70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014

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.

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Microsoft 70-461 Exam Summary:

Exam Name Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014
Exam Code  70-461
Exam Duration  120 minutes 
Exam Questions  40-60 
Passing Score  700 out of 1000 
Exam Price  $165 (USD) 
Books  20461C: Querying Microsoft SQL Server (five days) 
Sample Questions   Querying Microsoft SQL Server Certification Sample Question 
Practice Exam   Querying Microsoft SQL Server Certification Practice Exam 

Microsoft 70-461 Exam Topics:

Objective Details 
Create database objects (20–25%) 
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 
Work with data (25–30%)
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 a 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 
Modify data (20–25%)
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 store proc result; create a 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) 
Troubleshoot and optimize (25–30%)
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; transient 
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