ITIL 4 Foundation vs ITIL Certification v3 Foundation vs ITIL v3 Foundation 2011

itil v3 certification

Introduction: While I was researching for the ITIL® Foundation Exam, I found out many of the information on ITIL® was not clearly at all. Questions like: Where to take the ITIL® Foundation exam? How to register for the ITIL® Exam? How much is the ITIL® Foundation Exam? etc. would take dozens of hours to find out. But there are two questions more fundamental: what’s the current version of ITIL® Foundation Exam? and what are the differences between ITIL® 4 Foundation, ITIL® v3 Foundation and ITIL® 4 Foundation?

I passed the ITIL® Foundation Exam with 95%. Click here for my free study notes, tips and resources.

What is ITIL® Foundation?

ITIL® stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. There are currently five levels of the ITIL® Qualification Scheme. The ITIL® Foundation certification is the entry level certification among all ITIL® Certifications.

What is ITIL® v3 Foundation?

The “v3” in ITIL® v3 Foundation stands for “version 3” or “the third version”. There are currently 3 major versions of ITIL®:

  • ITIL® – developed in the 1990s by the British Government
  • ITIL® v2 – introduced in 2001 to include new and updated information
  • ITIL® v3 – introduced in 2007, this is a major revision of the ITIL® by including the “lifecycle approach” to service management

What is ITIL® 4 Foundation?

After ITIL® v3, there is a relatively minor update to the ITIL® in 2011 which is currently known as ITIL® v3 2011. The ITIL® v3 2011 places more emphasis on business integration. There are new processes in Continual Service Improvement (CSI).

What is ITIL® 4 Foundation?

After ITIL® 4 Foundation, there is a major update to the ITIL® in 2019 which is currently known as ITIL® 4. ITIL® 4 puts service management in a strategic context. ITIL® 4 focuses on collaboration, automation and keeping things simple, just like the guiding principles of Agile, DevOps and Lean methodologies. This update allows ITIL® to be applicable to modern service management and software development.

Therefore, if you are planning to take ITIL® Certification Exams, you must base your studies on the latest version – the ITIL® 4 syllabus. The entry certification for ITIL® is the ITIL® 4 Foundation 2011 Certification. You are highly advised to purchase ITIL® materials based on this latest ITIL® 4 Foundation Exam as there are many changes that make the previous version not relevant/accurate anymore.


If you have got the latest exam prep materials, there is a high chance that you can pass the ITIL® 4 Foundation exam on your first attempt.

Wish you ITIL® success!

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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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13 Responses

  1. Upas says:

    Helpful distinction between the versions

  2. Adnan Malik says:

    ITIL V3 is Outdated – I heard new syllabus just ITIL is out.

    I am saying this because I have ITIL V3 Book and ITIL… and i noticed few things mentioned in ITIL V3 is not mentioned or removed.

    Please confirm

    • Edward Chung says:

      I don’t have any news on that. The ITIL v3 currently we have is already a revised version (updated in 2011), at that time, some might call it as ITIL v4 but the official name is ITIL v3 2011. I don’t think the ITIL will be updated in the foreseeable future as there isn’t any editorial work currently carrying out and no drafts have ever been released.

      The book you have maybe just for the Foundation level only? For the Foundation level, some items / topics are intentionally left out to make things easier.

      Wish you ITIL success!

  3. Luis Espinoza says:

    Hi Edward!

    I wanna thank you for all your helpful post, it helped my with my PMP certification, and I’m currently studying for the ITIL v3 foundation

    Hope to finish soon the study material and then take the mock exams!

    You have done a great job with your posts!!

  4. Kremena Kostadinova says:

    Thanks a lot Edward! I followed your advices, bought voucher from Greycampus as you recommended and finally today I passed the ITIL exam!!!!!! Thanks and all the best!

  5. Ish says:

    Hi Edward
    I took the ITIL Foundation exam in September 2017 and successfully passed it. On my certification it states it as “ITIL Foundation certificate in IT Service Management”. Is this the same as ITIL Foundation, (which in turn is the same as ITIL Foundation v3 2011, as you have confirmed already in another comment)?
    Secondly, do you think it would be better to state “ITIL Foundation v3 2011” on my CV, or would it be sufficient to simply state “ITIL Foundation”?

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Ish,

      Yes, there is only one ITIL Foundation Certification (ITIL is for IT Service Management exclusively). As the prevalent ITIL Foundation version is 2011 v3 for several years, you can simply state ITIL Foundation with the year of attainment.


  6. AB says:

    Is there an official site to download the full syllabus and content of ITIL foundation v3 to study or register for online classes

  7. Pete Papp says:

    I am studying for ITIL Foundation V3 I am almost ready to sit for the exam. When I try and register I do not see ITIL Foundation V3 listed as the exam to take. I only see ITIL Foundation is there only one exam? There is no designation for V3? If I pass the latest ITIL Foundation exam I will be ITIL V3 certified?

    • Edward Chung says:

      Hi Pete,

      Yes, currently there is only one version of ITIL Foundation which is the v3 2011. Therefore, upon your registration, if you only see “ITIL Foundation”, that is the correct version.

      Wish you ITIL success!