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Oct 29, 2007

ITIL Foundations Exam - Go/No Go?

Some of my friends and colleagues sat the ITIL V3 Foundations exam this week. Since I am in the business for some time, I helped them prepare. Of course, I was anxious what do the training, materials and the exam look like. I have seen some critiques and exam reviews in blogosphere, and first impression was that things are not very pink (ha, get it?).

I have read all five books this summer (some of them a few times) and my impression was that in 3 days of Foundations training you can't cover much more then some kind of extended glossary for these 32 ITIL V3 disciplines. People had two days to cover 11 disciplines (Processes/function(s)) in V2. Extending a training for one day to accommodate (a lot) more then 50% of increase in scope looks very brave and optimistic. What do the students say?

From what can be seen in student materials and exam questions, authors had a very high opinion on future attendees. Preparation questions were easy for me, I think I could guess my way thru at least 30 questions. But the EXIN set of exam questios was completely different thing. Without preparation, I would have flunked flat on this one.
I have no particular objection to the questions, they are understandable, do not suffer from English/English phrases and questions were rather equally divided between lifecycle stages. They were just too difficult for an introductory course.

Some of the new prep and real questions can be found on the web.

I have read somewhere that the syllabus is going to change a lot in Q1 2008. All the problems occurring in this phase were expected (at least by me), since this is all a matter of rough feedback-based tuning. So the first exam candidates will pay the price. If someone asked me, I would not sit an ITIL exam for at least six next months, like I wouldn't buy any (not even Japanese) car if a model is less then a year old. People invest three work days, some money and a piece of professional reputation here, only to end up ITIL exam guinea pigs. They should at least get some benefits for that (better price, longer training, free attempts...).

For now, the only thing stimulating people to show up on an exam is their ignorance. And some hype too. Everybody's doing IT(IL). But OGC and APMG people should have in mind that the Market is a bitch.


francois said...

Hello Doctor,

very interesting post indeed.

I am taking the foundation exam on May 28 and I am looking for some prep tests that would be as closed as the real exam ...

I found that:

any comment? any other pointer to provide, free is possible?
(I found a couple of other free tests but not sure whether they are close enough to the real test...)

Also as study material I am using the following book

Do you agree that it is a good one for studying for the foundation exam?


doctor said...

Well, Francois,

Itilprime sure looks like a good site, if they are using real exam questions, then $49 for 240 questions in simulated real environvent with basic e-learning features is money well spent.

The book you chose is very good for introduction and understanding of ITIL V3. Be sure to know your syllabus since the covers much more then it is required on exams. There are a number of free info on web about the exam. If you want to see the questions, see for example If you need more info, ask ITSMdoc at gmail dot com.

francois said...

Hello Doctor,

Thanks for those insights!
I passed ITIL v3 this morning with a 85/100 score :-)

Your blog is one of the best source of information I had found about ITIL (quite frankly the official site are not very user-friendly ...) I particularly liked the mind map to get the big picture ... easier to digest than 5 books of 400+ pages each ;-)

I'd like to summarize how I got ready for the exam, it might be interesting for self-trained candidate who are not willing to pay a 1000+ $ training.

1. Read the syllabus to focus your reading on what you are supposed to know
2. download the mindmap for this site and get acquainted with the structure of ITIL
3. Start to study:
buy or borrow the OGC 5 books (strategy, design, transition, operation, CSI) OR buy the official study book: Passing Your ITIL Foundation Exam

There are some e-learning option on the web as well ... did not try them so could not tell what they are worth ...

4. Take at least 5 prep exams.
I did not try but it seems they are good ... I browse the web to find some other free prep exams ...

Overall I spent:

*3-5 hours gathering all information about ITIL and the exam
*10-15 hours of self study
*3 hours on prep exam

I did not spent a $ besides the registration fee (170$) (borrowed the study books to a friend)

Hope this can helps some of you getting prepared for the exam ... I will receive follow-up comments on this post, so please ask if you have specific question will try to answer.


doctor said...


damn, this comment looks like the poor blogger wrote it himself in desperate need for attention and never received maternal love :)

Nevertheless, congrats on your brave self-trained adventure. So it can be done! Bravo.

Thanks for the comment, it will probably be of help to some of the future self-trained people.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for an informative blog. please tell
how to open mmap files or links?

doctor said...

Hi Asheesh,

Thanks for your comment.

To view the files you have to have MindManager Viewer for .mmap files and Adobe Acrobat viewer for .pdf files.

Just rightclick on document links and say "save target" to store it as your local copy of document.


catty said...


i am a QA Engineer and i am keen to knw that what benefits i will be getting in my profile if i opt for itil foundation certificate.I have 4 yrs of exp in industry .

doctor said...


for a QA engineer it should be very easy to understand and learn the ITIL best practices idea, and then decide if you want to go towards ISO20k or go higher in ITIL certification. Or nothing.

ITIL Foundation is valuable certificate and is in demand on job market worldwide, so recomendeed!

best, doc

Anonymous said...

advide me
after unzip ITILv3 and get this files and folders..
bin and xsd folder + doccument.xml +.png

doctor said...

Sorry Anon,

I cannot reproduce the problem. I see all the files in .mpp or .pdf form. Can anyone else help?

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

This is a inquiry for the webmaster/admin here at

Can I use part of the information from your post above if I provide a link back to your site?


doctor said...

@William: but of course.
Mind you, this is a post from 2007, but feel free to quote if you wish.

Have a nice day!

Kyle said...

Thank you doc for sharing us info and elaborating more about ITIL course I also found your link and visited on the itil bootcamp.