Pass 70-461 MCSA Certification Exam Fast

70-461 Exam Has Been Retired

This exam has been replaced by Microsoft with new exam.

Microsoft 70-461 Exam Details

The Microsoft 70-461 exam is the first of the three that candidates need to pass to earn the MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 certification. The rest two tests are 70-462 and 70-463. Exam 70-461 is primarily centered around SQL fundamentals and Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014.

Who is the Exam Aimed for?

Microsoft 70-461 is suitable for individuals that are interested and keen on validating their SQL querying skills. It is especially useful for SQL Server database administrators, system engineers, and developers. Moreover, there are no strict prerequisites for this test specified by Microsoft. However, it is recommended that candidates have two or more years of experience when registering for it.

Certification Path

MCSA 70-461 is one of three exams that need to be passed for an individual to be MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 certified. It mainly tests and validates the candidate's knowledge of creating and managing databases and tables in SQL Server 2012, querying and modifying data, troubleshooting queries, and many related areas.

As a next step, candidates can start preparing for the other two exams in the series required to get the Microsoft MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 certification. The two tests are listed below.

  • Microsoft 70-462: Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases
  • Microsoft 70-463: Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012

What’s Included in the Content of 70-461 Exam

There are four essential areas applicants should familiarize themselves with and be highly competent in before registering for the test to successfully pass it. These are the following:

  • Creating database objects

    In this domain, the candidates should be able to create and alter tables and views using in-built functions such as CREATE, COLUMN, DROP, etc. Furthermore, they should be proficient in creating and modifying unique and default constraints, defining them, managing Data Manipulation Language (DML) triggers (including updating functions, knowledge of varied triggers, etc.), and designing views.

  • Working with data

    Exam-takers should have sufficient knowledge about different processes and operations, including a sound understanding of writing and performing queries, using SELECT statements to query data, the ability to skillfully implement sub-queries and data types, aggregate queries, and manage Extensible Markup Language (XML) data. These also involve skills in writing efficient SQL queries, using various data access technologies, applying operators, knowledge of new analytic functions, XML datatypes, etc.

  • Modifying data

    As the topic suggests, individuals must be able to modify data using various statements (INSERT, DELETE, etc.), combining datasets, creating and managing stored procedures, and working with different functions, such as deterministic, user-defined, and others. Additionally, applicants need to have the abilities to apply built-in scalar functions, modify data, know the techniques for stores procedures development and programming, understand the functions with T-SQL, and other concepts.

  • Troubleshooting and optimizing

    Good knowledge of query optimization using statistics, query plans, and various other features is an absolute must. Candidates are also expected to be familiar with the approaches to efficiently manage transactions and perform error handling implementation. Finally, candidates should be proficient in understanding benefits of set-based and row-based operations, have skills in reading query plans, describing various join types, effectively combining different DML operations, and others.

Thorough knowledge of the above topics and strong hands-on skills can bring success to anyone sitting for the exam even for the first time.

Exam Format and Policies

Microsoft exams generally follow a very standard format that is easy for students to grasp. The test 70-461 consists of about forty to sixty tasks that candidates need to attempt in two hours. Questions are generally multiple-choice or follow a scenario-based format. To pass the exam, one is expected to score 700 points out of 1000.

Microsoft 70-461 is available in English, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, French, and German. To register for the test, candidates have to pay an enrollment fee of $165 and complete the process through the Pearson VUE platform by selecting the appropriate exam code and following the instructions.

In the event an applicant is unable to pass the exam on the first attempt, Microsoft's retake policy permits to sit for it one more time after twenty-four hours. The third try is allowed after fourteen days only, and the fee is needed. However, Microsoft has limited the number of attempts any given test can be taken up to 5 times per year.

What does the Future Hold?

The Microsoft 70-461 exam is a tough one, so it requires meticulous planning and hard work to successfully pass it. However, all the efforts will be paid off since completing the test puts the individual one step closer to achieving the globally recognized MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 certification. It will also look very attractive on the resume and to the organization a specialist is working for. Employers almost always seek to hire Microsoft certified professionals that can manage and deliver the expected results.

The opportunities that this certificate brings along are numerous. Individuals can apply for many new job roles, including server administrator, system administrator, service engineer, systems analyst, systems engineer, desktop technician, help desk technician, systems administrator, technical support engineer, and many more.

Salary Prospects

Microsoft MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 certified professionals generally earn much more than not accredited ones. The amount of experience an individual has gained is also the deciding factor for salaries. According to, specialists with the Microsoft MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 certificate earn an average of $76k annually. Yet another reason to get accredited.

Microsoft MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 is an associate-level certification. After successfully obtaining it, interested candidates can opt for an expert-level option offered by Microsoft that is MCSE: Data Management and Analytics. To acquire it, one is required to take and pass the test chosen from different variants available.