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SQL statements with subqueries

Updating data using subqueries

Observe the two tables students and courses below. The courseId in students is a reference to id in the courses table, to hold the information related to the course the student is enrolled in.

Let’s say we want to add a column courseName to the students table. This column should store the actual name of the course, the courseId is referencing to.

To do so, we need to UPDATE each row of record with a specific data relevant to that row (course information). This can only be achieved by a subquery that gets the name of the course for courseId in each row. Observe the subquery in the SET clause in UPDATE statement below.

Notice two things about the above UPDATE statement.

  1. The value to be set in UPDATE clause for a column should be a single value (not a list), hence the LIMIT 1 in the subquery
  2. The subquery is a correlated subquery, as it utilizes the courseId column from students table in the parent statement