
        June 21, 2016 at 5:40 pm

        Ahh I see! Well, it says it is a great tool, but I wanted your opinion on that hehehe
        Thanks anyways, best of luck!

      • David
        June 28, 2016 at 11:11 pm

        Hey Manoj, I have a question for you!
        How does the test correct your answer on the “type the query” questions?
        Can you get like 50% of the question if you typed half of the code, or it considers only the full answer (all or nothing)?

        Thanks again!

      • June 29, 2016 at 9:56 am

        Not sure about this David. But I think it validates your query syntax and have some internal parsing logic. Thanks !

      • David
        July 18, 2016 at 11:03 pm

        Hey Manoj! I’ve just passed the exam today with a score of 857. Thanks for your tips and your time. I’m aiming for the 462 now.

  17. May 13, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Hi Sir, Just went through your blog post. I am fresher and recently graduated in Computer Science Engineering.Recently started working as a data analyst and to complete the goal assigned by the company, I need an SQL certification for which I need your siggestion I have basic knowledge about Databases and SQL. Would you suggest me to take up the 98-364 database fundamentals exam or push my self a little harder and take up the 70-461 exam.( I have no knowledge about XML, and in depth queries). Thanks

  18. Nicholas
    May 11, 2016 at 1:53 am

    Hello everybody. First of all, thank you Manoj, for this very usefull topic who helped me, and a lot another people, to pass 70-461.
    I took exam yesterday, passed with 700 points(walking on the deadline :)), 49questions, 2hours of time.
    I had 10 questions to write a code, they were hard-medium. Generally whole exam was, I wouldnt say hard, but very close to that. A lot of question to think about, and to realize what is actually needed for correct answer. I studied from Training kit who covers everything but the exercises from that kit are much easier than on exam so be sure to read forums, blogs and to exercise as much as you can on internet from all sources. Also I found very usefull video tutorials from Indian guy, named Pragim I think(just type Pragim Technologies), you will find him on YT for sure. Be sure to undetstand XML things cause I got 5 questions on exam related to xml chapter. Ofcourse you dont need to study theory from the book like a nerd, you just need to understand what is happening and to know when you need to use it, especialy in Optimization parts of the book. Also transactions are very important for exam. The part that was making me confused during the exam was that, that when I checked syntax with provided option in the questions where my task was to write queries, it was telling me that I have “spelling errors” on places where I put aliases in my code, and that was the case not in one, but in few questions. If somebody can explain it to me I would be very gratefull.

    I’m happy that I passed the test, I have studied for it about 2 months active, never had experience with sql.
    Next task for me is: 70-463, and ofcourse getting certs for W Server, and probably programing(480 or 483).

    Good luck to everebody and keep studying! 🙂
    Nicholas, Serbia

    • May 11, 2016 at 11:31 am

      Congratulations @Nicholas, and thanks for your comments. Best of luck for next exams. ~Manoj

  19. Oleg
    March 22, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Have passed 70-461 an hour ago with score 800. 43 questions and 2 hours of time. Whole spectrum of tasks and topics. Nothing extra hard, but few complex questions were related to cursors which arent my favorite topic. So before taking the exam ensure you have covered syntax and understand all main features of the topics mentioned on the official Microsoft page, you must be sure all of them will be asked on exam (except spatial types in my case).
    Regarding preparation, I have worked with Training Kit book, Nugget video and read various blog regarding SQL, job was related partially with SQL so active phase of the preparation took 1 month. I haven
    t found any question which wasn`t covered with the Training Kit.

  20. February 20, 2016 at 3:05 pm


    I am working in MNC from last 1.5 years as DBA. As part of my 2016 goal requirement and promotion I need to get the certification for 2012 server.

    Can you please advice me do I need to give 70.461,462,463 all the three exams or there is specific exams to be given ? Also can you please provide me the links to prepare these exams.

    Please help me. Waiting for you reply

  21. sai
    February 16, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Passed…! got 833. I got 44 questions

    Thanks Manoj for your guidance.

  22. Ru
    February 9, 2016 at 12:03 am

    Thanks for the update. Found your blog and appreciate the information and your thought process in regards to Dumps. I studied the dumps and failed. They do not prepare you for the exam.

    • February 9, 2016 at 9:47 am

      thanks @Ru… appreciate that you liked this blog post. And prepared on your own for the exam. Best of luck!

  23. February 3, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    UPDATE on SQL 2014:

    MCSA (461/462/463) exams will be having SQL 2012 content only.

    MCSE (DP: 464/465 and BI: 466/467) exams are updated with SQL 2014 topics. And same will go with 2016 after release.


  24. Mohammad Tuaha
    January 6, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    I passed 70-461 exam on December 10th.
    I got 816 out of 1000. passing mark is 700. 43 questions 15 query writing, MCQ 20 , matching 5 , multiple check-box 3 may be.

    • David
      January 25, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      Hi mohammad, do you have dumps or studying material i am writing next week email:davidmogotsi0@gmail.com

    • January 25, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      Dear @David, thanks for your comments. But I do not support going through dumps here.

      For study material check the books and resources mentioned above.


  25. January 6, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    I passed the test on December 10th.
    I got 816 out of 1000. passing mark is 700. 43 questions 15 query writing, MCQ 20 , matching 5 , multiple check-box 3 may be.

    • January 6, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      Congrats @Mohammad. and best of luck for the next ones.

  26. Shabeer
    December 6, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Hope you are doing good…

    I would like to do a microsoft sql DBA certification. could you please guide me.

    How to register and where can i get the study material and cost of the examination etc..


    • jainishrshah
      December 7, 2015 at 12:08 pm

      Hello Shabeer

      You can register at any Microsoft authorized testing center near you. NIIT is one of them.

      You can find exam related details at https://www.microsoft.com/en-in/learning/exam-list.aspx

      Just go to the link. Select the name of the exam which you want to give. You will get complete details of that exam including cost, syllabus and study resources.

      There are several online learning platforms where you can prepare. There are a lot of helpful preparatory videos on Youtube. Besides, Microsoft Virtual Academy is a free learning resource provided by microsoft. Also, exam specific study guides are available. You can order them online.

      All the best.
      Happy Learning.

    • December 7, 2015 at 12:20 pm

      Hi @Shabeer,

      You need to take 70-462 exam for DBA, please check this link: https://sqlwithmanoj.com/2015/05/01/preparing-for-70-462-exam-administering-microsoft-sql-server-2012-databases-certification/

      Check @jainishrshah comments for more info.

      And thanks
      happy reading!


