What Is the PL-300 Exam?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Discover the potential career benefits of obtaining a Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst Associate certificate through the PL-300 exam.

[Featured Image] An aspiring data analyst sits at his laptop in his home office and prepares to earn the PL-300 certification.

Microsoft's Power BI system is a suite of software services, applications, and connectors that help businesses transform distinct data sources into cohesive, interactive, and visually engaging insights. An expansive toolkit, Power BI caters to various team roles, including analysts, developers, and sales professionals.

To start working with the Power BI system, the PL-300 exam by Microsoft assesses your proficiency as a data analyst in using Power BI. Passing the exam can arm you with the vital skills needed to create data visualizations, configure data solutions, and support self-service analytics.

Read on to learn about the specifics of the PL-300 exam, including who may want to take it, how to train for it, and the benefits of passing it.

Who is the PL-300 exam for?

Microsoft recommends you take the Exam PL-300: Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst if you:

  • Have expertise in designing and developing scalable data models

  • Are adept at cleansing and transforming data.

  • Use advanced analytics to generate informative data visualizations

The exam is well-suited for business users and professionals specializing in data analysis, who aim to derive actionable insights from corporate data assets through advanced analytics.

Completing the PL-300 exam earns you the Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst Associate certification, which helps data analysts maximize businesses’ value of data assets using Microsoft Power BI.

PL-300 exam areas of assessment

The PL-300 exam can gauge your proficiency and skills across the following four domain areas:

  1. Prepare the data (25 to 30 percent of the exam). The “prepare the data” section tests your abilities in gathering, cleansing, and restructuring data.

  2. Model the data (25 to 30 percent of the exam). This exam portion evaluates your proficiency in crafting and executing a data model, performing model calculations through data analysis expressions (DAX), and enhancing model performance.

  3. Visualize and analyze the data (25 to 30 percent of the exam). In this segment, your ability to generate reports, improve their usability, and discover patterns and trends within data is tested.

  4. Deploy and maintain items (15 to 20 percent of the exam). The section of the exam focusing on "deploy and maintain items" validates your expertise in setting up and governing workspaces and items and overseeing semantic models.

To achieve a passing grade on this exam, you need to score at least 700 [1]. 

How much is the PL-300 exam?

The cost of the PL-300 exam is subject to variation depending on the country or region where you choose to take the test. If you are in the United States, the exam fee is $165 [1].

What are the language choices for the PL-300 exam?

The PL-300 exam is available in English, Japanese, Korean, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazil), Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Arabic (Saudi Arabia), Russian, Italian, and Indonesian (Indonesia). The English edition of the exam was revised on February 6, 2024. In the event that the exam is not available in your preferred language, Microsoft permits you an extra 30 minutes to finish the exam.

Note that the English version of the PL-300 exam is the first to receive updates from Microsoft. Subsequently, updates for exams localized into other languages are rolled out approximately eight weeks after the English version has undergone updates.

What salary could you earn with PL-300?

According to multiple job listing sites, Microsoft’s PL-300 exam is a step toward becoming a skilled Power BI data analyst, earning an average annual salary ranging from $68,067 to $105,610. The following table lists the base pay provided by Payscale, ZipRecruiter, Salary.com, and Glassdoor [2,3,4,5].


Much of your work as a Power BI data analyst could center on modifying or transforming data using Power BI capabilities, such as R integration, data visualization, DAX, and predictive analytics. It’s worth noting that the job outlook for data professionals is promising, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Between 2022 and 2032, the BLS projects a 35 percent increase in data scientist jobs [6]. The estimate is an equivalent of roughly 17,700 new job openings per year during the forecast period [6].

Benefits of taking the PL-300 exam

Microsoft exams and certifications are globally recognized, enhancing your appeal as a BI job candidate. Other notable benefits of taking the PL-300 exam include:

  • Increased pay: Earning a certification through Microsoft, like the PL-300, can give you accreditation and potentially boost your pay. According to Pearson’s 2023 Value of IT Certification survey, 37 percent of respondents reported receiving a salary increase of at least 20 percent for obtaining an IT certification [7].

  • Enhanced skill set: Having a role-based certification gives you an edge over your non-certified peers.

Cons of taking PL-300 exam 

While pursuing Microsoft’s PL-300 exam can be beneficial, make sure you weigh the following factors:

  • Some employers may prioritize hands-on experience and a proven track record of projects over a formal certification.

