Data analysts make an average of $100,000 per year. It’s not a bad gig, especially if you continue to upskill yourself in data technologies, like the Microsoft Data Stack.

The PL-300 exam is your ticket to opening up more doors as a Microsoft Power BI data analyst. If you’re ready to gain some killer data analytics skills to beef up your resume and fast-track your career, you’ll need to take (and pass) the PL-300 exam. Here’s more about this exam, along with some recommendations and resources.

Part 2: What is the PL-300 Exam? The PL-300 exam measures your ability to identify business requirements, clean and transform data, build data models, deliver actionable insights, enable others to perform self-service analytics, and deploy solutions for consumption using Power BI.

The PL-300 also tests your proficiency in Power Query with writing simple expressions using DAX and publishing solutions to the Power BI Service (

The skills are divided into four functional groups:

  1. Prepare data (15-20%): Get data from different sources; clean, transform, and load the data.
  2. Model data (30-35%): Design and create a data model; perform a model calculation with DAX; optimize model performance.
  3. Visualize and analyze data (25-30%): Create reports and dashboards; enhance reports for usability and storytelling; Identify patterns and trends.
  4. Deploy and maintain assets (20-25%): Manage files and datasets; manage workspaces.

Part 3: Are DA-100 and PL-300 the Same? While Microsoft is replacing the DA-100 Data Analyst Associate Certification with PL-300 Power BI Data Analyst Certification, these two exams are not the same.

The main difference is that PL-300 requires candidates to demonstrate the ability to deploy and maintain Power BI assets and have intimate knowledge of the Power BI Service and administration capabilities. This requirement means that besides completing the learning path and understanding the concepts, you must get some experience to build, deploy, and maintain solutions.

In short, Microsoft has upped the ante in the PL-300 exam, making it harder for “textbook” style learners and armchair data analysts to muddle through.

Part 4: Is PL-300 Easy? No, it’s not easy at all.

You could pass DA-100 by dabbling with Power BI, creating a few reports, and publishing them to the web. But as I mentioned above, PL-300 also requires candidates to know how to build and deploy real-world solutions—which is the hard part.

Passing the exam is challenging unless you already work at an organization that has adopted Power BI, living and breathing the processes of deploying and maintaining assets. Or you’re just an evil genius who can learn everything from documentation and tutorials.

Part 5: How Long Does the PL-300 Exam Take? You have 100 minutes to answer 40 to 60 questions in different formats, including multiple-choice, true/false, drag and drop, list builds, and case studies. You can take the test online or at a local testing center.

Tips for Passing the PL-300 Exam Here are some steps to help you prepare for your PL-300 exam:

  1. Download the study guide. Download the PL-300 study guide and review the skill outline for each functional group line item by line item.
  2. Complete the learning path. To complete the PL-300 exam learning path, visit the PL-300 homepage and select the “Online-Free” option to access all the learning modules.
  3. Leverage resources and community. Participate in a Dashboard in a Day (DIAD) workshop from Microsoft partners or join a local Power BI user group to learn from others in the community.
  4. Get support from a study partner or group. Find a study partner or group to work through the material and practice exam questions with.
  5. Learn from sample exam questions. Visit the exam sandbox to get a taste of all the different question types and familiarize yourself with the exam’s user interface.