Tips For Preparation For ISTQB (Foundational Level)

Developers pass exams in different subjects and different levels. But for QAs I found just one type of certification – ISTQB.
Tips For Preparation For ISTQB

There are 3 levels: foundation, advanced and expert. At the end you can be an expert in Test Management, Improving the test process, Test Automation, Security Testing. More information you can find on the official site. I will share all the useful links in the article. Based on my preparation for Foundation level ISTQB, I can select few key tips that, in my opinion, led me to successful exam passing.

  1. First of all I made a decision “I want to pass this exam”. The reasons were: to improve theoretical knowledge about testing; it is my personal challenge; it is cool to be certified.
  2. I found a quality assurance software testing company and got support from my management. I even inspired two QAs from our company to start preparation. The process was the following: We had a meeting two times per week where we discussed a chapter from books, resolved mock tests and cleared up the ambiguities. For each meeting, one of us was a moderator. Also, this collective preparation was one of the motivators – it was unpleasant to admit that you are not ready for a meeting.
  3. We selected two free resources: Syllabus from ISTQB site, and “Foundation of software testing”. I read at least one page of the book and passed mock tests on my Android per day. Sometimes I made a break for a few days. Also, I found one paid video course on Udemy site. It was very useful for structuring all knowledge at the end of the preparation.
  4. When I finished reading these two books (syllabus for 2 times) and had a rest for a week or two, I decided to pass the exam at the end of the current month. I chose a day, paid for the exam on-site, and scheduled preparation for each day before the exam. I had a plan to spend 2-3 days for each chapter and around a week for reviewing all courses. But as it usually happens, only 1 or 2 days were left for review.

During the whole preparation, I invented some encouragement and punishment for myself. It was something like “I can read a new chapter of my favorite book after one chapter of Foundation”, or if I switched from preparation to some more pleasant activities, I stopped myself with words “You can fail exam just because you are so lazy, or because you spent time on a very stupid movie – it will be a huge shame”. The strongest motivation is to pay for an exam. There is no way out afterward. It really worked for me.

When I read some parts of the chapter that weren’t clear even after reading for the fifth time, I asked for help from the people around. Together we always found answers to all my questions.

About Exam. I paid for an exam about three weeks before, by using Prometric service (find the link at the end of the article). On the day of the exam, I came to the Certification Centre, filled out some paper documentation and headed to the exam room. The computer was already switched on, the exam program was opened, and on the table, I found a plastic (at least it felt like one) sheet of paper and a pen (especially for ISTQB). There were 40 questions, 4 variants of answers, only 1 was correct. I had 1 hour at my disposal. If you are not sure about some answers, you can mark the question and then go back to it. I did so for a few questions.

About questions. There were no questions that I came across in mock tests. There were some questions (maybe 3), which triggered only one thought: “WHAT? WHAT DO YOU MEAN?”. So some questions were randomly answered. It took me about 45 minutes to pass the exam. I saw the result right away. I was given some paper with a Prometric stamp. It said that I had passed the exam. And the very certificate arrived three weeks after the exam by post.

So I spent for preparation 5 months including breaks. I read Foundation and Syllabus twice. I watched online courses before passing the exam. I passed hundreds of mock exams. There are a lot of them on the Internet. Also, I’ve installed a Test Competence application for my Android – a really useful one.

And my ambitious plan is the next level or ISTQB.

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Stanislav Kostiuk
Stanislav Kostiuk Tech Lead, Senior Automation QA Engineer at Romexsoft | ISTQB Certified Tester | Focused on Java and Test Automation Frameworks
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