  27. jainishrshah
    November 11, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    I have cleared 70-461 exam 2 days ago. What should I do ahead? 70-462 and 463 are the only options? Along with SQL certifications, I also want to gain developer certifications. What should I do? Prepare for 70-462 or some other basic level developer certification?

  28. Tshepiso
    October 29, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    for a beginner how much time do i need to practice for 70-461 exam?

    • October 29, 2015 at 5:14 pm

      Depends upon how much time you can dedicate and how fast you can grasp/absorb things. Typically if you are working (job) and not familiar with SQL then daily by giving 3-4 hrs you can prepare for this exam in ~1-2 months, otherwise it could take a week or two by dedicating 7-8 hrs.

  29. Tom
    September 9, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Can anyone recommend a good study source for this exam? i purchased Trancender questions (105 in total), but did not find these very useful. Some subject matter appeared in exam, but no similar questions unfortunately.



    • September 9, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Hi @Tom, thanks for your comments.

      There is no shortcut to success and passing this exam. I would say do not rely on Question bank and Training Kits for passing this exam. Rather spend sometime like a month and target each module for every week.

      You just need to go through the Training Kit book I’ve mentioned above in my post. And have to do lot of hands on SQL queries.

      Good luck and Thanks.

  30. Amir Anwar
    August 29, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Ok .. I failed in my exam today like 2 hours ago… feeling bad but I believe I was not prepared.

    Some points to be noted.

    A) There was a small survey before the exam with questions like experience with SQL Server, proficiency in each section (very high, high, moderate, low) I chose moderate in all (just want to know if this affects the level of questions in exams).

    B) I bought the Training kit and practiced the questions in the Exam Prep. There were 200 questions, answered almost 70-80 then I had to stop as they were more or less same. This practice test was very simple and not a single question in the exam was even slightly close to practice set.

    C) Questions were very long and took time to read and understand the requirements. there were some words which i never came across during my prep.

    D) Not sure how the marking is done, for example in case of writing the code for a question, i wrote 2 requirements out of 4 and checked syntax which was correct, do i get 50% marks ?

    I am a computer science graduate working in finance field, I know I can do it with more focus and practice.

    Can someone suggest me good study material , videos, or any website where i can register for tutorials.

    I am appearing again in the third week of September.

    • Tom
      September 9, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      HI Amir,

      I sadly failed my first attempt of this exam on Monday. I do not believe the survey before the exam has any impact on the difficulty of questions that come up.

      It would be interesting to see which type of questions are worth more points than others. I purchased the trancender questions before hand to prepare, a big mistake. Questions were totally different and did not prepare me very well.

      I only got 40% which is not great, i need to go back to basics and relearn!

    • September 9, 2015 at 6:57 pm

      Sorry @Amir for getting back to you so late.

      Like my answer to @Tom, I would also suggest you to not to concentrate on Training kits and dumps. Rather get hold of a good book like the Training Kit mentioned above or “SQL Server 2012 Internals” book. Do as much hands on SQL queries as you can.

      Best of luck for your second shot !!!


  31. Prabhakar
    August 11, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    In the introduction page of the Training Kit it only few lesson of some specific chapters are mentioned.
    do i need to go the whole whole or only those lesson of respective chapters ?Please advise. Thanks.

    • August 11, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      The intro page is the minimal requirement to pass the exam. If you just want to pass the exam then it would be fine. But if you want to gain knowledge, then don’t just limit yourself to the index, a specific book. There are lot of books around, lot of SQL blogs, lot of online T-SQL forums, etc. Just explore them, prepare.

      Best of luck!

  32. July 27, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Hello Manoj Sir,
    Yesterday(26 july 2015) i have also Passed this exam.i have 10 month experience in Querying Microsoft SQL Server.now next step is 70-462 but i don’t have much idea about administrator can you please guide me how to prepare for this.should i take this exam asap or wait and gain some experience with it.

    • August 11, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      For 70-462 exam prepare well before giving the exam, as it would be very tricky as it will be scenario based on DBA activities.

  33. Sumant
    July 16, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    I have been working on sql server for more than 2.5 years and I am considering giving this exam. I have already got the book T-Sql fundamentals by iztik ben. I am also planning on buy 70-461 exam kit. what more do you think will be required to pass this exam ?.

    • July 16, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      @Sumant, as I’ve mentioned in my responses below, the kit-book will give you a fair idea of what will be asked in the exam. But you will have to practice and do a hands on with SQL queries on all topics to secure good marks and understand SQL Server programming.

      Check my responses below, and good luck for the exams.


  34. Neha
    June 29, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Hi Manoj,

    I am a application developer in a MNC with 2 yrs experience. I had worked in SQL. I wanted to ask that how should be the approach of studying for this exam. Book first and then dumps. or how it should be. How much focus on book and dumps. I ahve 2 months time to study. I have bought the Training Kit Book recommended on MSDN. But I could not find any dumps. ..Can you provide me the dumps for this Exam. 70-461..Hope to get your reply. Thanks in advance..

    • June 29, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      Forget Dumps, prepare for the exam if you really want to learn SQL & pass the exam. Go through various online study material and Training Kit book. Practice SQL queries and SQL Server fundamentals.

      LMK if you need any help.


  35. John SMith
    June 25, 2015 at 2:30 am

    Is the test simular to the Microsoft Press Practice Exam? It seems too easy.

    • June 25, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      It would be sufficient, but don’t limit yourself to just passing the exam. Explore few other resources, like books, msdn BoL, channel9 videos.

      Do, let me know if you need any help in learning materials.

  36. indrajith
    June 6, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    hi mate, could u please give me a link where i can get sample questions.

    • indrajith
      June 6, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      exam 70-461

  37. Dnyaneshwar
    June 6, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Hello Sir, now i am studying training kit of 70-461 exam and practicing according to that . is it enough for exam or do i study something else .. ?? and what about future scope of this exam in career ? thnx in advance

    • June 6, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      Yes the Training kit would be sufficient for passing 70-461 exam, considering you have also practiced with SQL queries. Otherwise just cramming the book won’t help.

      This exam could be a good start for your career, but don’t limit to the paper only, explore more and learn other things in SQL Server as well.

      • Dnyaneshwar
        June 6, 2015 at 4:59 pm

        Ok sir, thank you for your kind of information .

  38. priya
    June 3, 2015 at 12:08 am


    Is it enough to prepare Training Kit (Exam 70-461): Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012 this book or do I need to go through any other study material before appearing for this exam.


    • June 3, 2015 at 12:13 am

      Yes, the Training kit would be enough… but you should also have good hands on Queries and practicals covered in the book/exam. There is no use of cramming the book just to pass the exam.

