Category Archives: Certifications

EXAM 70-457: Transition your MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012, Part 1

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.

Skills Measured

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

Modify Data

– 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.

Training Materials

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 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!


Want to upgrade your current MCTS Certification in SQL 2008?

Certification Path

With the release of SQL Server 2012 last year, Microsoft also overhauled its certification exams for DBA Professionals.

If you are an MCTS Certified IT Professional in SQL Server 2008 Implementation and Maintenance, you need to follow the path as shown in the image above. You need to take 2 cerftication exams :

1. 70-457 :Transition Your MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012, Part 1

2. 70-458: Transition Your MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012, Part 2

Exam 70-457 covers T-SQL statements, Joins, Subqueries, New data types and new query features in SQL Server 2012.

Exam 70-458 deals more with tasks on administration and maintenance. It covers Administration, Implementation and Maintenance, contrast and compare AlwaysOn technology, Implement solutions using Data Quality Storage.

Click here to get a complete overview of the the exam description and path.

The training materials are not yet available from Microsoft Press. I managed to get this book though from Amazon. It’s very basic and covers the topics for the exam yet you need to do deep dive in other resources. There is also a part in the book that has a basic question and answer portion to help you review what you’ve just read. I use this part of the book to include in my practice questions.

I have certification in MCTS and i plan to take this exam to upgrade my certification level. I am currently using this book as guide for all the topics covered in Exam 70-457 and  at the same time research, research and more online research everyday and don’t forget about the very helpful virtual labs in TechNet. I will write more on this next time.

Enjoy learning more!


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