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Exact Steps you can take to pass the Power BI Exam PL-300

Yesterday, I sat the exam with a score of 875. (Pass mark is 700/1000)

Here is a rundown of exactly how I prepared for the exam.

Background

I’ve been using Power BI for a few years, on and off.

My main issue - Gaps in my knowledge, due to using the same parts of the platform over and over, while ignoring others.

Booking the Exam

I booked it BEFORE I even started studying for it, with Pearson VUE to be done at home. The psychology of having an exam date, is motivational and gave me a fixed finish by date.

I did something dumb and booked it for 2 weeks away. Yes, I would put pressure on myself to prepare in 2 weeks. I thought to myself, how hard could it be?

Test Preparation

I got the 30 days Measure Up test prep. 175 questions.

The next week I went through all the questions once. Every time I didn’t know something, I would stop and spend an hour searching online for articles and YouTube videos to understand the topic in-depth.

Power BI was open the whole time, where I would try to re-create the scenarios.

A lot of time was spent on these YouTube channels

Any questions I had; these guys had well thought out videos covering it.

The Microsoft documentation online, does really have everything. It’s dry to read, but I used it a lot.

I wanted to be scoring 100% on the Test Preps before sitting the exam. This wasn’t going to happen, so I re-scheduled the exam to give myself an extra week to prepare.

  • 1st time I did the test prep with no study at all, I got 60%.

  • 2nd time, after study - 85%.

  • 3rd time, after highly focused study on my problem areas - 96%.

On top of Measure Up, I searched online for any other free test preps I could find.

One thing I didn’t do, which other people recommend…..

I started the Microsoft official preparation learning path, but found it so boring that I just couldn’t do it.

Also, colleagues had told me that the free Microsoft prep (bizarrely) isn’t really well aligned with the actual exam. So, I skipped it completely. (I’m just telling you what I did, please do your own research)

Over 3 weeks, I averaged 3 hours/day of full-on study. 63 hours!

The Day of the Exam

The exam was scheduled to start at 10.30am. I logged in at 10am as requested; I did the photos of my ID and photos of my room and sent them. The screen changed at 10.30 and then it happened.

"Hhmm something went wrong"

Please go back to previous screen.

Except there is no way to go back! The Pearson Vue software blocks out the whole screen, with no back button. I wait, 10min. 20min. nothing.

I then Ctr-Alt-Del and cancel the session.

I land on another screen, which said “I’m next in the queue”.

So, 30 minutes late at 11am, the exam finally starts.

In fairness to Pearson Vue, I think my internet stopped working for a few seconds and this triggered the problem.

Tip: Do the exam at home ONLY if you have super reliable fast internet.

I’ve read about other exam takers, where their internet failed during the exam, and they just wasted their time and money.

These 2 videos by Lisa Crosbie are very good at explaining how to prepare your room for Pearson Vue and strategies in the exam.

Doing the Exam

What makes the exam hard is the time limit. I had 100 minutes and felt rushed the whole time; That clock just keeps ticking down!

To finish all the questions you have on average about 90 seconds for each question. The problem is some of the questions have blocks of text you have to read, interpret, understand, and then answer the question.

There are several easy questions, the key is to just click the correct answer straight away and move on. This will give you more time for the difficult ones.

I had a case study set of questions, and then a bunch of other questions covering all aspects of the platform.

What I learnt from doing the Test preps was that by reading the question first, before actually looking at the scenario, I could understand a lot quicker what to look for when reading the case study.

Tip: Look at the question and answer options FIRST before actually reading the case study.

Another time saver tip - When a specific term is mentioned in a question, like “Customer Service Manager security permissions”. I’d instantly scan the whole case study for the term, and then read the sentence around it. This generally gives you the information you need for the question.

Marking questions for review - You can tick a box to mark questions for review if you have time at the end of the exam. I did that for 5 of the questions and luckily I did.

One question gave me 3 things to fill in, and I somehow only filled 1 of them. (Either my internet had a problem and didn’t save it, or I somehow didn’t see the other options).

Make sure to fill in all the answer options, as you don’t lose marks for wrong answers.

Final Tips:

  • Make sure you’re getting near 100% on test preps before you attempt the exam.

  • Spend time on Reddit reading other peoples experiences of the exam.

  • Have Power BI Desktop and Service open when you do the test prep questions, to practice.

  • If you feel you’re not ready, re-schedule the exam, which is free and can be done online.

  • Booking the exam in advance worked for me and will stop you from procrastinating or chickening out.

  • I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it; I didn’t need the extra pressure.

  • Organise your time, I needed 3 hours/day for 3 weeks to prepare properly. The time you’ll need depends on the skill level you start with.

  • If you’re starting from 0 with Power BI, I suggest you first do a few online courses, spend approx. 2 months doing this. Then spend another month on Test Prep questions. 3 months in total will do it, if you can study hard.

Overall, I’m glad I did it. The process forced me to learn the whole platform!

Good luck, Cheers Shano.

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