If you have plans to upgrade your MCTS in SQL Server 2008 or are already deep in studying (like me), here are the skills measured that you can use as study guide and training materials that might be of help. If you need a buddy reviewer let me know via the comments box below or follow me on twitter so we can help each other out.
Create Database Objects
– Create and alter tables using T-SQL syntax and not built-in tools, DROP, ALTER, alter columns, design views, triggers, nested triggers, types of triggers, handling of multiple rows in sessions, performance implication of triggers
Work with Data
– Review querying data using SELECT with ranking functions to get the top(x) number of rows for multiple categories, write queries using synonyms and joins, write efficient queries using all types of joins, CASE versus ISNULL versus COALESCE, given a table with constraints, determine which statement set would load a table, sub-queries, when to use which data type for columns, cte statement, with statement
– Create and alter simple stored procedures, write a stored procedure given a set of requirements, modify data using INSERT, UPDATE and DELETE statements, use OUTPUT statement, create and alter user-defined functions (UDF), performance issues when using UDFs, troubleshoot and optimize queries, manage transactions, evaluation of row-based operations versus set-based operations, error handling implementation, when to use and not to use cursors
Install and Configure SQL Server 2012
– Includes topics on planning an installation, installing SQL Server and related services, migration strategy, configure addition server components, SQL Server Agent management.
Maintain Instances and Database
– Management and configuration of databases, configuration of other SQL Instances, implement a clustered instance
Optimize and Troubleshoot SQL Server
– Includes topics on identifying and resolving concurrency problems, collection and analysis of troubleshooting data, audit SQL Server.
As this exam is an upgrade exam, you are most likely not to find any training kit or materials for 70-457. There is also no practice test available in MeasureUp. I managed to find this book though on Amazon. It covers most of the topics in the skills measured and a great help because it has a question and answer portion on each topic discussed and has a lot of screen shots. The fonts are bigger too, so good for people with poor eyesight like me.
Look instead for training materials on base exam like the 70-462 and 70-463. The training kit for exam 70-462 is already out http://blogs.msdn.com/b/microsoft_press/archive/2012/08/08/new-book-training-kit-exam-70-462-administering-microsoft-sql-server-2012-databases.aspx. If you are currently in Singapore, I saw this book in Kinokuniya bookstore a few days ago. I plan to get this one too.
Download an SQL 2012 Developer Edition to play with and also work with TechNet/MSDN virtual labs. The training book may require you to prepare a couple of VMs and domains, the virtual lab will come in handy at this point. I find this one very helpful as you can play with Enterprise Editions features such High Availability with AlwaysOn. Just yesterday I was able to practice on AlwaysOn feature of SQL Server 2012 among 3 servers and adding replica and failing on one server. So cool!
For a guide on ways to install and configure SQL Server 2012, you may also want to read this.
Happy studying and good luck!