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Tips and Strategies for the A00-232 SAS Advanced Programming Performance-Based Certification Exam

Started ‎03-24-2020 by
Modified ‎03-24-2020 by
Views 29,788

You have decided that you are ready to take your next step on your SAS certification journey and are ready to go for the SAS Certified Professional: Advanced Programming Using SAS 9.4 credential. For those that are coming from the older SAS Base Programmer for SAS 9 credential, this will be your first performance-based exam. Those of you that have earned our newer SAS Certified Specialist: Base Programming Using SAS 9.4 credential have already tackled a performance-based exam, but there is still room for some pointers to explain some differences and tips for this exam.


First, as always, review the information on the credential web page. This includes a video demonstration of the exam experience that will show you the beginning of the exam. You don't want to miss this, as it will help you set-up your lab environment quickly and smoothly.


Next, let's talk about the big difference between this exam and the Base Programming Specialist performance-based exam. First, on the Base Programming exam, you answered questions about your output data sets to determine if you completed the projects correctly. The Advanced Programming Professional exam is different. Because you are being assessed on specific skills, we place more emphasis on your code to be sure that you solved the problem as described. For example, if the project asked you to solve a problem with PROC SQL, we need to ensure that you actually used PROC SQL and not a DATA Step. To accomplish this, you will run a saved SAS Macro against your completed solution, and this macro will evaluate both the content of your code and the output of your code. There is still a lot of flexibility for you to write your own code, we aren't looking for an exact match to a specific 'answer-key' program, as we know there different ways to get to the same solution. More information about the scoring macro and how to use it is in the video on the credential page linked above.


Another small difference from the Specialist exam is that you don't need to define libraries on the advanced exam. That is done automatically when you start SAS. This is explained in the exam introduction, but we have noticed that some candidates overlook this point.


You will create some SAS Macro programs during this exam. Some syntax errors (like unbalanced quotes or missing semicolons) that are rather harmless in DATA Step programs can cause weird problems when they occur in SAS Macro code. Resubmitting your code after fixing the error doesn’t resolve the problem in SAS and you can find yourself stuck with repeated, unexpected messages in your log. If you get notes in your logs such as “The quoted string currently being processed has become more than 262 characters long”, you have arrived in “confused quote-land.” If this happens to you, you should save your programs, close your SAS application, then reopen it and edit your program. Don’t worry about remembering this specific error message, we provide a reminder within the macro questions on the exam in case it happens to you so that you can get back on track quickly.


And to help you along with your prep, here are 3 papers from SAS conferences to supplement your studying, one from each topic area of the exam:

I know that all of this is a lot to digest. One final pointer: If, during your thorough review of the credential web page, you didn't notice that the practice exam is currently free, go back now and take a look at the "Training & Exam Preparation" section for the link to this valuable resource.


Good luck with your exam prep - you can do this!



is there practice exam we can buy from sas just like before?

@rimal_mahesh Go back and read the last paragraph of the article,  I think you will like what you see. 

Hi, How many statments? Adv Cert Book  chap 1 2nd question is answer right? What about Quit statement?

  1. How many statements does the program below contain?

proc sql;

select grapes,oranges,

grapes + oranges as sumsales

from certadv.produce

order by sumsales;


  1. two
  2. three
  3. four
  4. five
  1. Correct answer: a

There are two statements, the PROC SQL statement and the SELECT statement. The

SELECT statement contains three clauses: the SELECT clause, the FROM clause,

and the ORDER BY clause.

@rimal_mahesh May I suggest that you ask future questions in Certification Communities forum - you will get a lot more eyes and faster, better answers than asking them here in this article. 

You are correct, the rationale does not account for the quit statement. 

SAS 9.4 Base Performance Based Delta exam had both programming questions and standard exam questions. Does SAS 9.4 Advanced Prgm Performance Based Delta exam also have both - programming & standard questions? If yes, would you be able to tell me what is the split (in terms of number of questions)?

 Hi @bertak - We list the breakdown on the exam information page, the second link in the article above.

Hi Mark, that only gives the breakdown (10-15 programming projects and 10-15 standard exam questions) for the Performance Based Advanaced Prgm exam, not Delta exam (It is 75 minutes, 14-18 questions, and costs $75 USD.). Do you have more details on the Delta exam?

It is a similar % breakdown as the standard exam and contains both performance-based and standard questions.

Hi All,


Kindly assist. I recently took the exam advanced programming and did not go well mainly because the instructions for saving was a bit confusing to me . They will say save in 'c:/cert/programs' and use %scoreit(SQL02) at the end. I have been getting errors when i try to save probably because i did not understand it will say use the path on the %scoreit however that will give an error too. 


Also the questions on the LAB will ask what is the SAS response code ? 

They will also be a section to add a comment ?

This has been very confusing to me. 


I am planning to retake the exam however i need assistance to understand the above . 


@u57952019 Have you reviewed the video linked in the second paragraph above? It includes a demo that shows how to save files and also run the scoreit macro. There is a section to add comments but that is not factored into the scoring of the exam.

@Mark2010  Thank you for your respond. Yes i clicked the link it takes me here Exam Prep | SAS. Which tab do i need to click to access the video.



@u57952019 Odd. the link should take you here: 

and if you scroll down just a little you will see:



@Mark2010  This was too helpful. I did not know how to save my code. Wish i knew this before i wrote . All my lab codes were  not saved. I thank you .



Passed "SAS 9.4 Advanced Programming -- Performance-Based Exam (Beta)"  on 2019, Do I need to take "SAS 9.4 Advanced Program Performance Based Delta" as well ? What's the difference between these two tests?


Thanks for the help in Advance!!!


The 'delta' exams allow people who held the older "Base Programmer" and "Advanced Programmer" (the A00-211 and the A00-212 exams) to earn the newest "Base Programming Specialist" and "Advanced Programming Professional" with a shorter, cheaper exam (The A00-233 and A00-234 respectively) rather than taking the full exam (A00-231 and A00-232 respectively). 


The delta exams will be retired Dec 31, 2021, but until then eligible candidates can take the delta exam _ONE_ time for free. More details:  

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