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on 10 June 2013
This book covers all of the topics in detail, and includes a lot of additional background theory. This could be a benefit for those that want this, but many readers will have bought this just to pass the test.

I have just passed the 70-461 exam today and have to say that the practice tests you get with the book are much easier than the real exam. I think this could be misleading for anyone that has not taken a Microsoft certification before.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 12 March 2013
This is an excellent book for anyone which wishes to take their T-SQL learning beyond intermediate level.

This is not a beginner's book. I would recommend the Beginning SQL Joes 2 Pros series, which is very cheap in Kindle format.

This book has exercises which test what you have just read, and I prefer to read this book on my iPad (using the ebook pdf, which comes on the CD attached to the back of this book) and scroll to the start of the exercise, so I can't see the answer beforehand (sadly, the answer is printed immediately below the exercise, which makes it hard to ignore).

There is also a 15% voucher off the Microsoft exam, so that redeems some money of the price of the book straight-away.

On the down side, there is a huge errata list on the web.

Overall, essential reading.
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on 16 December 2014
The book is pretty good - it covers the whole exam in a reasonable level of detail. However just knowing/reading the book will probably not be enough to pass the exam - you need to extend you reading (lots of links given in the book) and get lots of practical experience. But you can't expect them to cram everything into one book so it is probably worth 4 stars on it's own.

However, this is a training kit and the practice exam material that comes with the book is very, very poor - it's far too easy, highly repetative, only uses 1 style of question (multiple choice), and doesn't give a good indication of your strengths and weeknesses. If you expect the real exam to be like this you will be in for a bit of shock. Go get a mock exam from Transcender if you want something a bit more realistic .
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on 3 March 2013
It's expensive but worth it - you will need to get a version of SQL server 2012 from somewhere though as the cd only provides the database and examples from the book - not the main program - but you can get the full version on a 180 day trial or express on unlimited to try it all out - well worth it of you want to take the exam.
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on 11 March 2014
I'm writing this on the same day that I passed 70-463. Having previously used the other 2 ms training books to study and help to pass 70-461 and 70-462 I can now happily call myself a mcsa in sql server 2012. Without these books I would have never passed the exams but likewise I couldn't have passed by just using the books. The books help to give a grounding in the subject matter and I'm sure I'll now use them a reference as the exercises are very clear 'how to' guides . The measure-up questions help with drilling in key concepts but again these are not questions that really help in the exam.
It took me 6 weeks to read each book and complete the exercises ( never bothered with the case studies). 1 week to ace the measure-up test questions. 2 weeks of studying MS TechNet .... So 9 weeks per book.

Out if all the 3 training kits , 70-463 had the most errata but I'm not surprised given the bigger topics and concepts this book has to cover ( the o'reily website lists the errata so it's worth checking before starting each lesson). Out of the three, 70-463 was the most interesting, 70-461 the most straightforward and 70-462 the least interesting ( the pure DBA topics in 70-462 just didn't float my boat)
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on 9 July 2015
This book contains a lot of very useful information, and the topics covered are very comprehensive, That is what makes up the 3 stars. If I was reviewing the book on its own it would probably get 4 or 5, but the reason for the lower mark is the practice exam.

I use SQL on a daily basis at work, and upon deciding to take this exam I ordered the book. After a fairly light read through, I decided to take the practice test on the CD to see where i was. All in all I took the practice test 4 times, and never scored below 92%.

So, based on this I booked the exam and went into it thinking I had it in the bag. Oh how wrong I was, the practice exam in on a completely different level to the real exam. My advice to anyone reading this is to buy the book, for sure, but make sure the first thing you do is throw the CD in the bin, and just concentrate on working through the syllabus.
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on 7 November 2015
I am working my way through this book at the moment with a view to taking the exam in three months. It is detailed, easy to read and quickly builds understanding - very useful and thorough guide. It is not a beginner's book - it presupposes some practical experience of SQL For beginners I'd recommend the SAMS books - teach yourself SQL in 10 minutes is a good place to start.

However, as others have said the practice material is woefully inadequate in this book. Luckily I was aware of this before I bought the book, but I would be wary of thinking that the practice questions in any way prepare for the real exam. As an official training kit, I would expect a great deal more from the book in this regard - decent, realistic questions and lots of them.

I suspect this is done deliberately to encourage people to buy the practice exam as well - a bit of a money spinner I think.
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on 3 April 2014
Excellent Book for reference and for the exam. It helped me pass 70-461 exam. The practice test questions come with this book is way too easy compared to the actual exam. Actual exam questions will take longer to do and they are little harder than the practice exam questions.
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on 10 January 2014
Do not be lulled into a false sense of security by the ridiculously easy practice questions - on my first go at these, I scored 90% without any study. They only really cover a very limited scope of what is in this book and are not at the same level as those found in the actual exam.

This then led me to take things too easy when working through the book, and as a result I was completely caught out when taking the exam as the questions are entirely different than those found on the CD with this book.
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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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