Organisations are looking for ways of identifying individuals' competence in a formal and standard manner - this is particularly true for large multi-national organisations but applies to companies of all sizes.
One such way is through professional and recognised qualifications.
The Information Systems Examination Board (ISEB) and EXIN currently offers Professional qualifications based on the philosophy and content of ITIL. The ISEB is a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Computer Society (BCS), and Stichting EXIN is the Netherlands Examination Institute.
The ITIL qualifications provided take the form of the:
- Foundation Certificate - an entry-level qualification gained by taking a short multiple-choice exam, usually at the end of a 3-day course
- Practitioners Certificates - for specific disciplines, gained through passing in-course assessments and a case-study based multiple-choice exam
- Managers Certificate - requiring the passing of 2 three-hour written exam papers taken after attendance on an accredited 10 day training program.
Both examining organisations offer directly equivalent certificates, in a number of languages and in many countries across the world. Each organisation has accredited a number of training organisations to deliver appropriate courses leading to the above qualifications.
An Examination Management Board comprising of representatives from the Office of Government and Commerce (OGC), IT Service Management Forum (itSMF) and the examining boards oversee the continuous development of the qualifications and ensure consistency is maintained. Work is in progress to accredit bodies elsewhere in the world to offer equivalent qualifications.
It has been a well-known tradition for years that passing an ITIL-exam does not only result in a certificate, but is also accompanied by the presentation of a badge courtesy of the itSMF. This distinguishing badge is in the form of the internationally recognised ITIL-logo and exists in three colours:
- green, accompanying the Foundation Certificate
- blue, accompanying the Practitioner's Certificate
- red, accompanying the Manager's Certificate
The exact meaning of the symbolism is unclear, but veterans asked for their opinion, seem to remember that the 12 bars symbolise the coherence of the IT Infrastructure, grouped around one central point: Service. The four fields thus symbolise the four important groups of subjects in ITIL.
At the moment they are:
- Service Support and Delivery
- IT Management
- Infrastructure Management
- Application Management
Further Exam Information & Hints and Tips
- Foundation Exam
The Foundation exam is made up of 40 multiple-choice questions covering all ITIL disciplines and the pass mark is 26.
When answering the questions, one or two of the four or five are usually very wrong so they can be eliminated. Another answer may relate to a separate ITIL discipline leaving the choice of two. If your still unsure, with the two remaining answers go with your gut feel. This course lasts for three days and can be residential depending upon the Training Company and location.
- Practitioners Exam
The Practitioners exam is for specific disciplines, gained through passing in-course assessments and a case study based multiple-choice exam, which is scheduled to last approximately two hours. There are new practitioner courses being added to training companies portfolios for example Capacity Management is a relatively new course.
This course lasts for three days and can be residential depending upon the Training Company and location.
- Managers Exam
There is a pre-requisite to taking this exam in that candidates must have passed the Foundation and/or Practitioners exam first. Also it is recommended that candidates have a minimum of 5 years IT experience although people have passed this exam having spent less time in IT.
The course is held over two separate weeks. The first week is usually Service Delivery then one month later the Service Support. These weeks are both residential which enable the delegates to interact with each other, share practical experiences and also take advantage of the Lecturers theoretical and hands on knowledge. Most of the Training Companies provide a revision day approximately two weeks before the exam.
The overall exam is made up of two 3 hour exams, the first exam being Service Support and the second Service Delivery. One exam is taken in the afternoon and the second exam the following morning. There are five questions per exam and all questions must be answered unlike previous exams where you could choose 5 from 8. In order to get a Distinction the candidate must achieve 65% or over on both papers.
The exams require a lot of concentration and they are tough on the wrists especially if you haven't attempted a 3 hour exam recently!
When answering the questions, remember to read the question carefully, there are no marks for answering the question well but it not relating to the actual question. This will bring your mark down significantly. Also you will receive higher marks if you relate your practical experiences to the questions. This demonstrates a good understanding of the theory but also shows hands on knowledge.
The final thing to say is Good Luck.
If you have recently taken or are due to take the Foundation, Practitioners or Managers certificate then please let us know of your experiences including any hints and tips, advice and guidance that you found of benefit, so that we can share then with others.