What to expect from the DA-100 exam

September 05, 2020

Tags: microsoft certification, power bi

The other day, I answered a post on Reddit which asked what to expect from the Microsoft DA-100 Data Analyst exam. This is my attempt at passing on the information I wish I had been offered before taking the exam. It’s written a bit tongue in cheek, in order to exaggerate the points.

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My response

Take a look at this:

If you can pass these practice tests, I’d say you can pass the certification test. Don’t worry, they are not test dumps, but questions made specifically for benchmarking.

That said, I’m home sick, so here goes writing:

The examination itself is divided into three stages.

Section 1

In this section, you answer several questions about a given scenario. You answer these questions one after the other, and you are not allowed to go back. Several of the answers might seem correct at first, but when you see the next possible answer, you will know that the previous one was False. So give yourself time for this one, and if anything seems off about a solution, answer “No,” or you are going to kick yourself afterwards.

A non-technical executive at your organization’s customer sends out a memo to your development team. In the memo he states that ”[he] was been on an executive course last week and on this course he has learned that python is the best programing language and why we don’t use that when its better than powerbi?”


The following statement is true. Answer yes or no:

It is wise to reply-all to the executive’s e-mail and point out the lack of punctuation and bonkers grammar mistakes in his memo. (yes/no)


The following statement is true. Answer yes or no:

It would be best to point out that Power BI is in fact better than Python. (yes/no)


The following statement is true. Answer yes or no:

It would be best to defuse the situation. This can be achieved by pointing out that Power BI and Python excel in two different aspects of data work, in fact Power BI and Python can be used in conjunction and if he is interested in pulling in additional resources for a meeting on Python’s role in the project, you would be happy to accommodate his wishes. (yes/no)

The first one is obviously no. With the second, some people might think that this would sound reasonable in a Microsoft exam. It’s not. When you think about it, it’s kind of childish and Microsoft wouldn’t want to tarnish the reputation of their certifications, so that’s a “no” too. The third one is a good answer, I hope you would agree. A bit long to exaggerate the point, but it also does illustrate quite well while the second solution is not a good one.

Section 2

The second section is multiple choice. There are 35-40 questions, I think.

Your customer is looking to follow the trend for end-user adoption of new reports. Their list of requirements include an item stating that the final solution must be implemented as one or more Power BI reports in the Power BI service. Each report must be able to give an overview of the page views for the past three months. Another item stipulates that they want to be able to exclude developers from the view count.

Choose one or more of the following solutions:

- You set up key-loggers on the computers of all employees as well as surveillance cameras in all offices. Then you tell the customer that you are going to hire a small army of Indians to annotate the video streams in real time. They can expect the first batch of 3-month data in four months.

- You tell the customer that there exists pre-baked monitoring reports for all reports uploaded to the Power BI service, and you’d be happy to set this up to demo at a session later the same day. This is possible, because logging is already taking place.

- You tell the customer that there exists pre-baked monitoring reports for all reports uploaded to the Power BI service, and you’d be happy to set this up to demo. But that would be a few weeks in the future, as the logger needs time to collect data.

- That is not possible without investing in Power BI Premium.

Notice how the question mentions one or more Power BI reports, page views for the past three months and exclude developers from the view count? More than anything, these are hints for you. They are of course describing a very specific solution, and with your experience working with the product you might know that the automatic usage monitoring reports can be generated per report and that they show you usage for the past three months. Additionally, as the developers are themselves users, you can simply exclude them with the slicers in the report. The point is, don’t start concocting some weird answer in your head. Just go with what you know, and if you hadn’t used this particular part of the product, just give your best guess.

Yes, you will get awarded partial points.

No, wrong answers are not worse than no answers. Respond to all questions.

Once you finish all these questions you get to review them. But you wont want to spend all your time reviewing these, as there are still case studies ahead.

Section 3

The case studies are a lot less scary than they sound. You get a virtual binder describing a project (implemented as a web interface). There is a page on the customers current IT setup. There is a page on the requirements for the project. There might be samples of data, or even entire (small) tables. Look at them, remember the general landscape of the project, but the most important part is remember where you read what. You’ll need to be able to find it again when you answer the questions.

Current setup:

The company’s finances are being kept in a spreadsheet. Not an Excel one, no, a paper one.



CEO wants lots of color.

CTO wants everything in black and white.

Marketing needs to be able to compare expenses from current year with budget.

Finance wants to understand where money comes from.



You are meeting with Finance to prepare a Profit and Loss statement to present to the CEO. How do you prepare?


Choose one or more answers:

- Have a look at the analogue material, and make sure to bring printed out color pictures of how pretty Excel and Power BI can look, if only they commit to going digital.

- It’s actually really difficult to decide if computers are actually right for these people. Are they even a real company?

- Make a report with some fake data, and do all the reports in grayscale.

The only thing I can say is that the third solution is wrong. The CEO specifically has a requirement for colors, and the question describes making a report for the CEO. So the grayscale is what sinks it, more-so than the fake data.

I honestly think the test is pretty good. Nothing too difficult, and mostly things you’ll encounter while working as a consultant.

Source: 4 years of Power BI experience, consulting/internal. Took certification last month. I did not prepare for the test and got 900 points. You’ll be fine.