Passing MS Exam 70 – 768: Developing SQL Data Models

Introduction

The purpose of this blog is to provide brief overview of the MS Exam 70-768 with focus on the preparation from the perspective of a junior MSBI developer. The exam’s name is 70 – 768: Implementing SQL Data Models and tests the skills needed to develop and maintain multidimensional and tabular models in SSAS. It consists of 4 sections:

  • Configure and Maintain SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS)
  • Develop Queries Using Multidimensional Expressions (MDX) and Data Analysis Expressions (DAX)
  • Design a Multidimensional Business Intelligence (BI) Semantic Model
  • Design a Tabular Business Intelligence (BI) Semantic Model

The exam follows up the MX Exam 70 – 767: Implementing a Data Warehouse using SQL and together they represent 2 requirements needed for MCSA: SQL 2016 Business Intelligence Development certification.

Preparation for the Exam

On the website dedicated for the exam (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-70-768.aspx), you can find a section ‘preparation options’. It offers a list of possible ways of studying for the exam, including free online courses by edX, practice test or, old school way and my favorite, reading a book.

The Book (Exam Ref 70 – 768: Developing SQL Data Models)

I had only two and half days for the study, so I did not have time to go through all the study options. Because the book for the exam was freely available in my company, I chose to study from the book. It consists of four sections, copying the structure of the exam topics. The book is quite well structured to help you with your exam. It contains covers both theory, practical tips and exercises to practice development and working with SSAS in the SQL Server Managements Studio and Visual Studio. I decided to go through the theory and tips first and in the end to follow all instructions for the exercises at once. This method showed up as a good one because one of the first exercises failed for me, despite I precisely followed the instructions, which could have delayed me from studying if I went through theory, tips and exercises at once. During my study I found these advantages of the book:

  • It is quite well logically structured
    • First you are taught to create the SSAS project, the cube, dimensions etc.
    • Then you are taught to develop measures and queries using MDX and DAX
    • Finally, you are taught to maintain the SSAS
  • The instructions to exercises are mostly distinguishable from other text, so it is quite easy to find them
  • In the end of each chapter, there is summary of most important points and a thought experiment to test your newly achieved knowledge

Of course, there were also some disadvantages:

  • At first place, there must be the fact, that I was not able to replicate one of the first exercises, although I precisely followed the instructions. As the exercises follow up on themselves, this was quite an impediment.
  • The book does not radiate any blue light, so you easily get sleepy.
  • In the exam, some topics which were not covered by the book appeared. However, I have to say there was not many of those.

The Exam

This section describes the procedure of the exam itself. I don’t know it is highly standardized (my guess is that it is), so this description might be valid for only the location where I took the exam.

Upon arrival you are told provide 2 ID cards (ID card, passport, driver license probably…) and to sign some papers. This is the most difficult part of the exam! You must provide the same signature which is on your ID. So, if you received the ID when you were 15 years old and now you are almost 30 years old old-timer, this is mission impossible. After getting familiar with the rules of the exam and allowing test administrators to take photo of you and you are asked to leave all your stuff at the locker, including food and medicaments. So, if you have some chronic disease (and from some reason your parents didn’t take you to the woods to leave you die there after you were born) you have to manage your condition with great care to avoid need of food or pills during the exam, as the time won’t stop just because of your miserable existence.

After finishing this entrance process, you enter the test room, you are offered the sound-proof headphones and you start the exam.

Tips

If you don’t know the answer, always check B!

Sources

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-70-768.aspx

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