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Monday, March 7, 2016

GUIDELINES TO CLEAR ISTQB(CTFL) CERTIFICATION IN YOUR FIRST ATTEMPT !

3:19:00 AM Posted by Prashant Hegde 74 comments

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Certifications help us expand our knowledge base beyond that of our everyday tasks. I take online certifications, tests, and courses when I get spare time. I do not consider getting certified as an achievement but it is a great aid for learning and self-assessment. 
ISTQB is the worldwide leader in the certification of competencies in software testing. ISTQB certifications are recognized globally with their presence in more than 100 countries. The syllabus for the certification is developed and reviewed by leading testing professionals from academia and industry. 

I am part of google group called Software Testing where I see thousands of group members who constantly keep asking how to clear the exams. Several keep asking for question paper dumps. So I thought of sharing my strategy and learning with all the ISTQB aspirants.

SUCCESS STORY OF RAZORTHINK QA TEAM

As a leader, I constantly keep thinking of how I can grow my team's skills. The idea of getting certified from ISTQB hit me. I thought that getting certified would demonstrate the competency of the QA team in their profession.  Within no time I scheduled a meeting with my team. They were excited by the idea and agreed without a second thought. Our director Mr.Vinay Chandra encouraged me to go ahead and was more than happy to sponsor for the certifications.


Our QA team works in an agile environment with aggressive deadlines. So the challenge was to figure out how to accomplish this goal in our busy schedules, without harming our projects task. I thought of arranging a corporate training on a weekend to get this done. Guess what? The training cost for a 2-day session was quoted close to 1,00,000 INR which is way too expensive! Also one cannot grasp all the concepts in the syllabus within a couple of days.

We decided to go for ISTQB certifications by self-study. I was little skeptical initially if we could do it without any help but I was confident that we could do it if we plan well. The first thing I did was to register for ISTQB corporate exam and scheduled it after 3 months.This was necessary to make everyone serious about the exams.


I engaged the team in activities that helped them in preparation. I conducted weekly presentation where few of the team members would present chapter wise topics from ISTQB syllabus. I conducted chapter wise mock tests after completion of presentations.  The team was busy on the weekends and dedicated their time to study as they had to prepare for chapter-wise mock tests. The person who scored the least had to prepare and present the concepts in the next chapter to the team. This ensured that everyone in the team is preparing well as we advanced to the exam date (everyone prepared well at-least to avoid giving presentations ;). The weekly presentation sessions also helped many to overcome their stage-fear and improve their communication skills.

Everyone was a little nervous on the day of the exam. 

It took about 2 months by the time we completed the syllabus. We had planned in a way that we got sufficient time to revise. I conducted 3-4 mock tests of the entire syllabus. By this time the team was well prepared and knew how to manage time in the real exam. The mock tests boosted their confidence and we were all set for the exams. 

My team cleared the certification with flying colors. I secured 88 percent in the exams.


Hope this story motivates you to clear the certifications. Below are few tips from my experience that will help you clear the examination:

READ BOTH THE TEXT BOOK AND SYLLABUS - NOT ONCE BUT TWICE

Foundation of Software Testing: ISTQB Certification” by Rex Black, Dorothy Graham is the recommended text book. You need not have to read any other text book. 



Click to buy on Amazon

ISTQB syllabus is your bible. Text book explains every concept in detail with elaborate examples. The ISTQB syllabus is like notes made by summarizing the text book. You might not understand several concepts if you directly read the syllabus. So read the text book first and then the syllabus.

Do go through the testing GLOSSARY. There are several terminologies used in the text book and syllabus which requires you to go through the glossary.

DO NOT RELY ON DUMPS!

Several ISTQB aspirants are misled with the concept that they can clear the exam just by solving few dumps that are available online without any preparations.

SOLVE the questions that are available online. They help you to understand the nature of questions that will appear in the exam, it might also boost your confidence a bit but NEVER rely only on question paper dumps! You cannot clear the exams by only solving the question dumps. There are several dumps available online with incorrect answers which might confuse you. 

Solve the questions in the text book. The text book has questions after every chapter. Do not forget to solve them. These questions are much more useful than the questions that are in the dumps. You can also solve the sample questions provided by several ISTQB boards.

UNDERSTAND THE STRUCTURE OF THE EXAM!