      Do leave a comment/reply when you pass the exam.

      Best of luck!

  39. Janani
    May 23, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Hi Manoj
    I have completed 70- 462 exam. What title i can get for this. shall i put it as MCSA?

  40. Esha Prabhakar
    May 15, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Hi ,
    The information is so helpful! Thank you for writing.
    I’m a computer science student. Still I have very minimum knowledge on SQL because of bad profs I’ve got in my college. But I’m interested in learning SQL.
    How much time will it take for a beginner like me to prepare for the exam? Will it take more than a month considering I’m a slow learner?
    Is the exam standard very high?

    Please help!
    Thank you 🙂

    • May 15, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      Hi @Esha,
      Thanks for the appreciation.

      As you are interested in learning SQL, preparing for certification is a very good idea. The exam standard is not very high, but for a newcomer it would take around a month to get familiar and prepare for this exam. Check the books I’ve mentioned and you can buy the Training Kit, its worth purchasing. Do check the links I’ve provided in the post for various topics in all modules. To practice SQL queries you can download the free version of SQL Server Express from Microsoft site.

      Let me know whenever you need any help.


      • Esha Prabhakar
        May 15, 2015 at 2:34 pm

        Thank you so much for your quick response.

        Yeah I’ve downloaded the PDF of the book you have mentioned.
        Actually I’ll be leaving to US for Masters by July. I want to finish this exam by then. All I want to know is , how much preparation time do we need being a begginer ? Will 1 month suffice?


  41. megha
    May 8, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    ok..thanks a lot for your ans with explanation..

  42. megha
    May 8, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Below is the question from training kit , i think correct answer is D.But still confused,is book’s ans is correct?

    3. Which clause of the MERGE statement isn’t standard?
    A. The WHEN MATCHED clause
    B. The WHEN NOT MATCHED clause
    D. All MERGE clauses are standard.

    3. Correct Answer: C
    A. Incorrect: The WHEN MATCHED clause is standard.
    B. Incorrect: The WHEN NOT MATCHED clause is standard.
    C. Correct: The WHEN NOT MATCHED BY SOURCE clause isn’t standard.
    D. Incorrect: The WHEN NOT MATCHED BY SOURCE clause isn’t standard.

    • May 8, 2015 at 4:30 pm

      @megha, the correct answer is C only. Only A & B clauses are standards as per ANSI, C clause is an extension to these 2 clauses.

      • May 8, 2015 at 5:57 pm

        As per MS Book (T-SQL Querying, SQL Server 2014):

        The WHEN MATCHED and WHEN NOT MATCHED clauses are standard. But that’s where the standard stops. Microsoft reckoned that there’s a case that the standard doesn’t deal with but which might be important for you to deal with—when a target row is not matched by a source row. Such is the case in our sample data, with customers 1 and 4. So Microsoft introduced an extension to the standard in the form of a clause called WHEN NOT MATCHED BY SOURCE.

  43. Sachin
    May 5, 2015 at 8:38 am

    Reblogged this on .

  44. Lamia
    April 23, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    Hello! Thank you for your very useful blog! last year in December I tried to pass, but got only 350 of 700 passing score…now I am preparing with training kit!
    Manoj, I need an advice, in what language I must take examination? does it matter if I take it in English or in Russian? whether is it important for certification? please, tell me, if don’t then I will take it in Russian? =)

    • April 30, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      @Lamia, I think you should give exam in the language you are comfortable with.

      Like, my mother tongue is Hindi (Indian) but this exam is not in this language. And my second language is English and I was quite comfortable in giving the exam in english, and studying for the same.

      • Lamia
        April 30, 2015 at 3:54 pm

        thank you =) but that’s a pity =( liable languages for this examination is only
        “Languages: English, Chinese (Simplified), French, German, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil)”

      • April 30, 2015 at 4:12 pm

        So, I think english is the only option for you.

        But I don’t think this should be any problem to you, its simple english.

  45. swashbucklingknight
    April 12, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Reblogged this on forkingandglory.

  46. Icacmba
    April 3, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Thank you!! This blog has been super helpful and informative in preparing for the exam and tips & tricks for work! I still have 3 weeks to study, I feel confident following your guide. 😀

    • April 3, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      thanks @Icacmba… best of luck for the exam!!!

      and do let us know your experience 🙂

      • Icacmba
        April 22, 2015 at 5:22 am

        Took the exam today and passed!! 😀
        Next is 70-462

      • April 30, 2015 at 2:57 pm

        @Icacmba, congrats, and best of luck for 70-462

        Plz, share your experience here.

    • Lamia
      April 30, 2015 at 3:56 pm


  47. Harsh
    March 20, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    For any microsoft certification exam dumps kindly contact xyz@gmail.com

    • March 21, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      We do not encourage DUMPS here. Please do not try to SPAM this bog post by such comments.

  48. Tonia-Rex Chukwuyenum
    March 17, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    My name is Tonia-Rex chukwuyenum i wrote Querry microsoft sql server 2012 (70-461) exam on the 18th of November 2014. my Reg no. is z74lon5198, candidate no. cd1176381,score 700 and site number nk49k. please i will be happy if you could provide me a link to print my certificate.
    thanks as i look forward for your reply.
    Tonia-Rex Chukwuyenum

  49. Apurva
    March 10, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Thanks. Not sure if anyone asked this. I could not find above. Can you review questions at the end and go back and change the answers? And is time provided plenty to finish exam? Do you get time for reviewing?

    • March 11, 2015 at 12:20 pm

      yes @Apurva

      • Apurva
        March 17, 2015 at 7:11 pm

        I passed the test on March 10th! Thank you for your help!

  50. Apurva
    March 10, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Thanks for your reply. I was wondering if Amir had those because he took the exam recently. Some people said they didn’t get any. So was checking.

    • March 10, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      Not everybody gets same set of questions, its all random, and you may get 50 to 70 questions. And writing SQL queries is also confirmed, you may get or not.


    • Amir
      March 29, 2015 at 10:53 pm

      Hello, I’m sorry I haven’t replied earlier – I didn’t get the notification that someone replied to my post. If it’s not too late already, I just wanna let you know that I indeed had several questions including typing queries. But don’t worry, there was a spellcheck option and tasks weren’t too hard. Everything you need to know is listed in this blog.

      Good luck!

      • March 30, 2015 at 10:05 am

        thanks Amir for your comments & providing feedback to the group!!!

