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4.0 out of 5 stars31
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on 18 June 2016
I don't need to say that this is the Bible for who wants to pass the 70-461 exam, what it's worth saying is that this book is not enough without practice. The book in itself is clear, readable, with good examples, but you need to practice either at work or by using online tools. If you just get the theory and use the CD exercises, then the exam will be a shock. This is the reason why I give this book only 4 stars: the CD is not very useful, the exercises are way too easy compared to the real exam.
I passed the exam on May 2016 at the first attempt, after studying 4 months and practicing at work, the score was 700/1000 then I was really lucky. I would recommend not avoiding topics like cursors and XML as I found 3-4 questions for each of them.
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on 12 July 2013
Overall this is a very good book. Most of it is very well written and covers the material in a comprehensive and understandable way. It does give a bit of background and I think that helps. It can certainly be recommended as a tutorial for learning SQL to use in anger on SQL Server, and as a training manual to pass the exam.

There are some things that could be improved. In particular, as noted by another reviewer, the sample questions are poor. They are simplistic and repetitive. The book describes them as 'Practice Tests.' Take note that it does not claim they are practice for the exam. The explanations of right and wrong answers are generally helpful, though. Also I found the chapter on XML pretty incomprehensible. It is rushed and has few examples. Finally I would love to see some good coverage of the effects of the different transaction isolation levels. The book just regurgitates the Books On-line definitions which do not really explain the interaction between your and other transactions in the different cases in any detailed or useful way.

Despite these issues, I would still rate it highly and say it is a big improvement on the 2 other Microsoft Press training manuals I have used.
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on 27 December 2013
Here is the thing... This book is actually an OK compilation of information. However, what it lacks is why this particular set of information is gathered together. It's not a 'pass-the-exam' book. Practice questions feel too simplified to properly prep you. It doesn't seem to be a 'learn t-sql' book as it does tend to skim with 1-2 very basic examples and is organised a bit funny. It's definitely not a reference book...

so, what does this book really aim? To me, it just fleshed out the scope of the exam (which is covered under the skills required bit of the exam anyway) so a waste of trees me thinks. I wish it was a proper 'pass-the-exam' book like most PM ones (eg. PMP, MSP etc) and I would have loved it.

Of course, this is my humble opinion. You may find you disagree with it.
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on 24 November 2015
What a great book this is. I am a fan of Itzik's material and this book well written but do check the online errata as it does contain a number of minor errors. Be sure to check out Itzik's videos on Microsoft's Channel 9 and also the couple of SQL 2012 Querying videos too. They compliment the material here nicely.

Like all Microsoft exams you won't pass just by reading the book, you need hands-on experience.
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on 31 May 2016
This book is not too bad, covers a broad range of material, the prose can get a bit long-winded & wordy & subsequently confusing, I found it easier sometimes to just Google the syntax & example from MSDN. You will NOT pass the exam based solely on this book. You will need to buy exam prep examples. This book gives you reasonable insight but will get you maybe 60% of the way there for the exam.
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on 27 March 2016
The book was and still is advertised WITH a 15% discount voucher off the cost of an exam. The first book did NOT include a voucher so I arranged a replacement, which can you guess? Did not have a voucher.

The physical back cover of the 2 books sent did NOT mention a voucher so the images AND description stating the voucher was wrong.

Beware.

Mark
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on 11 February 2014
Far too much waffle and theory - difficult to wade through. A concise, specific training guide is need here. You can read a whole chapter in a few hours and you will have only learnt what could have been learnt in 20 minutes. It's hard work.
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on 10 March 2014
I passed the exam first time using this as my main resource.
Itzik Ben-Gan also provides some very clever code snippets in this text. Stuff on recursive CTE's springs to mind.
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on 22 May 2013
It is easy to read, very good examples, as for what I read until now.
I would recommend anyone to purchase it if they need to sit for the certification.
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on 15 December 2013
This book is full of great, easy to follow examples and thorough explanations for background and technical knowledge relevant for exam preparation.
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