Below info from Steve Cable:


Microsoft’s websitefor this exam has a long list of training materials.


For me, Step 1 was to read the book that Microsoft calls the Self-Paced Training Kit.   That book is definitely mandatory. I read that at least twice.   And just as important, I did ALL the practices too.

But when I took the assessment test on the disk included with that book, it was like I didn't know anything. There are 200 sample questions. I would try, say 10 questions, and get 1 right.  The book simply did not cover anywhere near the amount of material referenced by those questions.

Step 2.  I happened to have a copy of the SQL Server 2008 Internalsbook by Delaney, which covers a lot of these same topics. That helped fill-in a number of gaps. Sometimes that book went WAY further into the internals than anyone needs to know for this test.   When that happened it was easy-enough to turn the page until it related to me again.   After that I could get 3 out of 10 questions right.

Step 3.   I read The Real MCTS SQL Server 2008 Exam 70-433 Prep Kit: Database Design, edited by Horniger.  I’m willing to say that was helpful. If you are going to take this test, I think it is definitely worth reading. I have to admit it really irritated me that some chapters seemed to have a misspelled word or grammatical error on every page. If we have all the time in the world, I have to think a team of us can write a better book than they did. But it was helpful. After that I could get 5 out of 10 right.

Step 4.  I read DeBetta's free Introduction to SQL Server 2008.  You can’t read the same thing over and over again.   Every additional author gives you a new way of thinking about things.   He has provided a great service to our community by providing a readable, good quality explanation full of good ideas.   It may be free, but it’s a keeper on my bookshelf.    

Step 5.   After all that, it was still not enough.   So basically I decided I had to write, or at least assemble, my own book. I mean, I would read a question, and say to myself, "Wow, I just do NOT know enough about that yet."  So I would do a Google Search, and find some article or blog about it, and paste that into a Word document for the things I needed to know more about myself. I assembled over 180 pages of such notes.

Step 6.   After that, the only thing left I could do was build my test-taking muscles. The book(s) will tell you what you CAN do. But the practice questions will help you see the LIMITs.


For example, I knew you can insert into view (with restrictions), and you can use the OUTPUT clause to return changed data back to the screen, or insert it to a table, or into a table variable, but OUTPUT cannot insert into a view. I can only remember such factoids if a practice question gives me a reason to.


Or, do you know that SET SHOWPLAN ON will show you the ACTUAL execution plan, while SET SHOWPLAN_XML ON will show you the ESTIMATED execution plan. I cringe to think about what my brain has to do to remember such details!

Because, practice does not make perfect. PERFECT PRACTICE makes perfect. If I didn't know the answer to a practice question, there is no point in guessing.  Nor is there any point to simply learning the answer to 1 question.  The best way to meet the challenge is to go study that on the spot.