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Just the Facts: How to Earn the ITIL V3 Foundation Certificate

In this post I will cut through the often-annoying process of parsing IT certification vendors’ Web sites to glean information on your desired certification program. Today’s subject: the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) V3 Foundation certificate.

In stark contrast to the ITIL V3 Intermediate, Expert, and Master level programs, which mandate attendance in one or more officially accredited training classes prior to sitting for the test, all you need to become an ITIL V3 Foundation certification holder is to pay the registration fee and pass a single online examination.

There are three steps to the ITIL V3 Foundation certification process; we will list them and then describe each step in detail:

  • Prepare
  • Register
  • Take the Exam


The corpus of knowledge for the ITIL program is contained in a five-volume set of books published by the Office of Governmental Commerce (OGC). If you plan to go anywhere beyond the Foundation level in ITIL, these books are absolutely required reading. Of course, there exists a plentitude of ITIL V3 Foundation study material for your purchase and perusal: practice exams, study guides, etc.

Of course, if you have the time and money available, you can register for an instructor-led course; be sure you take the class from an ITIL Accredited Training Organization (ATO).


The ITIL folks rely upon several examination institutes (EIs) for the distribution of the ITIL V3 exam. There is no functional difference among any of these EIs; they were set up simply to service candidate requests in different parts of the world. In the United States, a very popular EI is EXIN, which is ironically located in the Netherlands.

From the EXIN page you will be redirected to the appropriate Pearson VUE test registration site where you can log in and actually schedule an appointment time for your test. Note: when Pearson VUE asks for the exam provider, specify EXIN (there is no ‘ITIL’ option).

Take the Exam

The ITIL V3 Foundation exam is computer-based, multiple-choice, and has a 60 minute time limit. The passing score is 26/40, or 65%.

Related Pearson Resources: