My Personal Experience of Getting Microsoft MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 Certification with ExamSnap and Tips for Future IT Specialists

Microsoft company and its products have become a part of the modern world. You will hardly find a person who has not heard of Windows OS. The company is known not only for its software but also for the IT certifications it provides. Microsoft credential line is very broad, and any IT specialist will find the certification that suits his/her knowledge and skill level. Also, certifications from Microsoft cover a wide range of technologies that are used in many countries all over the world, which makes these credentials literally universal.

MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 and the Exams You Need to Pass

One of the most popular certification form Microsoft is MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014. This certification can be obtained through the passing of three exams: 70-461, 70-462, and 70-463. Below you will find a brief overview of these tests:

70-461: Querying Data with Transact-SQLExam

This exam will assess your skills in the creation of the database objects, data modification, and troubleshooting queries.

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70-463: Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014Exam

This exam is intended to validate your ability to transform, extract, and load data and configure SSIS solutions.

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The third exam is Microsoft 70-462: Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014 Database. This test is intended for database experts who perform technical tasks, such as installation, configuration, and maintenance in IT organizations, and we will discuss this exam later in this article.

Upon successful completion of the abovementioned exams you will earn your MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 certification and become a step closer to attain MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) credential. MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 has no prerequisites, but if you feel that your knowledge is incomplete, you can opt for MTA certification, which will provide you with relevant fundamental knowledge.

MTA Certification with 98-365:Windows Server Administration Fundamentals Exam

To get entry-level MTA credential, you need to pass 1 exam from 14 offered. There is a test associated with administration basics, which is titled 98-365: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals. This exam is intended for aspiring specialists, who want to prove their skills in server installation, performance management, active directory management, and more.

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Well, after getting MTA credential, we can be sure that we are ready for MCSA certification, so let’s return to 70-462 exam. Today, I am going to share with you my personal experience of passing this certification test. I’m going to take 70-462 as an example and show you the things you need to know to start or continue your certification journey.

MCSA 70-462:Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014 Databases Exam

Studying for this test was a completely new experience in my journey to becoming MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 certified. I had no choice but to learn and discover most topics of this course from scratch.

I started my preparation by watching a few video courses for this exam. After learning the basics from the videos, I made up my mind to focus my energy and resources on only one objective at a time. I sorted the objectives based on the knowledge and skills measured during the exam. These skills include the following:

  • Installation and configuration
  • Databases and instances maintenance
  • Optimization and troubleshooting
  • Data management
  • Implementing security
  • High availability implementation

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How to Cover All 70-462 Exam Objectives?

For every objective, I started by doing the equivalent module in the Administering Microsoft Server 2012 Jump Start, which can be found on the site of Microsoft Virtual Academy. My main purpose of doing this was to watch the demos and see what exactly they were focusing on. If you are going to do the same, I suggest that you increase the speed just a little bit to watch and get through the videos faster.

After that, I decided to work through all the corresponding chapters and topics in the famous Training Kit book. I went through the lesson evaluation questions and Quick Check questions. I also read all the case scenarios and then I took the questions related to each corresponding chapter. It is worth noting that my Training Kit booklet came with the exam preparation questions. Of course, there were some questions I had understood completely wrong. For such questions, I did a thorough research online for more information and found some reliable exam dumps that helped me to train myself for the real exam. Thus, I’ve learned how to easily tackle different types of questions.

Taking my Microsoft 70-462 Exam

I signed for the exam at the nearest test center, just like everyone does. On the exam day, I was calm and confident, ready to start my test. Unfortunately, the exam software provided by Pearson VUE encountered a critical error, so I was politely asked to leave the test room to allow the administrators to determine and fix the issue.

As I was waiting, I was treated to coffee and snacks, which I really enjoyed. According to the administrators, the software crashed due to a firewall issue. I really enjoyed watching the issue being fixed by real professionals. Despite the software problem, my exam started without any delay.

I scanned the exam paper and found out that there were 50 questions in total, and I had only 2 hours to provide the answers to all of them. Some questions were quite simple with just one or two correct answers, while the others required interacting with the GUI before choosing the right options.

