Microsoft MCSA 70-461 Exam: Tips & Tricks

Recently, Microsoft has overhauled its certification paths for some of its products. The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate, popularly referred to as MCSA, is one of the newer Microsoft credentials. This certification is the minimum level of certificates for Microsoft relational database solutions. After obtaining the MCSA, the candidate can go ahead to earn the MCSE(Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) certification.

The Microsoft 70-461 examination is one of the three certification exams that a candidate must pass to become a MCSA certified specialist. The 70-461 certification test focuses on the certification course Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014. The other two exams that should be passed to earn the certification are Microsoft 70-462 (AdministeringMicrosoftSQL Server 2012/2014 Databases), and Microsoft 70-463 (Implementing a Data Warehouse withMicrosoftSQL Server 2012/2014). At the completion of these tests, the candidate will be awarded the MCSA: Microsoft SQL Server 2012. The MCSA certification is designed to show that an individualhas the relevant qualifications needed to hold a position as a Database Analyst or a Database Developer.

The three examinations for the MCSA credential require adequate study and preparation before embarking on any of them. So, what doyou need to pass these exams? What resource materials do you need to study and learn to write the test? All these are some of the questions that need probing before you schedule your exam. You need to be well prepared and ready before you attempt to write these certification examinations. As mentioned earlier, the Microsoft 70-461 exam is the first step towards achieving the MCSA status. In this article, we will look at the specific skills that will be measured in this test, as well as their associated question weights. Finally, we will look at several methods of preparation that will help you in getting ready for your Microsoft examination.

Microsoft 70-461 Exam: General Overview

The two major areas that are covered under the Microsoft 70-461 certification examination are Troubleshooting and Optimization, and Working with Data. Based on the information from the Microsoft certification page, Troubleshooting and Optimization questions covers about 25% of the total questions. Working with Data on the other hand covers about 27%. The other two areas, Modifying Data, and Creating Database Objects carry equal weight which represents about 24% of exam total.

Microsoft 70-461 Exam: Measured Skills

In the area of Troubleshooting and Optimization, the candidates will be tested on how to optimize queries, use TRY/CATCH, manage transaction, and manage other error handling approaches. The applicants will also be tested on their ability to appraise set-based and row- based operations and their main differences.

In the section of Working with Data, the individuals will be evaluated on their ability to query data with the use of SELECT statements. This includes simple SELECT statements against single table, to complex SELECT statement utilizing any kind of sub-queries, JOIN, aggregate functions, XML, Common Table Expressions, and the different types of available data.

In the section focusing on Creating Database Objects, the candidates are required to understand the process of creating and altering views, tables, triggers, and constraints, using T-SQL. It is important that one knows how to design view, its benefits, and when to use a regular view vs. indexed view.

The section on Modifying Data will evaluate the applicants’ ability to create and alter Stored Procedures, using DELETE, INSERT, and UPDATE commands. They will also be tested on their ability to work with different kinds of functions, such as Table Valued Functions, Scalar Functions, and UDFs, to mention a few.

In addition to this, the candidates will also be evaluated on combining datasets and their knowledge level about the difference between UNION ALL and UNION will also be tested. It is important to mention that in all thesesections, the major areas are the new features of Microsoft product. It is therefore important that the individuals study the 2012 commands and functions, and know how to operate them. Rest assured that there will be some questions on these topics.

Microsoft 70-461 Exam: Examination Preparation

There are different options of preparation that are open for the candidates. However, the best option to get ready for the Microsoft MCSA 70-461 exam dumps is to have hands-on experience with the product under review. You can download an evaluation copy of the Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and study all the topics. There are also many online resources that you can explore in your self- preparation. You can also access tutorials and course materials online that offer you numerous practice tests. In case you have the financial resources and the required time, you can also invest in taking classes with any of the accredited Microsoft Training Partners. You can also go the extra mile and use self-study method. If you know you don’t have the discipline to study alone, you might want to get some of your peers preparing for the same test on board, so that you can study together. There are also numerous online training programs, videos, and books that you can explore, even for free.

Microsoft 70-461 Exam: Engage in Regular Practice

This is very crucial to your preparation process. Irrespective of how hard you study, if you do not take out time to practice what you have learnt, there is no way you can know the extent of your assimilation and knowledge level. It is very important that you take practice test as you continue in your study. Go online and search for sites that offer practice questions. You might want to check the free options of practice test available and ensure you put in your best in giving the best correct answers to the questions. Handle the practice test as if you are in the real exam setting and give it all you have got. Check your scores and reviews areas you get wrong to be better equipped in answering them. Taking a practice test will help you know your weak areas, so that you can focus on them and be able to perform better in subsequent practice.


If you are able to invest enough preparation, knowledge and practice in your Microsoft 70- 461 certification examination, you should be confident to sit for the exam and pass it excellently well. Remember, it takes a preparation to achieve success. So, give your exam all you have got and believe in your success.