Foundation Level exam can be taken online or you can opt for a written exam. The test has 40 multiple choice questions.The passing percentage is 65%. You need 26 marks to get through the exam. The good part is there is no negative marking for incorrect answers.

Understand the distribution of questions per cognitive level. Concentrate on K1 questions from where you get 50% of the questions in your exams. K1 questions are straight forward and easier to answer than questions of other cognitive levels. Prepare in such a way that you never make a mistake in answering a K1 question, it greatly increases your chance of clearing ISTQB exam.



Understand how the questions are distributed per chapter from the diagram below. You can focus your efforts on more important chapters and not waste your time on the chapters from which you might get the only couple of questions. I do not mean that you skip these chapters but focus on the chapters with from where you get more number of questions. Do not skip any chapter if you want to clear ISTQB exams.The table below also helps you a
nalyze the questions per cognitive level for every chapter.

Click here for more details on ISTQB exam structure.

NOTE, REVISE, TEACH


Write notes and record important ideas from your textbook. Writing is a will not only help you learn more effectively, it will also help you revise all the concepts.Your brain has three kinds of memory cells: sound, sight, and feel. The best kind of learning occurs when you use all three at the same time. When writing notes you see the words, you say them in your mind and you are using your movement senses as you write them down on the paper.

People only remember about 20% of the information they read after 24 hours. So revision is the key to make sure that what you read does not slip away. Instead of highlighting or underlining textbooks you can:

· Produce mind maps
· Recall what you have just read and test yourself.

Form a study group and practice teaching your learning with your group. Roman philosopher Seneca said, “While we teach, we learn”. Teaching others is a good way to understand and therefore you remember your notes. You learn better, recall better when you teach someone whatever you have learned.

BE OBSERVANT

Read the question twice before you mark the answers. Keep your eyes open for the words like NOT, NEVER in the questions else there is a chance that you may lose marks for simple questions. The same applies to the options. Several questions asked in the ISTQB certification are presented in such a way that all the options look similar.

DON'T GET STRUCK.  MOVE ON

Remember that every question carries only 1 mark. If you are unable to solve any particular problem don't waste too much time. You can keep that problem aside and try to solve it after completing more straight forward and easy questions. There is absolutely no reason to answer the questions in the order they are printed in the exam. I would recommend doing the easiest ones first.

BEWARE ONLINE EXAM TAKERS!

For online exams, you are provided with a backup sheet. You need to map the answers in this sheet so that you have a backup of the answers in the case of technical issues. Many candidates do not fill up this sheet. Please remember to mark the answers in the backup sheet, it's a life saver. In my case, when I submitted my answers there was an issue with internet connectivity and BOOM!



I had to mark all the answers again in 10 mins. If I did not map my answers in the backup sheet then I would be in a huge trouble. Do not panic if the same happens to you, be calm and mark the answers by referring the backup sheet and verify that you marked right answers again before you 'submit'.

CHAPTER WISE QUESTIONS

I had created chapter wise question for my team while preparing for ISTQB exams. I want to share them with all the ISTQB aspirants. Just taking these tests is not enough to clear the exams, However, they will help you with your preparations if you use them in the right way. Take these tests after you complete reading the textbook, syllabus, and glossary of each chapter and use it to assess yourself.

I have created an android app called "ISTQB Test Mentor" which will help you to access your preparation:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.istqbtestmentor&hl=en

Scan this QR code to download

There are 20 questions for each chapter and the time limit is 30 minutes. If you score more than 15 points in these tests, consider that you have prepared well. ISTQB Test mentor" app also has awesome features like glossary, mock exams and useful links to help your preparation.

Hope this helps. Feel free to comment and share your success stories.

74 comments:

Unknown said...

First of all congrats to you and your team as well. This is really very helpful for me to prepare. Kudos to your team...

Just Saying said...

A very inspirational story with very good informational content and advice!
Thank you for sharing!

Andrew Kim said...

Awesome

@AAA said...

Hi Prashant...Thanks for sharing your experience I have more than 5.5 yrs of Experience So I shall directly apply for Advance level? If yes then which is the best book recommended?

Vaibhav Devale said...

Hi Prashant ,
thanks for sharing the link

Neha Bansal said...

very nice

Grishma Kanzariya said...

