How I Passed 70-761 Exam: Querying Data with Transact-SQL – Microsoft?

Saturday (18th May 2019) I went through the 70-761 Exam and passed it. This post is all about the how I planned and passed 70-761 exam with details analysis of the exam.

I was looking for an opportunity to check skills on SQL Server. My Senior suggested me to go for 70-761 Microsoft certification. I did my certification out of my busy job schedule.

How I Planned?

After going through the 70-761 syllabus, I planned it to complete in three weeks.

  1. 1st– 2nd Week – Studying the basics of T-SQL and all new/important features introduced in latest versions of SQL Server like Temporal Tables, Working with JSON  etc.
  2. 3rd Week – Practicing Mock Test from Measureup(

How I Prepared for the exam?

“T-SQL Fundamental” By Itzik Ben-Gan and “Training Kit (Exam 70-461): Querying Microsoft® SQL Server® 2012” By Dejan Sarka Itzik, Ben-Gan and Ron Talmage covers all the topics for the 70-761 exam.

I read each chapter, answered the quick check questions, lesson summary, lesson review questions, and case scenarios and completed these two books in two weeks. Some of the topics which I had never used much at my work, I practiced those enough like Temporal Tables.

Finally, I went through the mock test by measureup and made sure that I am ready to take the exam.

Scheduling and Taking the exam:

18th April 2019, Saturday, I schedule the exam at my office and successfully passed the exam.

Followings are the highlights from the exam:

  • There were total 45 Questions.
  • Total time to finish the exam was 2 Hrs.
  • Total Marks: 1000
  • Passing Marks: 700
  • Most of the questions were objective type with real world problem description specified.
  • Some were subjective where you have to select from multiple dropdowns, or you need to complete the query and submit it.
  • Few were multiple choice-based questions based on real-world problem description specified.
  • Few were multiple choice-based questions based on real-world problem description specified.

Exam Questions Highlights:

  • There were 1 question to distinguish UNION from UNION ALL.
  • There were 1 question to distinguish the difference between EXCEPT, INTERSECT SET Operators.
  • There were 3 questions about CTEs, where two were to set up recursive scenarios.
  • There was 1 question to build a stored procedure based on requirement.
  • There were 2 or 3 questions about error handling and Transactions.
  • Several questions with LEFT JOINS/ RIGHT / FULL OUTER JOIN / CROSS JOIN (Questions for each of these joins, it is convenient to understand the differences well)
  • There was 1 question about JSON/XML query where the purpose was to distinguish JSON AUTO from JSON PATH
  • There was 1 question based on PIVOT Operator.
  • There were a question for writing from scratch a query related to grouping and Windows ranking functions (MAX, AVG, COUNT, RANK(),DENSERANK() etc..)
  • There were 3 question related to performance tuning and index usage (you need to optimize the query to properly use the index defined, why query planned is using index spool operator etc.)
  • There were 1 or 2 questions where we had to understand Indexed Views and data inserting using indexed views.
  • There were 1 question based on understanding of CROSS APPLY and OUTER APPLY usage.
  • There were 4 questions about temporal tables, where at least one of them was important to note the difference of the various expressions AS OF, BETWEEN, CONTAINED and FROM clause.
  • There was 3 question where you had to create a table from scratch based on the requirements (Identifying usage of different data types of same category like out of 6 date data type which one best suits for the problem).
  • NO Functions and MERGE based questions Which doesn’t mean that you can’t.

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Happy Learning and Good Luck For Your Exam 🙂

Rahul is a Data Geek, technology enthusiast, a passionate writer, thinker with passion for computer programming.  He loves to explore technology and finds ultimate joy when writing about trending technology, geek stuff and web development.