Recently, I took the PL-300 Power BI Data Analyst exam and I am happy to say that I saw the “Congratulations, you passed” message at the end. Since I enjoy giving people tips and helping people with their BI problems. I thought to write a blog post about my experience taking the exam and some tips to share with readers who might be interested in taking the exam for themselves.
Microsoft’s PL-300 exam, focused on Data Analysis, is a comprehensive assessment that delves into various aspects of data modeling, preparation, and integrating Microsoft products. Visit the following link:
- To get an understanding of the overview of the exam
- Do the practice test
- Scheduling the exam
- The online learning paths for the exam
Emphasis on Data Modelling and Preparation
In my opinion, when compared to the Tableau Data Analyst exam which I was more familiar with, the exam places a significant emphasis on data modeling and preparation, testing your ability to structure data for effective analysis. Questions relating to visual analytics seemed to have a lesser presence than data modeling and preparation.
Expect one case study where you cannot go back to edit your answers. This case study includes multiple-choice questions related to real-world scenarios. There are not too many of these questions, but be ready to analyze the given information and make decisions based on the requirements of different users, including salespeople and managers.
The necessary information used for the case study is separated into different headers that you can browse in different panes in the exam environment. Because answering the questions alone with no backstory to them can trick you into selecting the wrong answer.
The Middle Section
After the case study, the largest portion of the test is a variation of random multiple-choice, single-select, drag-and-drop questions. These questions cover a wide range of topics. However, what I noticed here is that there was a big emphasis on other Microsoft-related products as well, such as Sharepoint, OneDrive, and Azure, about how they can work with Power BI. Make sure to pay attention to other related Microsoft products other than Power BI as well.
True or False
The exam concludes with a few True or False questions. What I noticed here was that the same small case is given multiple times and possible solutions are the question and you need to decide if the proposed solution will work or not. The details matter in this section so be sure to understand the case carefully.
No Hands-On Exercises
At no point in the exam, you will use Power BI Desktop. This is purely a theoretical test. Therefore memorization of facts is more important in this exam. That is why I would suggest doing the practice test multiple times to grasp the types of questions being asked. It is very close to the actual questions.
Having prior Tableau knowledge is potentially the biggest contribution to the successful outcome of this exam for me. Since at their core, Tableau and Power BI are there to do the same task, that is Business Intelligence. As a result, many of the BI concepts are shared. Additionally, what is assessed that is quite different in the Power BI exam is knowledge of data modeling and data preparation. I would advise you to follow more exercises relating to those topics if you are not as familiar with them as visual analytics concepts.
One of the first things I did to prepare for the exam was to start from the beginning of the learning path and do all the subjects that are listed on the exam page one by one. In these self-paced modules, you follow the theoretical knowledge and put together the knowledge in a small practical case study in a virtual environment. Understanding the concepts of data preparation, modeling, visualizing, and workspace management in Power BI was in my opinion best delivered through the learning paths. Even though quite a few of the concepts, I was familiar with because of using Tableau, it never hurts to revisit.
The practice test is the other major contributor to understanding what kind of questions are being asked. For the first few times, I tried this exam. I failed, even after completing the full learning path and doing a few personal projects. I didn’t find it to be easy, since you also need 80% correct answers to pass. However, digging into why my answers were wrong helped a lot. I re-did the test multiple times until I passed it. Of course, some questions repeat however, some questions change slightly and the answer becomes completely different.
Exam Readiness Videos
In addition to the above, I also watched the Exam Readiness videos from Linda Larkan:
Visualise and Analyse the Data: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/shows/exam-readiness-zone/preparing-for-pl-300-visualize-and-analyze-the-data-3-of-4
There are four videos in this series, each going over the main four subjects tested in the exam. These videos are about 10-20 minutes long where she explains the core concepts within each subject. In the end, there are also a few practice questions that she answers and explains.
I would recommend going through these as well since she goes through topics exclusive to the exam.
Extra Places for Hand-On Practice
Even though there are no hands-on sections for the exam. It is important to get hands-on experience regardless. Therefore, I also went through a few resources to get some practice. Aside from aimlessly exploring the practice datasets, I also did a few challenges from Workout Wednesday.
The idea is simple but the challenges might not be so simple. There is already a visualization made and the goal is to re-create exactly what has been done with a few pointers and the data used. I believe doing these challenges gives you a better insight into how to solve different kinds of problems. The subject areas vary where for some you need to do modeling, data preparation, and writing calculations as well.
Another source that I like is from WiseOwl Training. Here the exercises are much more focused on specific subjects. So if there is a topic that you don’t understand as well, you can do the specific exercises about those subjects.
In summary, conquering the PL-300 Power BI Data Analyst exam necessitates a nuanced approach. The test emphasizes data modeling, preparation, and Microsoft product integration. A case study and varied question formats, including True or False, demand attention. Prepare by exploring Microsoft’s learning paths, undertaking practice tests, and watching Linda Larkan’s Exam Readiness videos. While there are no hands-on sections, engaging in challenges like Workout Wednesday and focused exercises from WiseOwl Training enhances practical skills. The key is a well-rounded preparation strategy encompassing theory, practice, and real-world application for success in this comprehensive exam. Best of luck!
Thank you for reading this blog. Also check out our other blogs page to view more blogs on Power BI, Tableau, Alteryx, and Snowflake here.
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