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Exam Profile: ITIL Foundation Certificate in IT Service Management (ITIL V3 Foundation Exam)

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  1. Exam Profile: ITIL Foundation Certificate in IT Service Management (ITIL V3 Foundation Exam)
  2. Exam Objectives
  3. Where to Go from Here
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Pearson Certification provides a variety of exam preparation tools to help our customers in their quest for certification. As part of our service to you, we have developed this Exam Profile series. Each profile is developed based on the testing experience of one of our trainers or authors. You won’t get exact questions or answers, but you will get a real feel for the exam. Each profile describes question forms, trouble spots, hints for exam preparation, and recommendations for additional study resources.
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Exam Profile: ITIL® Foundation Certificate in IT Service Management (ITIL V3 Foundation Exam)

The ITIL® Foundation Certificate in IT Service Management (also informally known as the ITIL V3 Foundation Certification) is a highly sought after certification among IT professionals and business managers worldwide. It proves that you understand the basic concepts contained within the five books of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL).

A quick search for “ITIL” on a popular technical employment website yields well over 1000 results, supporting that ITIL is now considered required knowledge for working in today’s IT environments.

Earning your ITIL V3 Foundation certification not only provides you with industry-recognized global credentials, but also proves that you have a foundational knowledge of IT Service Management basic concepts, structure, core principles, processes, and vocabulary.

This ITIL Foundation Certificate is the entry-level certification of the ITIL framework and is the first step to achieving the ITIL Expert certification.

Exam Details

  • Number of questions: 40
  • Type of questions: Multiple choice
  • Passing score: 65% (26 out of 40 questions answered correctly). It is a pass/fail exam.
  • Time limit: One hour. Students taking the exam in a language other than their native tongue AND in a country where the language of the exam is not a business language in that country are permitted an extra 15 minutes and the use of a dictionary for the exam.
  • Closed book: No notes are permitted during exam session.
  • Proctor: The exam will be supervised by an accredited exam supervisor/proctor.
  • Format: Students taking the exam as part of an accredited, instructor-led training class will be given the exam in either a paper-based format or a web-based format, depending on the arrangement the instructor has with the certifying body issuing the exam.
  • How to register: If students have not taken a formal class and have instead chosen the self-study route, students can take the exam at either a Prometric or Pearson VUE testing center; both have locations worldwide. Note that ITIL exams will not be listed on these sites under “ITIL” but instead will be listed under “EXIN” and/or “ISEB.” Be sure to search using those terms when registering for the exam. (EXIN and ISEB are two organizations who create official ITIL Foundation exams. EXIN exams are more popular in the USA; ISEB tends to be more popular in the UK.)

Trouble Spots

ITIL is a set of books, and these books go through revisions every few years. Currently, the books are in their third version (V3), which are a good deal different than their predecessor. Make sure you are studying ITIL Version 3, and not ITIL Version 2 (V2)!

Although ITIL V2 Foundation exams are no longer offered, there is still plenty of ITIL V2-related material living on in perpetuity the Internet, so be sure you know what you’re reading.

If you have previous experience in ITIL Version 2, be aware that some common terms have been updated in V3. Some subprocesses have been deleted from V2 and many processes have been added to V3. Do not rely on your old V2 training to get you through a V3 exam; the differences are significant.

ITIL V3 is comprised of five books: Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation, and Continual Service Improvement. The bulk of the ITIL V3 Foundation exam will focus on Service Design, Service Transition, and Service Operation; however, you should be prepared for a few tricky Service Strategy and CSI questions as well.

Exam questions are multiple choice, with four answers from which to choose. However, some questions are formatted with possible answers: “A) 1 only; B) 1, 3, and 4; C) 1, 2, 4; D) All of the above.” Read these questions and answers carefully.

Some questions offer a list of options and ask students to choose the one incorrect answer. Be sure to read the question carefully so you know what is being asked of you.

When studying, be sure you understand the value proposition each phase of the lifecycle provides to the business; you will most likely be asked a question or two on this topic.

Studies have shown that a student's first hunch is often the correct answer. If you find yourself obsessing over an answer and changing it many times, go with your gut.

Preparation Hints

You are going to be tested on your knowledge of the ITIL books, so owning the books is a good idea. Though the books are expensive, you can often purchase them used for a bit less money. They can also be purchased in PDF format, which makes searching the books much easier.

For any exam, always go to the source of the exam. For the ITIL Foundation Certificate in Service Management exam, you should get a copy of the official version of the ITIL V3 Foundation Certificate Syllabus from http://www.itil-officialsite.com. The exam objectives are listed later in this article as well as downloadable from the ITIL official site. Look at the exam requirements on the syllabus and highlight the terms that are unfamiliar to you; this will help you set up a study plan for yourself. If the objectives are totally foreign to you, don’t be too discouraged; it just means that you’ll need to read up to get the knowledge you need. Remember, everyone in information technology had to start somewhere.

Next, don’t be afraid to do some online research and ask questions. There are many ITIL-related forums, and chances are your question(s) have already been asked and answered by others.

If you need some live assistance, search the Internet for freelance ITIL instructors. Instructors will welcome the opportunity to work one-on-one to help you prepare for the exam, review the material, and answer your questions.

Lastly, for students requiring a fully immersive experience, countless training companies offer accredited ITIL V3 Foundation training, which often includes the Foundation exam at the end of class. Many students enjoy classroom training because it eliminates many common distractions. However, these classes are often expensive.

Recommended Study Resources

  • The official version of the ITIL V3 Foundation Certificate Syllabus from http://www.itil-officialsite.com
  • Download an official sample exam (called a “sample paper”) from http://www.itil-officialsite.com/.
  • The ITIL Group on LinkedIn is a good place to ask questions; however, it’s best to search the group to make sure those questions haven’t already been answered for you.
  • Because ITIL is a set of books, it is wise to purchase the five core ITIL publications (Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation, and Continual Service Improvement) from your favorite bookseller.
  • Alternately, I created a book/DVD set called ITIL V3 Foundation Exam Video Mentor that leads students through the entire exam syllabus point by point to ensure students thoroughly understand all exam topics.
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