Some of the questions were simply drag-and-drop, what means that I had to match the answers with the correct alternatives, while some require you to select a certain number of code snippets and place them in their correct order.

I really enjoyed answering different types of questions, and the experience was more or less the same as the one I had in the previous Microsoft certification exams. At the same time, some questions were really challenging. The most difficult ones were those that required me to choose all the correct answers, but I did not have the slightest idea of how many I had to pick. I also had a rather difficult time dealing with the questions that required reordering the provided options.

How Many Times Did I Take the Test?

You must be asking yourself whether the experience I am sharing with you was my first attempt. And you might also be wondering whether I was able to remember everything I had learned during the preparation for the exam. Actually, it was my first attempt, and I passed the certification test with flying colors. Of course, I had a difficult time remembering some information. However, I took my time and revised each question thoroughly. This helped me a great deal, not only with the most difficult questions that I seemed not to remember at first but also with the ones that appeared very simple and straightforward.

A crucial part of this test is to look for certain keywords in the given questions. The keywords are supposed to help a candidate choose correct answers. To get the keywords easily, I always started by identifying the alternatives that were evidently wrong. By eliminating the wrong answers, you remain with a few options, from which you can then figure out the correct one easily.

Important Information About the Certification Process

If you want to learn more about SQL Server or upgrade your skills, you can find some more exams related to this field and get another certification on the associate (MCSA) level:

70-761: Querying Data with Transact-SQL Exam

70-761 is one of the required exams that lead to getting MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Development certification. The test is known as Querying Data with Transact-SQL and is intended to measure your skills in data management and database programming with Transact-SQL.

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70-764: Administering a SQL Database Infrastructure Exam

To get MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration credential, you need to sit for two exams, and one of them is 70-764. This exam tests your ability to configure auditing and data access as well as manage disaster recovery and high availability.

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Other popular Microsoft certifications

If you are intended to broaden your skills, you can also opt for some other sought-after Microsoft credentials such as MCSA: Windows 10 and MCSA: Office 365. These two credentials will open many doors for you in the IT industry.

MCSA: Windows 10 Certification

To get MCSA: Windows 10 certification, you are required to pass two exams, 70-697 and 70-698.

70-697: Configuring Windows Devices Exam

This exam is focused on topics such as identity management, device deployment, networking configuration, remote access management, and more.

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70-698: Installing and Configuring Windows 10 Exam

This test is designed to assess the knowledge related to Windows implementation, configuration and support of Core Services, maintaining Windows, and more.

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MCSA: Office 365 Certification

Another great option on MCSA credential track is MCSA: Office 365 certification, which can be obtained through the passing of two exams: 70-346 and 70-347.

70-346: Managing Office 365 Identities and Requirements Exam

To pass this exam, you need to possess the skills related to the provisioning of Office 365, cloud identities management, Azure AD Connect, SSO, and more.

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70-347: Enabling Office 365 Services Exam

This test is focused on topics such as management of end-user devices, provisioning of SharePoint Online site collections, securing and configuration of Office 365 Services, and more.

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Further Certification.MCSE: Cloud Platform

If you already possess some MCSA credentials such as Windows Server 2016, Cloud Platform, Linux on Azure, or Windows Server 2012, you can also move to the next-level MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification. To obtain this credential, you need to pass one of the ten offered tests. You can opt for any of them, but the most popular choice is 70-473 exam.

70-473: Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions Exam

This 70-473 exam is focused on designing and implementing of database solutions Azure SQL Database, and designing of scalability, disaster recovery, and availability.

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My Advice to All Candidates

All the Microsoft certification exams mentioned above require proper preparation. Take the courses, master all the tested topics, and take as many practice tests as you can. Have a good night sleep before you take the exam and read each question carefully before providing the answer. With determination, self-confidence, and good resource materials, you will definitely ace any exam at your first attempt.

You won’t have to wait for days to know your score. In fact, you will see it soon after you complete the exam. This means that you will leave the test center already knowing whether you passed or failed. I wish you all the best with your Microsoft exams. Good luck!