      • Apurva
        April 1, 2015 at 9:01 am

        No problem Amir. I had already passed on March 10th and I also had query typing questions,

      • Amir
        April 2, 2015 at 2:43 am

        Yeah, I noticed that too after i replied. Congratulations and sorry once more I wasn’t too helpful. Just a note to everyone else taking this exam soon: Make sure you know EVERYTHING being discussed in this article, watch this video https://youtu.be/Kp3dS-T16x4?list=PLahhVEj9XNTct1VslZ_LhNSI8F5_8Ikve and I’m sure you’ll pass. At first this video doesn’t look too helpful, however it does have a couple of great tips for this exam (I know it helped me get 3 questions on the exam right).

        Good luck to everyone!

  51. Amir
    February 6, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    I’ve passed the exam today, even though it was pretty tricky. Thank you Mr Pandey, you’ve been of great help!

    • Apurva
      March 9, 2015 at 10:37 am

      Did you have any questions where you had to write queries?

      • March 9, 2015 at 12:14 pm

        yes Apurva, there may or may not be questions where you will need to write SQL queries.

  52. DM
    February 5, 2015 at 9:57 pm


    I have recently passed the 98-364 exam database fundamentals and i am considering taking the 70-461 exam. Are their any good free study materials that will help me revise. I am currently working as a Junior DBA and any help would be appreciated

  53. Praveen Agrawal
    February 2, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    Hi manoj,

    can you send me some materials to me on p.agrawal@gmail.com for 70-641 course. Thanks!

  54. February 2, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Hello Sir,
    1st of all Thank you .. Your blog is one of those blogs which really helped me a lot while studying SQl Server! The posts were very illustrative . Thank you very much . Infact I got to know about the Microsoft 70-461 exam through this blog itself .
    I just gave the exam and passed it with 914 score.. They gave me my test score card. I wanna ask is that it ? I mean is there any more certificate which I am gonna get via email ? Please Reply soon …

    • February 2, 2015 at 2:24 pm

      Congratulations @Lyns, on passing exam with v-good scores. You will get an email and by that you should be able to login into the site and download your certificate PDF.


      • February 13, 2015 at 12:18 pm

        I have still not got any certificate from Microsoft.. I am starting to worry now ..

  55. emersonerd
    January 1, 2015 at 6:53 am

    I followed your study guide a passed the 461 exam today with a score of 828. Thank you for sharing your experience and breaking down the topics into such a succinct and helpful manner.

    • February 2, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      congratulations @emersonerd, for passing with flying colors 🙂

  56. surendar
    December 6, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Could you please let me know.. after writting exam, How can we find marks we have scored in the exam? Is there any site for this available or they will tell the marks there it self

    • February 2, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      You will know the result immediately in the prometric center where you will give exam.


  57. Pavan
    November 2, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Hello Manoj,

    I am thinking to give 70-461. While going through Microsoft Learning, I got to know that it has a long list. Also some topics have huge subtopics. Do we really need in depth knowledge like exact query to view the definition of table (or) how to create fileTable with all details is needed? or Just knowledge how it works is enough?


    • February 2, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      Pavan, Sorry for replying so late.
      Well, I think you should ask this question to yourself, weather you are passionate about SQL or not. Even after going indepth there is lot to know in SQL Server space. So do you want to limit yourself to this exam?

      But yes, if you go through all the topics covered in the kit-book and practice them you will pass it.

      All the best!!!


  58. September 23, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    i passed 70-461 exam..but i dont know its an mcp or mcsa..can i use any logos in my resume??

    • September 24, 2014 at 9:50 am

      Hi Hari, first of all congratulations on passing the exam.

      As you’ve passed first exam, so you earn the MCP title. After passing all 3 exams (70-461/2/3) you will earn the MCSA title.

      You might have got an email (or will) from Microsoft, with the MSDN link where you can view your Certification details, also download your certificate,and can use the logo that I’ve used on my blog home page.


  59. September 17, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Hello Manoj –

    Thank you for all your advise and direction you are blessing us with on this site. I have a question myself.

    I am a bachelors degree holder in Computer Software Engineering. My work background is Desktop Support (IT). I want to upgrade my skills – So, I picked up MS SQL 2012. I am currently studying for the 70-461 exam ( for about 3 weeks now). And I look to write the exam by November 1.
    I am doing a lot of hands-on practicals and labs – as you advised. But, HOW do I dive into the SQL DBA Job market Please? Any advise for me/us please? Any resources?

    Thank you for all you do Manoj ~

  60. megha
    September 15, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Hi , i want to give exam 70461 , i have read training kit exam 70-461. I have exp of 4 years in sql server.Is it necessary to go through practice test like measureup or any other? As most of people are saying training kit test are easier then actual exam.

    • September 15, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      Hi Megha,

      The training kit would be enough for you to take the exam, but you should also do lot of hands on with practice on TSQL queries on all topics. Then you would not need any other material for prep.

      Best of luck for the exam.


  61. Maymuna Ali
    September 7, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    I read all ur comment block it’s very helpful, thx for important information.
    I did my mcsd course in 2010 but not able to appear in certification exam, I worked with sql-server 2008 and VB6 (developed software for automobile n payroll) , now I want to go for certification, kindly guide me .

    • September 15, 2014 at 1:03 pm

      Hi @Ali, thanks for your comments and appreciate that you like this post & comments were helpful to you.

      Now as 2012 Certification exams are already available since last 2 yrs, you can take them, starting with 70-461, after this you can take 70-462/3 as per your preference, though there is no sequence, you can give these 3 exams in any order.

      Let me know if you want any help.


  62. August 21, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    i m working on sql server dba and i want to do certification but i m confusion on code like 70-462 etc and 70-64 can u expln wts dis And which one i have to take

    • August 22, 2014 at 9:55 am

      Hi Rafi,

      461 is for TSQL, i.e. Programming with SQL
      462 is for DBA i.e. you are working on
      463 is for DW/BI, which involves DatawareHouse, Marts, Cube & SSIS

      Let me know if you need more information on this.


  63. Sachin
    August 18, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Hi Manoj,
    I passed my 70-561 yesterday with great passing score. Yours blog was the first thing that I saw on 70-461. It have put may things in simplified form which made me belive that I can pass this exam easilly.
    I read the book training kit for 70-461 twice, I practised a lot to write queries and read many blogs on internet on various topics to gain the knowledge.
    It took be about 45 days (daily 2-3 hours) to prepare for this exam.

    Thanks again

    • August 18, 2014 at 5:09 pm

      Hi Sachin,
      Congratulations on passing the exam, really appreciate the hard you’d put in studying and practicing for the exams. I really liked that my blog post on 70-461 was helpful for you 🙂

      Good luck for next exams in near future!!!