Thank you for share your story. It create positive impression in mind

Harry Tor said...

Could I use this application for preparing to ISTQB Foundation Level Exam?
https://qa2go.com/
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.go2qa.qib

Prashant Hegde said...

@Harry Tor - Never used the app. However it looks promising, I will use the app and get back to you.

Swati said...

I'm getting an error after launching the web URL:
http://quizstar.4teachers.org/

Please see error:
Service Temporarily Unavailable

The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.

Prashant Hegde said...

@Swati - I think quizstar server was down for maintenance yesterday.I think it should be fine now.

Ram Manisoft said...

Very Impress and got new energy thanks!!!

knk said...

Hi Prashant... Congos to you and your team and thanks for sharing information. However, when I search for the class by Exact Match I do not get any results. And with the Keyword Search it gives lots of results. I copied and pasted the class name which you mentioned in your post. Please advise how to register for the class.

Prashant Hegde said...

@knk - If you are not able to register use this demo account
username - istqbdemo1
password - istqb123

Make sure you change your password later.

knk said...

Thanks for setting up the account Prashant!! Appreciate it!!

I was able to register but when I was search for the ISTQB community you mentioned I was not able to find it in the Classes or Quizzes. So wanted to know how I could actually do so. But anyways thank you.

Jasper said...

Tip for finding the course;
- After registering as a student, go to Search
- Select drop down menu 'Class title' and change it to 'keyword'
- Enter 'ISTQB' in the search field
- Click Keyword search
- Scroll down until you see 'ISTQB test for testing community Prashant Hegde
Public' (currently 4th from the bottom)
- Select the course
- Click register, you should get a confirmation that it worked
- Go to classes to enter the actual class.

Good luck everybody who takes the exam, I'm going for my own exam coming Friday after a self study course of over a month. I'm using these exams as my final preparation. (It's kind of funny how my steps are already a test case by themselves.) ;-)

Prashant Hegde said...

@Jasper - Thank you for posting the steps to enroll for the course. All the best for your exam!

Jasper said...

Dear Prashant,

I took your quiz for chapter 1 and I found 2 mistakes in your answers.
In the question that starts as "A company recently purchased a commercial off-the-shelf application to automate their bill-paying process."
You have 2 exact same answers, please fix this.

In the question that starts as "Deciding How much testing is enough should take into account" there is a word missing in the second answer.

Overall I found it a very tough quiz, you did a good job on designing it.

Prashant Hegde said...

@Jasper - Made the changes for the question - "A company recently purchased a commercial off-the-shelf application to automate their bill-paying process...."

The question "Deciding How much testing is enough should take into account" the answer seems to designed purposely to confuse the user.

Thank you for finding the mistakes. Please let me know if you find any more mistakes. I will fix them.

Jasper said...

I've taken the exams for ch. 1, 2, 3, and 4 so far and apart from chapter 1 I consistently have 90% scores. The exams are very challenging, but I think they also make for a very good preperation. I find myself studying the books even harder before taking your tests because I know that the smallest details might get asked.

After today I think I've made about 700 exam questions in total, read, practice, repeat. :-)

I can definitely recommend the exams as a preparation to everybody else.

Prashant Hegde said...

@Japer - Thank you. Please share this article to ISTQB aspirants so that everyone can be benefited by these tests.

Jasper said...

@Prashant, I'm actually thinking of starting a bi-weekly blog on testing in the near future. I intend to write an article about the usefulness of getting certified and how to go about it as well and I can put a link to your article in my post then. :-)

Meanwhile, I found some more bugs in the tests.

In the quiz for chapter 6:
Which of the following activities would improve how a tool is deployed within an organisation? This exact question is asked twice with answers that are almost identical, I think it's better to replace it with a unique question.

Which of the following matches the activity (i to iv) to its most suitable type of tool (p to s)?

There is a blank line between iii and iv instead of between iv and p. It's more of an annoyance than a real bug, but I would appreciate having it changed.

renuga R said...

Hi Prashant !

Today I cleared ISTBQ by 82% . Your article was very helpful for me .
Thank you so much ! Do you have any article for Agile / advanced certification?

Prashant Hegde said...

@Renuga - Congratulations!! Glad to hear back from you.

