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Passing ISTQB: step by step guide

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Published by admin
12 January 2017

The International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) is a software testing certification organization that operates internationally. This certification can be really useful if you want to a job in Software Testing field. ISTQB Certified Tester is a standardized qualification for software testers.The certification itself is offered by the ISTQB.

Software testing is a part of the software development cycle where certification does not give confidence in a real job experience. If you feel comfortable in a specific technical documentation, if you are familiar with the common understanding of the different technical processes and have some software testing automation tools, then nobody will say anything about the empty certification checkbox in your CV. But if you do not have much experience in software testing field, getting the ISTQB certification definitely will simplify entering the software testing field. Also some companies’ job requirements upper then your job experience. In some cases the certification highlights you among other candidates having the same skills who want to get this job as well.

If you are interested in additional information about the ISTQB exam you can use the following resources:

ISTQB has three levels with different branches. Actually, it is possible to take exams only at two levels - Foundation and Advanced Level. Expert level is still under development. To be able to go to a higher level (Advanced), you have to pass Foundation level exam.

Personal preparation practice and experience of my colleagues proved that it is needed to start preparation not later than one month prior to the exam. The timing assumes that "behind" you have some courses or job experience.

Here is a small Step-by-step study plan

  1. Walkthrough ISTQB exam syllabus, and don’t spend too much time if you don’t understand some information. You can come back to it again later. You can find the syllabus prepared by ISTQB here (

  2. I personally recommend the “Foundations of Software Testing ISTQB Certification” book. It’s amazing and if you don't have much job experience it can give you really fantastic background in testing

  3. You should do your own notes while reading the book.

  4. After reading the book look through the syllabus more thoroughly once again.

  5. You can check your current knowledge level. If your score is above 80% - you can relax:).To check follow the link

  6. Note incorrect answers, so you will know what areas you should focus your attention on. Look through your notes before the exam.

  7. Do at least 1 sample exam each day.

  8. If you don’t know how to spend your weekend - revise foundation syllabus;)

  9. Don’t worry about the exam and have a good night sleep before it:)

Several useful   tips on how to pass ISTQB certification exam

  1. If English is not your native language, you can ask for additional 15 minutes for the exam.
  2. Exam questions are absolutely different from the sample exam questions, so it is important to have the strong understanding of all the things described in the ISTQB exam syllabus.

  3. Always directly mark the answers in the answer sheet in the first go. These would be marked with a pencil, so even if you change your mind later, you can change your answer.

  4. Revise important chapters on the day of the exam.

  5. ISTQB Foundation Level exam has 40 multiple choice questions. The passing percentage is 65%. So you need 26 right answers to pass the exam.

  6. You should understand the Exam structure for proper preparation Read more information there: (


How was it? 


For the exam registration you should use

There is the address field in the application form: you should enter your home address in this field because the certificate would be sent to you on this address.

You can pay for the ISTQB by credit card or by an invoice, which is sent along with the registration confirmation.

It took me about an hour to pass through all questions.

I got exam result immediately. There was a table with the number of correct points on the computer screen. The certificate itself I got in about a month after passing the exam.

Next Steps. What can you do later: ISTQB Advanced Level

After passing ISTQB Foundation Level Exam you can try to get ISTQB Advanced Level certificate.

ISTQB Advanced Level (CTAL) – (The exam has 3 sub levels)

  1. Technical Test Analyst

  2. Test Analyst

  3. Test Manager

Advanced Level exam consists of 65 different complexity questions. To pass the exam, you must score at least 65% (42 or more points). Duration of the exam is 180 minutes (or 225 minutes for the candidate who is not the native English speaker).

Read here for more information:

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