  64. GOURAV
    August 5, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Hello Manoj

    Thanks for Sharing all the info about certification.

    I am MSBI Developer.

    Suppose if I want to pursue certification for BI 70-463 (MCSE Level) then shall i need to clear out first 70-461 (MCSA) or shall i directly attempt 70-463 which is more relevant to me.

    Please advice


    • August 5, 2014 at 8:03 pm

      @GOURAV, no you can directly take 70-463 exam, no need to take 461/462


  65. Simar
    July 10, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Awesome..Thanks a lot for the quick response!

  66. Simar
    July 10, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Hey Manoj, thanks for lot of informative links, it really gave me a kick start. Just wanted to check, i want to practice SQL queries at home. How can i do that? Which DB to download and install.
    Thanks in advance!

  67. Tin
    July 5, 2014 at 12:31 am

    actually really surprised ppl got questions for writing their own query. Passed mine Jan 2014 and was informed that in the new edition of the exam there were minimal query-composing questions. Anyway, good job for ppl who got those questions and passed but felt extremely sorry for my friend to whom I told about the no-query-writing-question policy which led to him failing the exam because he got about 10 of those questions………………..

  68. Arpita
    July 2, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Hello Manoj,

    Your blog is too good, it is a guide for all those who are interested in giving Certification.
    Am planning to give 70-461 exam but am bit confused whether we need to give 2012 or 2014 exam? Please Manoj let me know what exam will be good 2012 or 2014

    Thanks a lot for the blog !!

    • July 3, 2014 at 10:30 am

      Hi Arpita, thanks for your comments and that you liked my blog.

      Exam code 70-461 is for SQL Server 2012 only, and for 2014 Microsoft has not yet released the exams, and there is no date communicated yet. Right now you can appear for 2012, and later on you can simply upgrade to 2014.

      As soon as I’ll know about this I’ll post it on this blog, stay tuned.


  69. padma
    May 28, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Thanks for your blog. I passed 70-461 exam today. Your articles were very helpful in passing the exam.

    • Daryl
      May 28, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      Hello Padma, congratulations. please I am actually prepared to take this exam but I do not knoew how I can schedule for it. pleas can someone help me out with the possibilities to schedule and take this exams. I will be very greatfull.

  70. Poonam
    May 14, 2014 at 4:43 am

    I recently passed 70-461 exam with 737 score. I am quite happy with the score considering the fact that I have just few months of experience with SQL Server. I just studied the training kit for about 4-5 months and practiced by creating a database on Evaluation copy of SQL Server 2012. The exam was quite hard and different with what given in Training kit simulated exam. You need to have a thorough understanding of ranking functions along with grouping function and for XML. A good link for XML is mentioned below:


    I had just referred this link for XML queries and its quite informative. All the best! 🙂

    • Daryl
      May 18, 2014 at 3:03 am

      Hello Pooman, congrats. Thanks very much for the feedback and the link. it was very helpful to me. I am currently preparing for this exam to the take it in about 1 week time.

  71. Mesfin
    May 1, 2014 at 5:23 am

    Hi Manoj. My Name is Mesfin. I am new to SQL SERVER & I want to take exam 70-461 but I am worried from where I can start preparing. How many days it will take for the new learners to pass the exam? I am quick learner. Please I need advice.

  72. Daryl
    April 26, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Hello guys good day. In preparation for this exams, i have gone through the training kit text book and and Training kit exam prep. i wish to ask anybody who has gone in for this exam if this material can be enough preparation for the exam?
    I also wish to know the differences and similarities between the exams and the Training kit exam prep. Thanks in advance for your responce

    • April 27, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      @Daryl, yes the material available online and Training kit is enough and sufficient for this exam.

  73. Ramraj
    April 17, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Thanks manoj, I’ve started my preparation with this info.Will update as soon as i take up the exam

    • April 27, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      best of luck @Ramraj

  74. April 16, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Hi Manoj
    First up thanks for such a helpful archive.
    I am new to SQL server. I want to change my career path to sql server dba hopefully.
    As you know sql server 2014 is already out. I have materials from sql server 2012. Are they sufficient to cover the exam? Because query part should be the same for both right?

    • April 27, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      Hi @Muktadir,

      Most of the topics would be same in 2012 & 2014, but I would advice you to go thru the 2014 material only.

  75. Daryl
    April 10, 2014 at 5:35 am

    Hello guys, I wish to ask if the multiple choice questions found in the Training Kit can really help one pass this exam.

    • April 10, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      They are not the same questions, but I think that most of them will be helpful.

  76. April 3, 2014 at 11:58 am

    In section “–> Troubleshoot & Optimize | 25%”, “- Query Hints (OPTION (OPTIMIZED FOR … [UNKNOWN]))” should be “- Query Hints (OPTION (OPTIMIZE FOR … [UNKNOWN]))”

    there is no “D” in OPTIMIZE clause 🙂

  77. Prakash
    March 31, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Nice blog Manoj,

    Keep the good work……..

  78. Sagar
    March 31, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Hi Manoj,

    Please let me know the procedure to apply for 70-461 exam second shot.

  79. March 27, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Any thoughts about “code non regression” ? This is listed in the 70-461 subject list

  80. kailas satpute
    March 26, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Hi manoj
    can you send me some materials to me on satpute.kailas@gmail.com for 70-641 course.

  81. Poonam
    March 13, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Hi Manoj! Could you please throw some light on the difficulty level on the ‘Optimizing SQL Queries’ part of the exam 70-461?How hard are the questions for this subset of the exam? I have enough of experience working on SQL queries. But, I have nil experience in optimizing SQL queries and having difficulty preparing for the same. Thanks in advance!

    • March 13, 2014 at 10:23 am

      Difficulty level depends upon your experience, for a novice it would be high. But as you mentioned you have fare knowledge of TSQL queries, it would be moderate for you. The Optimize module weightage is 24%, and with a little prep you can pass the exam. To score cent-percent you should have good knowledge in all modules. You just need to do lot of hands on and go through all the topics, not missing anything.

      Best of luck.


      • Poonam
        March 14, 2014 at 11:10 am

        Thanks for the quick reply, Manoj! I am trying my best to do demo practice on Optimization module too. But, I just don’t know what kind of questions are asked for this module. For example, if they ask what execution plan iterator will be used for a specific query. I am scared I wouldn’t be able to answer these kind of question correctly. I have been passing the simulated exam with above 90% given in the Training Kit of Exam 70-461…but I am not sure if these simulated exam are at par with real exam.

        Anyways, Thanks!

  82. February 19, 2014 at 2:54 am

    Hey, Manoj thanks for the detailed information about the test format. I hear different things from trainers regarding what I should focus on for this test…a lot of it is conflicting. Nice to have the particulars from someone who actually took the test.

    • February 19, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Thanks @De-Dragon for your comments.

      Yes, you are correct, trainers would say these things because they want you to get trained by them. But the best source to get correct information is always the MSDN/Technet forums. And I’ve collated all information from there only with my own experience after giving the exam.


  83. Guy
    February 12, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    Hey Manoj, I’m Guy.
    I took my exam 70-461 last week and I failed. I used the training kit “Querying SQL server 2012” and some others books, but apparently it was not enough. So I would like to have some advices . I just read here that people used in addition to the training kit, the transcender’s practice exam simulator, the measure-up and you said that we don’t have to rely on dumps in order to succeed.
    How do I work with the training kit? do I buy the extra resources? what about the dumps? do I need to pay the same amount in order to retake the exam?
    Thank you already for advices,

    • February 13, 2014 at 10:14 am

      Hi @Guy, sometimes when you are not familiar with SQL at all and have no prior experience with basics, then just reading training kit won’t help. You will have to do a lot of hands on, exercises, work with realtime scenarios and really delve in TSQL coding.

      I would not suggest you to go through any other training or practice exams or dumps. Now you’ve given the exam ad know what they ask, prepare from beginning and follow what I said above. Go thru all the links I’ve provided above, and do lot of coding for each topic you read. You will definitely pass this time.

      All the best.


  84. February 12, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    For 70-461 you can start with Book no 1, 2 or 5. Books 3 & 4 are for 70-462 Cert.
    But if you have training_kit_exam_70_461 book then it would be the best to crack the exam.

  85. Abhishek
    February 12, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Hi Manoj ,

    Which Version of sql server i have to select for exam ? (2012 or 2014.) . I have started preparation from this month.

    From which book i have to start reading.? bcz i have three to four books ..so confused from where to start !!

    • February 12, 2014 at 11:55 am

      Go with 2012, what all books do you have?

      • Abhishek
        February 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm

        Thanks for your reply . i have a books listed bellow.

        1) beginning_microsoft_sql_server_2012_programming
        2) microsoft_sql_server_2012_step_by_step
        3) professional_microsoft_sql_server_2012_administration
        4) training_kit_exam_70_462_administering_microsoft_sql_server_2012_databases
        5) introducing_microsoft_sql_server_2012

  86. Sumit kumar
    February 2, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    thanks manoj.. my 2nd cumment here. really helpful post.. passed in second shot wid 756..

    • February 3, 2014 at 10:53 am

      This is gr8 Sumit… congratulation on earning the certification… and best of luck for next ones.


  87. Shaik Feroz
    February 1, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Hi guys, I don’t have any working experience on SQL. Can I clear exam with Training Kit.
    what is the cost of training kit for 461, could you please suggest.

  88. Patrick
    February 1, 2014 at 4:12 am

    Hi Manoj,

    I’ve only been using SQL Server 2012 for 5 months and passed the test with a 793 today. I used your advice on here coupled with the 70-461 Training Kit Book. Thanks for the insight!


    • February 3, 2014 at 10:57 am

      This is good passing mark @Patrick… way to go for next level of certifications… all the best.


  89. RADL
    January 16, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Hello Manoj – I would just like to drop you a note to say thank you for this very helpful post. I passed my 70-461 exam just today 🙂 Wish you all the best!

    • January 16, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      Thanks @RADL !!!

      and congratulation on passing this exam, best wishes for your next certifications and career.

      ~manoj 🙂

    • draj
      January 26, 2014 at 11:44 am

      Hello @RADL,
      I had a question regarding the exam. Did you get any question where you had to write the code

      • February 3, 2014 at 10:58 am

        Yes @draj, there might be 4-5 questions where you will have to write SQL queries.


      • Zdenek
        February 3, 2014 at 8:00 pm

        I was sitting this exam on 31st Jan and no questions with writing the code.
        I also attended training course recommended for this exam and we have been told that they take off all questions with writing the code.
        I would like to take this opportunity to thank Manoj for this website, I found it quite helpful while preparing for the exam(pass 887)


      • February 4, 2014 at 10:26 am

        thanks @Zdenek, congratulation on passing with excellent marks… few of my friends who took this exam also did get code to write, but some get like me.

        So, all the best for your next certifications in the path.


  90. Sumit kumar
    January 15, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Hello manoj , i have to take this before 31st.. can you send me some materials to me sumitkum383@gmail.com specially the 70 461 training kit book in pdf.. i am not getting it , i know SQL and i will prepare thouroughy from now. i guess 15 days is ok .

    • January 15, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      Hi Sumit, The eBook in PDF you can get it from the book CD itself and you will have to purchase it, its illegal to pass/multiply the eBook soft copy. Sorry, but you can also prep from the item list I’ve provided above with links to read from msdn/this blog.


  91. January 12, 2014 at 12:47 am

    hello manoj , hope ur doing well.. i m currently a 3rd year student frm chennai
    This month i.e on 26th jan .. i am planning to give my 70-461 exam.. meanwhile i’ve a doubt .. that whether this certification wil really help me to boost up in my career ??
    like does this certification keep me apart frm a normal student during placements ???

    • January 12, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      Yes, Prashanth,
      Doing certification not only boost up your career, but your self confidence. Certifications helps you to give yourself a different identity among others. Go ahead to clear up your exam and good luck.

  92. Sandhya
    January 9, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    Is there a prerequisite for this MCSA?

  93. Pulkit
    January 9, 2014 at 12:29 am

    Hi Manoj,

    My name is Pulkit and I am working as Software Tester from past 4 Years. Can I also appear for exam 70-461 querying microsoft sql server 2012 ?

  94. December 26, 2013 at 8:51 pm


    I am planning to get certified. Is this book good enough:http://www.amazon.com/Training-Kit-Exam-70-461-Microsoft/dp/0735666059?tag=651998669-20 I donot want to be using too many references

    • January 9, 2014 at 10:46 am

      Yes Vineeth,
      The book is good and will be enough to crack the exam passing mark of 700, but to get top score you will have to do some hands-on also.


  95. December 19, 2013 at 10:45 am

    No, there will be no questions on DMO or any other admin related questions.

    As the title’s name the exam is totally based upon TSQL querying and Performance Optimization. More focus will be on TSQL 2012 new features. For details what will be asked in exam check my post above.

  96. mo_84_van
    December 17, 2013 at 5:35 am


    Can anyone please tell me whether there are any questions on DMO and whether you need to know the different ones? also how in depth will it go into optimization and what typical question should I expect for optimization?

    Thanks you in advance so muchhhh! 🙂

  97. vinoth
    December 6, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Thank you Sir.

  98. vinoth
    December 5, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Hi Readers,
    I would like to Write SQL Certification Exam (Microsoft SQL Server 2012 ) can i know the COST of this Exam. As per Indian Rs?????????????

  99. Edison Oliveira
    November 18, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Hi, Manoj!

    I’m from Brazil and I have made the exam in the last friday, november 15. I follow your script, and read the book “Training Kit”. After this, I have practiced a lot with the Transcender’s simulations and tests. My score was 902.

  100. November 12, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Hi @Vishwanath, I didn’t made any payment as these exams are free for MS FTEs. Will check and let you now.

    • Srikanth M
      November 12, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      Hi Viswanath, I paid the money in the same way.
      We can use any of our CreditCards to pay the money and the respective bank will convert the money into USD.

  101. November 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Hi Manoj,

    I’m from b’lore India, i need to give this exam 70-461, I’ve registered on prometric site, but it’s asking me to pay in USD currency, is this the same way you made the payment.

  102. David
    November 7, 2013 at 3:14 am

    Goodday good people,
    I have a few questions , Do you know the result immediately after the exam, Anyone know how the scoring is done 45-55 questions 1000 ???

    • November 7, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      Yes, you will know the result of the exam immediately and receive a hardcopy with the seal of the prometric center on it.

  103. Mike
    October 4, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Thanks a lot, again!

  104. Mike
    October 4, 2013 at 10:46 am

    First of all thank for the quick responce! Yes it answers my second question.
    Do you have any idea about the first one? I’ll give some additional examples:
    I can put parentheses after RETURN when I create an inline table-function, but it’ll work fine without them, I can use alias or real column name in order by, I can use Max() function in inner join select instead of main select, my point is that if there is more than one exact way to write a query(even after following all their requirements) is the correct result of the query will by checked or the specific code?

    • October 4, 2013 at 11:17 am

      For your first question, I can’t confirm on this. As when I appeared for this exam, I just wrote the SQL Queries, used column alias also like you mentioned, and validated the syntax and submitted the answers. I think whatever query you write, they might generating the output of the query & validating this against their own o/p, provided your query syntax is correct. Just what I think, but I’m not sure.

  105. Mike
    October 3, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Hello I have a question about typing code questions in 70-461 exam.
    Is there only one possible way to answer those questions right?
    For example if I wrote alias to sum() function in query or wrote column names without table name?
    Another question is there would be any mark that my query at least has right spelling?
    Thanks in advance!

    • October 3, 2013 at 9:22 pm

      Yes, there will some questions where you will have to write queries, and there is a syntax checker button to validate you’ve written correct query. I hope this answers your question.

  106. Fahim
    August 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Nice Inormation keep up the good work

  107. kesav
    August 2, 2013 at 12:16 am

    Hi Manoj,

    Thanks for sharing data with all of us ,I am planning to write 70-461 Exam ,Can you please explain me how to schedule the exam means how to pay the exam fee and how many attempts for one time payment..Is there anytime period to write the exam after paid the exam fee.

    • August 2, 2013 at 10:38 am

      Hi Kesav,

      You can contact any nearest prometric center at your location. There you will get all the details about the exam schedule and mode of payment.

      You will get a voucher, which is valid for some months, and there is only one attempt for each voucher. But sometimes Microsoft comes up with some deals like free retake of exams, but very often.

      Best of luck!!!


  108. Neha
    July 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Hi Manoj,

    I appreciate your quick reply. Could you please suggest me in context to following:

    I am majorly working into SQL Server Reporting Services 2005/2008 with SQL Server 2005/2008 as back-end. Also, working on Integeration Services and Analysis Services.

    As I explained you above that am planning for a certification.
    Actually, I would like to do a certification in Business Intelligence; could you please guide me what all necessary exams I would require to take in order to get BI Certification?

    Also, what should be the sequence of exams?

    Thank you very much!


    • July 30, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      Hi Neha,

      For BI certification you need to give 70-463 only, which is “Implementing a Data Warehouse with MS SQL Server 2012”. There is no sequence, you can give any exam in any order. You can give 70-461 & 70-462 later on. All 3 exams will award you MCSA.

      To take MCSE in BI, you will need to give 70-466 & 70-467. For these 2 exams above 3 MCSA exams are prerequisites.


  109. Neha
    July 30, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Hi Manoj,
    I am a SQL developer. I have good 3-4 years of experience working with SQL Server 2005/2008. I am planning to take certification exam (Exam 70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server) now. My question is can I take an exam on SQL Server 2008 rather than SQL Server 2012?
    And how much time would it take to prepare for this exam if you have a good experience working on it?


    • July 30, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      Hi Neha,

      SQL 2008 is old now and obsolete compared to 2012, and also SQL 2014 is going to release in next year, so go with SQL 2012 certification only. Its simpler 2008 and is fun to learn the new features. Check my blog and prep on the topics I’ve mentioned above.

      All the best!!!


  110. Nikki
    July 10, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Is it worth buying dumps to prepare for these exams?


    • July 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      Do NOT rely on DUMPS. This will defeat the purpose of taking certifications and knowing your self-worth.

      Study books, online blogs, MSDN and practice. You will definitely pass.

  111. Ramu
    July 8, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    apart from Microsoft

  112. Ramu
    July 8, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Hi Manoj,

    I am also planning to write 70-461 exam can you please suggest any book for exam.

    Parashuramu .F

  113. Srikanth M
    June 17, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Hello Manoj,
    How are you doing?

    I need some info about getting the certificate after passing the 70461 exam.
    I recieved a mail from Microsoft with MCID and other details to access the MCP site.

    But I need to know whether we will get any hard copy from Microsoft for passing the exam.
    Can you please let me know the process of getting the certificate?

    Thanks in advance..!

    Srikanth M

    • June 24, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      No Srikanth, they have stopped sending hard copies now.
      You can download the PDFs from the site, and can get them printed.

