The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is the most widely accepted approach to IT service management in the world. ITIL can help individuals and organizations leverage IT in pursuing and achieving the business strategic objectives, and that is why many organizations in all sectors, including government and private, are adopting the ITIL framework.

The ITIL certification scheme is comprised of a series of qualifications focused on different aspects of ITIL to various degrees of depth and detail. In the ITIL certification scheme, the Foundation Level is the entry level qualification and offers a general awareness of the key elements, concepts and terminology used in the ITIL service Lifecycle, and is the beginning of the road for professionals aiming at gaining knowledge, pursuing a career and getting certified in ITIL best practices.

In this article we present a concise 10-step procedure to study for the ITIL foundation certification exam and increase your chances of success:

1. - Have a Clear Reason and Objective for Pursuing the ITIL Foundation Level Certification

Many professionals pursue these qualifications simply because the labor market demand’s it, without understanding what is ITIL, its scope and application. Before beginning a career in ITIL, develop a clear understanding of what is, in which scope is applied and how it relates to your short term and long term career objectives.

2. - If You Have Little or No Prior Knowledge of ITIL Foundation, Take a Training Course

No matter how seasoned you are as an Information Technology (IT) professional, if you have little or no previous exposure to the ITIL framework, it is recommended to take a training course in order to significantly increase your speed of learning and getting prepared for the ITIL certification exam (as opposed to self-study only). It is recommended to get this training from an Accredited Training Organization (ATO), as these institutions have the latest approved course materials and appropriate training methodology, and may offer the service of administering the ITIL foundation level certification exam at their facilities.

3. - During the Training Course (If You Chose to Enroll in One), Take Notes and Develop Mind Maps

Gather all training materials provided by the training institution (Guides, Practical Exercises, etc.) and develop your own notes, summaries and mind maps of the training course content. Also, actively participate in the course and ask questions.

4. - Gather Additional Study Materials

In addition to the guides and materials provided to you at the training course (if you chose to take one), look for the official ITIL Foundation Syllabus and other materials from Axelos Best Practice, the company that sponsors ITIL.

5. - Make at Least to Full Readings of All Study Materials, Preparing Your Own Notes

  • First, make a full reading of the official ITIL foundation level syllabus, training course guides if you have them, and additional study materials that you have gathered.
  • Then, make a full second reading, this time taking notes, summarizing the information you are reading, highlighting unknown concepts to explore in more detail and developing mind maps.
  • Finally make a full pass of all your notes and summaries.

6. - Take a Few Practice Exams

Search the web to find practice exam that you can use to get a feel of how the actual exam is like and to assess your preparedness. Try to recreate exam conditions as close as possible, using the same time limits and not using support materials. Once you take the exam, evaluate the results and identify areas in which you may have knowledge gaps.

7. - Make Another Pass at Study Materials, Focusing on Identified Knowledge Gaps

Go through all your study materials (including the ITIL foundation syllabus and training course guides) and through all your notes, summaries and mind maps again, but this time, focus on areas in which you identified knowledge gaps after you took practice exams. You may also focus on areas in which you are less experienced or less knowledgeable. In necessary, take practice exams again and assess new results, repeating steps six and seven until you score better on the practice exams.

8. - Make a Final Reading

Once you feel ready, make a final read of all study materials, notes, summaries and mind maps, modifying them is necessary.

9. - Make the Arrangements to Take the Exam

If you took a training course at an Accredited Training Institution (ATO), the course provider may also provide you with examination services, in which they administer the exam and provide you with a facility (a classroom). You may also make arrangements directly with an ITIL Examination Institute licensed by Axelos Best Practice, such as APMG International among others.

10. - Take the ITIL Foundation Level Qualification Exam

The foundation level qualification exam is aimed at assessing if the candidate is knowledgeable of ITIL concepts, processes and service areas. Its focus is not on situational or practical questions.

It is a closed book, multiple choice, 40 questions examination, with a 60 minutes duration. Twenty six (26) correct answers are required to pass (out of 40), approximately 65%.

For more information about the ITIL foundation level certification and exam, we recommend visiting the Axelos Best Practice ITIL Official Site.

And You? What Do You Think?

Are you preparing for or did you take the ITIL foundation level certification exam? what steps did you follow to prepare for the exam? Would you add any additional step? Please share your thoughts.