First of all, congratulations for deciding to get prepared for this exam. You apparently have lots of guts and determination! To my honest belief, this was a demanding exam that required focus and discipline in order to pass it. I was not confident that I would be able to get a Pass on the first time.
Initially, I got myself highly motivated by Thomas Maurer and his references on LinkedIn, thing that let me search for posts on his personal site. Although I do not know him personally, I consider myself a vivid enjoyer of his posts, which I have several times shared across socials and I highly recommend to follow him on Linkedin. For this post and references to his site, profile and contribution, his permission has also been granted (Thank you very much, Thomas).
So, how I got myself prepared?
Step 1: Carefully read Thomas’s post DP-300 Study Guide Azure Database Administrator – Thomas Maurer over and over throughout the exam date (Step 9). This has been my compass while getting prepared and probably one of few pages that left permanently open on all my web browsers as I had to constantly check things and suggestions.
Then, i visited this page and downloaded the exam’s outline to have a personal reference of what is it expected (Thomas has references/links on his site as well; I wanted a draft/text version of it).
Step 2: Create a Microsoft Learning Account (if not having already) and study for AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals. This should give you a good perspective of Azure, and a base to continue learning further. In case you are familiar or an intermediate on Azure, you can skip this step.
Step 3: Study through Introduction to Azure SQL – Learn | Microsoft Docs to be able to understand what is Azure SQL, determine deployment options vs workloads and identify purchasing models, service tiers and hardware that best fit them.
Step 4: Go back and validate you clearly understand AZ-900 and Azure SQL Fundamentals.
Step 5: Study through DP-300: Administering Relational Databases on Microsoft Azure – Learn | Microsoft Docs. I had it going on and on for over a month’s time, reading and doing the knowledge questions at the end.
Step 6: Go back and validate your knowledge. At this point (and a couple of months later, or more), you should have scratched out Thomas’s list of recommended studying (or most of it) and have a clear understanding of the above topics.
Step 7: Create and study several dozens of questions with references to the answers (official modules provide few questions to test your knowledge). This will require extensive time and focus as you will have to go back and forth across several MS course modules but it has been an enormous help to me during my preparation. I decided to create questions based on subjects I was feeling insecure about so I could afterwards memorize them. It has been a good recipe throughout my academic years, after all, and a good way to permanently save information in my mind.
As you have been studying the course material by now, you should be able to at least identify a large portion of answers and find out the Domains you are weaker at. Keep focusing on the ones you are less confident to answer but review the others regularly. The amount of time you decide to spend on Step 7 is entirely up to you.
Step 8: Schedule your exam. I decided to schedule my exam shortly after I completed Step 7, in order to have an extra means of pressure to try harder and an extra motive to keep me focusing.
Step 9: The exam itself. Online proctored. Time provided was satisfactory to myself. An advice here: Check the schematics/screenshots and read the scenarios and prerequisites carefully, every time (if) a question provides them. I was quite stressed at some point, so I was stuck looking 2 questions for about 30 minutes. Post-thinking about it, I could have done much better, overall.
Step 10: Post-exam. You get a report of how you did. Actually, this is quite useful because it helps everyone focus and strengthen the parts that performed weaker, so, thank you Microsoft.
Finally, patience, studying efforts, sleepless nights and family support are rewarded by a badge, exam’s transcript and a certification in Microsoft Learning Dashboard.
I wish you the best of luck if you decide to go after it!