  114. Anusha
    June 16, 2013 at 4:04 am

    Thanks everyone for the updates here… I have been looking for such info since long time…

    Srikanth, Congratulations firstly, have 2 questions for u.
    1. u mentioned that the 70-461 exam cost is 80USD, but it shows 150USD in prometric… Did u use any coupon? Just wanted myself to be on the right window 🙂

    2. What was the passing % for u? Is it the same for all 700/1000?

    Manoj, are u really sure that we can skip an exam and directly go to 70-463 after 70-461, because when I spoke to one of the customer care executives of Microsoft they said we should take the certifications in sequence…

    Also, do anyone have any dumps available for this exam… I’m planning to give this exam on 28th June.. If anyone can share that would be of real help for me…

    Thanks everyone in advance…


    • Anusha
      June 16, 2013 at 4:36 am

      Srikanth got an answer for the first question myself 🙂 It is 80USD in India and 150USD in US… Thanks

    • Srikanth
      June 24, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      Hello Anusha,

      The pass percentage was 70% for me i.e., 700/1000.
      Yes,it would be the same for everyone even though the number of questions change.

      Wish you all the best for ur exam..


    • June 24, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      Hi Anusha, Yes, you can give the 3 exams in any order. You don’t need to give 461 in order to pass just 463 or 462.

      Please don’t look for any dumps, study and prepare well yourself for the exams, they are not very tough. Otherwise it will defeat the purpose of certifications and your self-belief.

  115. Gaurav Saxena
    June 14, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    How to enroll for this exam and what is the cost for enrollment ( in india ) ??

    • Srikanth
      June 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm

      Hello Gaurav,
      You need to register yourself at Prometric (https://www.register.prometric.com/Login.asp ).
      Once you are successfully registered then you need to login and schedule your exam as per your convenience.
      The cost for this exam (70461) is 80USD.

      Wish you all the best..!!!


  116. June 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Yes, you can jump to 463 directly, there is no specific order to give exams. You can also start with 462/463… its just a matter of preference and expertise.

    • Srikanth
      June 11, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      Ok, Thank You Manoj..!

  117. Srikanth M
    June 10, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Hello Manoj,
    Today I have passed the 70-461 exam with all the support and guidance u gave here.
    Thanks a lot , i expect this to continue with you ahead in future.

    Srikanth M

    • June 10, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      that’s gr8 news Srikanth 🙂

      … congratulations on passing the exam!!!

      • Srikanth
        June 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm

        Thank You Manoj,
        I have one quick qsn,
        As i wrote 70461 and passed it, now can i jump to 70463 (BI) and then write 70462 , or should we go in order given by Microsoft?

        Thanks in advance..!

  118. Matt Simpson
    June 6, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Hi there, just wanted to thank you for your post as it was the single most useful resource I found for the exam. For info to others REALLY go deep on things like ranking functions and FOR XML. The press kit exams and measure up exams arent enough, get out your TSQL and I used a DB I had already been working with and practiced a lot.

  119. Dirk Fabricius
    May 4, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Hi Narda, I’d say I’ve average knowledge regarding SQL Server. Of the topics microsoft listed maybe 15% were completely new to me. I learned for 1 and 1/2 months (parallel to work – min 30 minutes per day and on the weekends maybe 5 full days total) and now think I’m ready for the exam.

    • Narda
      May 9, 2013 at 1:51 am

      Hi Dirk, Go luck on the exam, keep us posted and thank you for the information.

      • June 6, 2013 at 7:27 pm

        Passed with 925. No questions where I had to write code (those I was afraid of, because I feared a simple forgotten “;” would strip me of all the Points). I strongly recommend studying and trying out ALL there is to “FOR XML” also. The questions aren’t really evenly distributed among the study material and not everything was answered in there – I’m thinking of “merge”.

    • Narda
      June 20, 2013 at 1:26 am

      Congrats again Dirk, wow I started studying and fell off track, can you share some of your studying materials? What material did you you to study.. I need to get back my motivation.

  120. Narda
    April 29, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    Hello, Thank you so much for the information you have posted, I really need to get my certification. I am a SQL Novice and would like to make a career change. I want to schedule the exam first for motivation to study the material. How much time do you recommend I give myself to study?

    Thank in advance,


    • May 4, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      Narda, sorry for getting late to you on this.

      Well, what all Dirk mentioned below, you can go with it.

      To add, do not think to skip any of the topic and at least try to prep with practical SQL queries and hands-on.

      all the best!!!

  121. Srikanth
    April 29, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Hello Manoj, As u said that we have 54 questions in the exam, Is that same for everyone or will it change?
    And the pass mark u mentioned is 700 at one place and 750 in the above comment, Can u plz confirm the pass mark?

    Thanks in advance

    • April 29, 2013 at 9:44 pm

      No Srikanth, the number of questions can vary. I got 54 questions and 3 hrs to finish. Some of my friends got the same, but some got lesser questions with less time, like 40 questions in 2.5 hrs.

      Sorry, for the confusion, the correct passing mark is 700. I’ll update my comment above. Thanks for pointing it out.

      Thanks for reading my blog 🙂

      • Srikanth
        April 30, 2013 at 5:26 pm

        Thank You Manoj for the confirmation..
        What I understand finally is the maximum number of questions will be 54
        I scheduled my exam on May 2nd and hope I ll get through it with all the information you gave which helped me a lot.


      • tapir
        February 22, 2014 at 12:02 am

        180 min / 54 = 3 min 20 sec
        150 min / 40 = 3 min 45 sec

        Time for one question can’t vary – can you please tell us true info?

  122. Simon
    April 22, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Is it just pass/fail, or different grades of pass?

    • April 22, 2013 at 10:08 am

      Yes, it is just Pass/Fail.
      Passing mark is 750 700 out of 1000.

  123. Sagar
    January 30, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    could you please elaborate more on the subjective question. would we be asked to open SQL Server Management Studio with a database and write queries to fetch data according to the requirement in the question?
    Thank you.

    • January 30, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      Hi Sagar,

      There will be no any SSMS client, but yes its a multiline text box where you’ve to write SQL code. It’s like writing code in plain-text notepad.

      But yes there is a button to verify if the syntax is correct for the SQL you’ve written. And you cannot verify the SQL query results.

  124. SDubs
    January 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Hi, i’m not sure I understand what you mean by objective type? 5-10 choices sounds like multiple choice to me. Can you explain further, thank you

    • January 8, 2013 at 11:22 am

      As I said earlier, with both Objective & Multiple choice you get multiple choices as answers, difference is with first you’ve to select just one, with later you can select multiple answers. For Objective responses you get radio buttons, so you cannot select more than one. With Multiple Choice you get check-boxes, so you can select more than one.
      Check following link for more info: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090805235905AA6Kztf

  125. December 22, 2012 at 1:19 am

    When you say that most of the questions were “Objective type” what does that mean. Could you elaborate please.


    • January 2, 2013 at 11:40 am

      Objective Type means, you will get 5-10 choices and you’ve to select 1 correct answer. So, most the questions in my paper were of this type. Few were Multiple choice and Subjective type.

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