I have not taken any other certifications from ISTQB. So I have not written any articles for Agile / advanced certification.

Jasper said...

Hi Prashant,

I wanted to leave an update as well, I did my exam last Friday and just got my results. I passed with 80%. :-)

Prashant Hegde said...

@Jasper - Awesome!Well done.

Andreea Fedeles said...

Hello!
I have registered to your class, but it still doesn't appear in My Classes. Could you please approve it? Thanks in advance

Prashant Hegde said...

@Andreea Use these credentials

Username:Andreea9
Password: Andreea123

Please change your password later.

Andreea Fedeles said...

Thanks

Andreea Fedeles said...

Hello,
I took the quiz for the first chapter and I think that the question "A phone ringing in an adjacent cubicle momentarily distracts a programmer..." doesn't have the correct answer.

Prashant Hegde said...

@Andreea -Thank you. Updated the quiz with the right answer. Thank you.

Andreea Fedeles said...

I have another issue: For the question: "The success of testing is not influenced by the Psychological factor:". It seems to me that all of the four answer influence a test effectiveness. If you gain confidence in the quality of an app you may not test it so rigorously, if a developer tests his own code, he may be blind to his errors and if the testers don't communicate the defects in a nice way, they will become the black sheep and if everybody treats you poorly you are not in the mood to do a good job. Also, if you don't have clear objectives, you will not know what to do exactly. Could you please provide me the answer and justification? Thanks.

Prashant Hegde said...

1 .The success of testing is not influenced by the Psychological factor :
a) blindness to one's own errors
b) clear test objectives determine testers effectiveness.
c) gaining confidence about the level of quality and providing information.
d) courteous communication and feedback on defects.

ANSWER
The success of testing is influenced by psychological factors: (Kl)
• clear objectives;
• a balance of self-testing and independent testing;
• recognition of courteous communication and feedback on defects.

The mindset while testing and reviewing is different from the one we are developing. Most of the times is difficult to find our own mistakes. So a independent tester is often more effective at finding defects and failures than a developer. A tester always needs to report the bugs he finds in a neutral and fact focused way.The bug reports need to be raised against the software, not against the individual who made the mistake.
Option C is one of the objectives of testing and not a factor that will influence the success of testing. So the right answer

In ISTQB exam you might get such questions where you feel all four are the right answers, You need to choose the one which is closest to the answer or the one which makes more sense out of all the options.

Andreea Fedeles said...

Thanks

Andreea said...

Hello again,
I don't think that this is the definition of Inspection - A peer review that relies on visual examination of documents to detect defects, maybe you could review the answer to the questions.

Prashant Hegde said...

@Andreea: The answer is correct. Please refer Glossary for definition of Inspection.

Sanaa said...

Hi! I have registered for your class as well, but it fails to appear under 'Classes'. Could you please help? Thanks!

Prashant Hegde said...

@Sanna-If you are using android phone you can download ISTQB test mentor app which has same question. Link - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.istqbtestmentor&hl=en

Prashant Hegde said...

Guys now you can access the same questions from ISTQB Test mentor app for android.

https://goo.gl/vkzETe

Rahul Verma said...

Hi Prashant,

Looks like results of many of the questions are incorrect. Just used your app and solved first

two topics .

Which of the following is a test type: Answer shown : Functional testing but in glossary functional test is a test type .

White box testing is both Clear and glass box testing but answer displayed Glass box only.

Can you please review the answers one .


TIA
Rahul V

Prashant Hegde said...

@Rahul V - The answer for the first question is correct.

Which of the following is a test type:
Answer: Functional testing.

I will update the other question on white box testing. The right answer should be both clear box and white box testing. You will see it in the next app update.

Thank you for your feedback. Please let me know if you find any more incorrect questions.

Sanaa said...

Thanks Prashant! Unfortunately I do not use an android phone but Jasper's instructions to enroll helped :)

Udaya Bhanu said...

Hi prasahat!!It's really inspiring story with very good information.
Thanks

Prashant Hegde said...

@Udaya Bhanu - Thank you.

Thuc Ta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nadim Saker said...

Thank you. A great initiative.

Prashant Hegde said...

