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

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Date: Oct 25, 2010

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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.

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

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

Exam Objectives

Exam Objectives

These exam objectives are © Crown Copyright 2010, and reproduced under license from OGC. Please check the Official ITIL Site for the most up to date ITIL V3 Foundation Certificate Syllabus.

The letters and numbers at the end of each line item below correspond with the title and section of the ITIL core publication that is being tested. For example, “Describe the concept of Good Practice (SS 1.2.2)” means that you can learn about the concept of a Good Practice by reading section 1.2.2 of the Service Strategy publication. For students not wishing to purchase the five ITIL core publications, Jill Knapp’s book/DVD set ITIL V3 Foundation Exam Video Mentor covers all syllabus points below in detail.

Learning Objectives

Candidates can expect to gain knowledge and understanding in the following upon successful completion of the education and examination components related to this certification.

Service Management as a Practice

The purpose of this unit is to help the candidate to define Service and to comprehend and explain the concept of Service Management as a practice.

Specifically, candidates must be able to:

The Service Lifecycle

The purpose of this unit is to help the candidate to understand the value of the Service Lifecycle, how the processes integrate with each other, throughout the Lifecycle and explain the objectives and business value for each phase in the Lifecycle.

Specifically, candidates must be able to:

Generic Concepts and Definitions

The purpose of this unit is to help the candidate to define some of the key terminology and explain the key concepts of Service Management.

Specifically, candidates must be able to define and explain the following key concepts:

Key Principles and Models

The purpose of this unit is to help the candidate to comprehend and account for the key principles and models of Service Management and to balance some of the opposing forces within Service Management.

Specifically, candidates must be able to:

Service Strategy

Service Design

Continual Service Improvement

Processes

The purpose of this unit is to help the candidate understand how the Service Management processes contribute to the Service Lifecycle, to explain the high level objectives, scope, basic concepts, activities and challenges for five of the core processes, and to state the objectives and some of the basic concepts for thirteen of the remaining processes including how they relate to each other.

The list of activities to be included from each process is the minimum required and should not be taken as an exhaustive list.

Specifically, candidates must be able to:

Service Strategy

State the objectives and basic concepts for:

Service Design

Explain the high level objectives, basic concepts, process activities and relationships for:

State the objectives and basic concepts for:

Service Transition

Explain the high level objectives, basic concepts, process activities and relationships for:

State the objectives and basic concepts for:

Service Operation

Explain the high level objectives, basic concepts, process activities and relationships for:

State the objectives and basic concepts for:

Functions

The purpose of this unit is to help the candidate to explain the role, objectives and organizational structures of the Service Desk function, and to state the role, objectives and overlap of three other functions.

Specifically, candidates must be able to:

Roles

The purpose of this unit is to help the candidate to account for and to be aware of the responsibilities of some of the key roles in Service Management.

Specifically, candidates must be able to:

Technology and Architecture

The purpose of this unit is to help the candidate to

ITIL Qualification Scheme

The purpose of this unit is to help the candidate to

Mock Exam

The purpose of this unit is to help the candidate to pass the ITIL Foundation exam.

Specifically, candidates must:

Where to Go from Here

Where to Go from Here

When students have earned the ITIL Foundation Certificate in IT Service Management, they will have earned two credits toward the ITIL Expert certification which requires 22 credits.

To earn additional ITIL credits, students must take intermediate level ITIL classes from an accredited training organization; there is no self-study option available. Intermediate classes come in two flavors: Service Lifecycle classes and Service Capability classes.

Service Lifecycle classes are worth three ITIL credits each and typically last three days each. Students earn ITIL credits only when they pass the exam given at the end of class. These courses each focus on one of the five ITIL books, and the focus of these courses is on the introduction and implementation of the specific Lifecycle phase being taught, and coverage of the principles, processes, and related activities. Classes offered are Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation, and Continual Service Improvement.

Service Capability classes are typically five-day courses and are geared towards IT professionals who seek to implement ITIL in their organizations; classes are worth four ITIL credits each. Students only earn ITIL credits when they pass the exam given at the end of class. Service Capability classes are hands-on, intensive courses that lead students through practical exercises, focusing on detailed process implementation and management. Course content is offered within clustered groupings:

Managing Across the Lifecycle is the capstone class that ensures students have an understanding of the entire service lifecycle; this is typically a five-day class and a passing score on the exam earns the student five ITIL credits. The ITIL Expert certification cannot be achieved without this class.

When 22 ITIL credits have been earned in the correct combination, the ITIL Expert Certificate in IT Service Management is awarded. As of this writing, this is the highest level of ITIL V3 certification available. Students can track their progress towards the ITIL Expert Certification by using the official Credit Profiler System.

Also as of this writing, the ITIL® Master certification is currently under development and in a pilot phase in Europe, but there is no official release date.

Have you taken the ITIL V3 Foundation Exam? Share your experiences by posting to the ITIL thread in our forums.

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