When I passed my Power BI exam and shared my badge on LinkedIn I received hundreds of likes and numerous comments with views crossing 90,000 (still counting!). This shows immense interest in passing this exam which is sometimes difficult for those who are new in BI arena.
In order to help Power BI community I decided to pen down my journey to help other test takers follow similar path to achieve certification.
My First Attempt was unsuccessful
This is to be noted that I passed this exam in my second attempt. I am sharing this because this is not unusual for a person to fail in first attempt. I myself after having plenty of experience in Power BI failed to pass this exam and scored around 665 when passing score was 700. This has given me lot of hope that if I fine tune my knowledge then I will be able to clear this exam in my next attempt. What I learned from my first attempt that there were plenty of scenario based questions. These questions may eat your allotted time because if you are not reading it properly then you will try to read it every time. It is clearly mentioned from where repeated scenarios starts and ends so reading it once and understanding clearly will help you save your time. I spent a lot of time in my first attempt leaving less time to attempt remaining questions so I had to rush and that caused confusion and errors.
Importance of DAX – Data Analysis Expressions
I can easily say that most of the questions revolve around DAX so you must have sound knowledge of it. Understanding syntax, parameters and sample implementations will help you grip it fully. Hands on experience of DAX is absolutely necessary if you want to clear this exam. I did lot of practice for time intelligence functions because these are present in exam in good numbers. I downloaded a book namely “Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) Reference SQL Server 2012 Books Online” which helped me a lot. This is to be noted that some new functions introduced in DAX are not present in this book but most of the contents are relevant and seems that exam questions have referred this book a lot.
Data transformation is very important in practical scenarios because your BI depends a lot on clean data. You must do proper practice on all data transformation techniques especially covering all menu options in Power BI desktop.
Maximum reading and learning
Microsoft provide tons of content for Power BI. You must plan your learning by going through common topics as some answers are hidden within the contents. I read lot of material and I must say that subscription plans was the most tricky part for me as it determine what can be shared with internal and external users. Secondly, you must look into configuration and setup part as well along with Office 365 and Azure related topics involving Power BI. There are plenty of videos and textual content available from Microsoft. Some links are shared below.
Brain dumps are good and bad
Brain dumps are good in a sense that they gives you real picture of how the test is arranged. You can say that 20 to 30 percent of questions do match in your real exam but frankly speaking this is sometimes deceiving because of constant changes in Power BI with monthly updates nullifying previous statements. Like if a feature was previously available in Power BI service only is now available in Desktop version as well so if you are not following recent updates, you may select a wrong answer. I must say that all brain dumps are not accurate. I have noticed many incorrect answers which may contribute in your failure. Relying on brain dumps without having hands on experience and knowledge can be disastrous. Most importantly relying on brain dumps cannot help you in future when you want to prove your certification at workplace. You must have practical experience and knowledge and skills to prove your worth.
Following post of MSSQLTIPS by Daniel Calbimonte provides wealth of knowledge of topics covered in the exams. However, this is a very old article but you will be able to find relevant links from the same. This is well compiled and helped me a lot in covering topics.
As you know that apart from drag and drop, most of the answers are in the form of multiple choice questions. In order to select correct answer you must read all options. However, in some cases you realize very early that the answer is incorrect so skip to next option immediately. Secondly, some options are absolute opposite of what is required. Like if an answer is expecting approach which should not create a new table in the model then you can easily ignore such options suggesting the same. This will save you lot of time and will help you concentrate on more difficult questions.
Secondly, if you are finding it difficult to get answer, then skip this question or mark it for review so you can come back. For scenario based questions, you cannot come back and review so such questions should be solved with utmost attention without spending too much time.
My Successful Attempt
It took me almost two months after my first attempt to appear again for the exam. I knew about my weak areas so tried my best to cover all those. I worked on sample files and polished my DAX to a large extent. I managed to score 845 out of 1000 in my second attempt. However, I must say that I need a lot more knowledge to cover administration and configuration part as my focus was mostly on practical implementation.
I hope my experience will help other test takers make a successful attempt to get certified.
Best of Luck!