@Nadim - Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

@Prashant..I am willing to take ISTQB Foundation level exam. I was working for a company for 18 months, but currently I am not working. Can I still take the exam? (This doubt appeared because while I was registering for the exam I was asked employer's information).

Prashant Hegde said...

Should not be a problem. You have enough experience to appear for ISTQB foundation level exam.

Anonymous said...

@prashant.. Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

@Prashant ...I am a fresher working in a corporate with only 4-5 months work experience in manual testing. Am i eligible for taking the ISTQB foundation level exam in July,2017?

Prashant Hegde said...

Yes you can apply for ISTQB certification.

Anonymous said...

Could you please let me know when will be the next ISTQB foundation exam be conducted after october 1, 2016?

Prashant Hegde said...

Please find the exam dates here: http://www.istqb.in/index.php/istqb-foundation/exam-dates

Anonymous said...

Hi!
Really motivating, thank you!

Sorry, could you please kindly say, have all questions been corrected now? We're preparing for the exam and afraid of the misleading tests :\ Some apps on the Google play store have a plenty of comments, that the app contains wrong answers. Your app is the only one we eventually downloaded.

Can we be sure, that the current version of the update doesn't contain any errors you know of?

P.S. we remember, that we all make mistakes, but still :)

Thanks for your work! It's amazing! :)

Prashant Hegde said...

The tests have been carefully designed to be challenging. 2 batches from our company have successfully cleared ISTQB exams and they were really benefited by these tests.

The current version of that app has incorrect answer for one question.
Answer of question no 5 in chapter 5 MCQ should be model based approaches.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the answer!!
Keep up excellent work! You rock :)

Rajeswari Reddy said...

Good work!!

Banu said...

These ways are very simple and very much useful, as a beginner level these helped me a lot thanks fore sharing these kinds of useful and knowledgeable information.
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Kushal Shah said...

Excellent work!! App is designed very well and very informative. Thanks.

Prashant Hegde said...

@Kushal Shah- Thank you.Please rate the all and share it with your friends as well

Shalini Patnaik said...

Hi Prashant, Thank you for this blog.

I have few questions for you:

Q When a new testing tool is purchased, it should first be used by

A smaller team to establish the best way to use the tool
Everyone who may eventually have some use for the tool
Independent Test Team
The managers to see what projects it should be used in
The vendor contractor to write the initial scripts

Q Given the Following program
IF X <>= Z
THEN Statement 2;
END
McCabe’s Cyclomatic Complexity is :
A. 2
B. 3
C. 4
D. 5

What should be the answer of these and why?

Thanks in advance.

Prashant Hegde said...

For the first question, the answer is A - A smaller team to establish the best way to use the tool
We always roll out a new tool incrementally - not to everyone at once.

For second Question the answer is option A- 2
Simple formula for McCabe’s Cyclomatic Complexity is - (No of conditions)+1
There is only one "if" condition so the answer is 2

Shalini Patnaik said...

Thanks for your reply Prashant.

I thought Cyclomatic complexity is E-N+2P?

Prashant Hegde said...

E-N+2P formula is correct. Remember (No of conditions)+1 as a shortcut.

nikunj jain said...

Prashant is the genuine PDF file available for downloading “Foundation of Software Testing: ISTQB Certification” by Rex Black, Dorothy Graham on Internet

Shalini Patnaik said...

Hi Prashant,

Can you please answer to this and why:

Which of the following statements about component testing is FALSE?

a) black box test design techniques all have an associated test measurement technique
b) white box test design techniques all have an associated test measurement technique
c) cyclomatic complexity is not a test measurement technique
d) black box test measurement techniques all have an associated test design technique

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Nicely explained, how you can crack foundation level exam in one attempt, really very informative article for freshers who is willing to gave ISTQB. Apart form the ISTQB you can prepare many other testing certification exams which can boost your career.You can see here many about various qa testing certification in detail.

atik said...

Helpful Post thanks.

Robert Dumitrascu said...

Hello Prashant! First i want to thank you for this helpfull app. I am learning for the Istqb exam, and i am using your app for the tests. I want to ask you, how can i log in ( i tried with facebook but is not working) so that i can cover all the tests? Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hello Prashant,

I do not have an Android phone and not able to access your app.

Can you please send me your chapter wise questions on my email id at kallpanaaseth@gmail.com.

Thanks in advance

Regards

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