  • Meeting the prerequisites for the PL-300 exam may require additional learning and preparation, depending on your existing skill set.

How to register for PL-300

You can register for PL-300 through the exam details page on Microsoft's website. You may choose to take the exam either at a local test center or online. The online proctored exam route enables you to take the exam from the comfort of your home or office. Test centers are ideal if you prefer a pre-arranged test environment that doesn’t require downloading software to comply with Microsoft's security standards.

You can schedule a maximum of two Microsoft Certification exams simultaneously on the same day or on separate days via Pearson VUE. Once you complete or cancel one of your scheduled exams, you can proceed to register for another.

Note: Exam registration may require signing into or creating a personal Microsoft account (MSA). 


Training for PL-300

Microsoft offers self-paced and instructor-led learning options to ease your preparation for the PL-300 exam. Here’s a brief overview of each:

Self-paced training

The self-paced learning option comprises up to five learning paths, all of which do not require any prerequisite knowledge or skills:

  1. Get started with Microsoft data analytics (two modules). Through this course, you can explore the vital role of business intelligence (BI) within enterprises. Additionally, you can learn how a data analyst employs Power BI tools to craft captivating reports and dashboards.

  2. Prepare data for analysis with Power BI (two modules). In this course, you'll learn how to use Power Query to fetch data, select storage modes, and determine connectivity methods. Furthermore, you will learn the techniques of cleaning and organizing your data for analysis.

  3. Model data with Power BI (nine modules). This learning path allows you to explore the Power BI semantic model, decide on the optimal data loading approach, and construct a robust semantic model for deriving insights.

  4. Build Power BI visuals and reports (six modules). This course focuses on Power BI Desktop visuals and reports for transforming data into actionable and engaging insights.

  5. Manage workspaces and data sets in Power BI (four modules). This last course teaches you how to upload Power BI reports, set up workspaces, oversee related items, and ensure timely data refreshes. Additionally, you can learn to enforce row-level security to streamline data access.


The instructor-led learning option includes a three-day, intermediate-level Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst course that provides insights into retrieving and processing data from multiple sources, including relational and non-relational databases. The course also covers the management and deployment of reports and dashboards.

The five modules within the Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst instructor-led course are:

  1. Discover data analysis (six units). Within this module, you can delve into the various job roles concerning data and gain insights into the tasks undertaken by a data analyst.

  2. Get started building with Power BI (six units). With this module, you'll learn about Power BI, including its fundamental elements and workflow, and how to craft interactive reports.

  3. Get data in Power BI (13 units). This module covers efficient data extraction from multiple data sources, including Microsoft Excel and NoSQL data stores, focusing on optimizing performance.

  4. Clean, transform, and load data in Power BI (10 units). This module unveils Power Query's array of data cleaning and preparation features. Furthermore, you can learn the techniques to simplify models, adjust data types, pivot data, and more.

  5. Design a semantic model in Power BI (10 units). This module offers you insights into building date tables, handling circular relationships, designing star schemas, and setting up many-to-many relationships.

PL-300 exam vs. PL-900 exam: What’s the difference?  

The PL-900, another exam by Microsoft, evaluates your competency in developing solutions with Microsoft Power Platform. This contrasts the PL-300 exam, which tests your capability to utilize Power BI for data manipulation. In particular, PL-300 tests your Power BI skills, while PL-900 tests your knowledge across Power BI, Power Apps, and Power Automate technologies.

If you're looking to specialize in Power BI, the PL-300 exam is a suitable choice. Alternatively, for a comprehensive grasp of Microsoft's Power Platform, consider taking the PL-900 exam.

Get started with Coursera.

A certification like the PL-300 from Microsoft can help boost your credibility as a Power BI data analyst. Get a head start on preparing for the certification exam by enrolling in the Microsoft PL-300 Exam Preparation and Practice course provided by Microsoft on Coursera. Intended for beginners, this course features a mock exam that closely resembles the format and content of the Microsoft PL-300 exam.

Additionally, this course provides guidance on registering for the Microsoft PL-300 proctored exam, along with exam tips, tricks, testing strategies, and study resources. The estimated time to complete this course is approximately 36 hours. Upon successful completion, you will earn a shareable certificate.

Article sources


Microsoft. “Exam PL-300: Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst, https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/credentials/certifications/exams/pl-300/.” Accessed on March 15, 2024.

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