This is so far the hardest exam I took. Don't get me wrong. I have taken 5 Microsoft exams before and one of them is exam 70-229 using SQL Server 2000. However, since my background is more as an application developer rather than a database administrator, I found the exam very challenging. Unfortunate for me, it just cover a little bit of TSQL programming, the material that I am familar most. Most of the exam material focuses on the administrative/maintenance tasks such as backup/restore, indexing, and various high availability technologies.
Lucky for me, I still managed to score 947 out of 1000.
Here are few useful tips for the exam takers:
- If you're unfamiliar with the administrative/maintenance stuff, get a good book that explain the concepts rather than just giving you facts. By learning this way, you don't need squeeze your brain to understand all the new terminology. I highly recommend the MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (the 'blue' book). Find out about the book here.
I also read the Exam Cram (the 'red' book), but it is not that helpful for me.
- Do some practice. Follow the practice/lab from the book (if any). I find that doing practice help me to grasp the concept quicker. I prefer to see things get executed than just believe what the author write in the book. Not convinced yet? Go to the next point
- Expect to see simulation questions... and a lot of them. So you really need to practice.
- Download the latest SQL Server Book Online and read additional material not covered in the book, but don't spend too much time studying this manual. Admit that you don't have time and energy to study everything. It's OK to miss one or two difficult questions, but don't miss the easy ones because you don't have time to study that chapter.
- Still related to the previous point... Don't try to remember all the switches, parameters, options, etc. from a SQL syntax. They are just too many... Only remember the important ones. How to identify the important ones? Read the book. If a very detail question appears on your exam and you really have no idea, use your intuitive or skip the question for later review. You may find the clue in the other questions.
- As always, Microsoft is proud of the new technologies/features, so put emphasizes on the new features, such as XML data type, database mirroring, and some enhancements in the TSQL syntax.
- Write on a piece of paper (OK you can use Notepad) all the important dynamic management views and functions. Read the note later when you are about to enter the exam room.
Hope this helps.