It’s Official: I’m Microsoft Certified

I passed the PL-300 certification and am officially a Power BI Data Analyst Associate. Here’s a link to my credential.

In a previous blog post, PL-300 Cert = Having Power BI Skills?, I wondered if pursuing the credential was worth it since I wasn’t performing too well on the practice exams. I also said I’d share an update if I ever sat for the certification and here’s the update since I decided to go for it. I’ve had time to digest the experience and write a bit about it.


I’ve been working with Power BI regularly since my previous blog post. As I learned new techniques and delivered more reports, a little voice would chime in and say, “Go for the PL-300 certification.” I thought I was at peace with deciding to move forward without the cert, but the voice grew louder with every visit to the report canvas or Power BI Service. I decided that one of my goals for the year would be to take the PL-300 exam. Notice I said take the exam, not pass it. I was also haunted by the scores from previous practice exams and knowledge that it wasn’t going to be easy. But I was prepared to work and give it a shot. If I didn’t pass, then I’d have more information and could make a decision to move forward or not.


My plan was to use the practice exams available at, take Power BI courses, and consume content to clarify and strengthen my knowledge in areas that needed it. AND take the test by the end of Febraury.

Meaure UP:  I took the practice exams and quizzes multiple times and went through the solutions for items I got wrong as well as the ones I happened to get correct and needed clarification. My practice exam scores improved, but we’re not the 90% score that would qualify me for a refund.

Courses: One of the most valuable resources was the Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Power BI at taught by Pete Benbow. This course filled in gaps I had with tools that exist outside of Power BI desktop and the service. Professor Benbow didn’t just mention the tools, but walked through setting them up. You set up a MS developer account to practice in the Power BI Service, install SQL Server, Tabular Editor, Dax Studio, and the Personal Gateway. Working with these tools on my own computer was valuable beyond the PL-300 certification.I recommend this course to anyone getting into Power BI.

YouTube, ChatGPT, PerplexityAI, Bard, and Flashcards:

There’s a ton of excellent content on YouTube, but I found some of the explanations for concepts to be very “jargony”. In cases where I needed help with sorting through jargon, I’d chat with ChatGPT to get a jargon-free response. Bard (aka Gemini) gave me the best explanation for CALCULATE and Perplexity.AI was helpful with linking to sources. My secret weapon had to be going old school and creating Flashcards by hand using index cards. There’s a lot of hype around Spaced Reptition Systems (SRS) like Anki, but I enjoy writing by hand and flipping and sorting cards by hand.

Exam Day:

I opted to take the test at a testing center. Physically moving to another space for the exam helped me mentally focus that the exam and separate me from my own space where I didn’t have the best results on the practice exams. It’s  a mental trick like, “maybe I’ll pass if I take the real exam at a testing center and not from my home office.” Checking in, storing my personal intems in a locker, showing photo ID, taking a photo, and signing an NDA made the experience very real. I won’t go into any specifics for obvious reasons, but do take the Measure Up exams to get a sense of what to expect come exam time. I nearly took up all of the alloted time for the exam and decided to be at peace with whatever the results I earned. When “PASS” appeared next to “Result:” on the results screen, I did my best speed reading to see if I was missing something. It wasn’t until I saw “Congratulations! You have passed…” that it started to feel real.

What’s Next:

Passing the certification feels wonderful, but the reality is one will never fully know everything about Power BI. Power BI is constantly changing and evolving. Like, on-object editing for example. That didn’t exist when I started working in the Power BI. And then there’s the AI and it’s influence on how we work with tools and technology. For now, my first priority is to get better at writing DAX!

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