My Top 5 Tips for Passing the ITIL Foundation Exam

Tips for Passing the ITIL Foundation Exam

Hello, my name is Edward and I passed the ITIL® Foundation Exam with 95%. This post is my first-hand tips on how to pass the ITIL® Foundation Exam. If you are just at the very beginning of considering whether to get ITIL® Foundation certified, I have documented my ITIL® Foundation Certification Exam preparation and my experience of passing the ITIL® Foundation Exam here. Hope my sharing would be useful for ITIL® Aspirants.

My Top 5 Tips for Getting ITIL® Foundation Certified

Admittedly the ITIL® Foundation Exam is not that difficult. With proper study and revision, ITIL® Aspirants will usually be able to pass the exam the first time. Nevertheless, just like any activities in life, there are tips and techniques that can help accelerate the study and increase the chance of passing the ITIL® Foundation Exam (though you still have to study really hard for the exam). Here are my 5 cents on the tips:

  • Tip 1: Think you are working in an organization named “ITIL®”
    • Just like any other professional exams, while writing the ITIL® Foundation Certification Exam, you must not base on your everyday experiences practising ITIL® in your organization because there are lots of adaptations and variations from those practices outlined in the ITIL® books which are perfectly okay in real-world practice but no so in the ITIL® Exam (For those who are PMP® certified, that just what’s called the “PMI-ism“.)
    • In the organization “ITIL®”, every process, functions, tools and roles are followed strictly according to the ITIL® best practices, without exceptions.
    • “When in the ITIL® Foundation Exam, do as what ITIL® would do.”
  • Tip 2: Relax, relax, relax
    • Don’t panic, many ITIL® Foundation exam takers have expressed that the ITIL® Foundation Exam is not too difficult. Some ITIL® Aspirants even can pass the Foundation Exam the first try with 2 to 3 days’ study and preparation.
    • However, many studies have suggested that if one is under extreme pressure or stress, the performance will deteriorate significantly. Too much stress would render the chance of passing the ITIL® Exam a hit or miss.
    • It is always a good idea to sleep well the night before the exam by not spending the whole day studying. Try doing something that delights you, be it video gaming, reading, talking with friends or dining with family.
    • Before and during the ITIL® Exam, practise deep breathing
  • Tip 3: Make best use of mock ITIL® Foundation Exam
    • There is one mock ITIL® Foundation Exam (termed as “Sample Paper”) provided on the website of the official ITIL® Certification website. According to my own and many other ITIL® Aspirants’ experience, the difficulty of the sample paper is on par with the real ITIL® Foundation Exam paper.
    • I would suggest you to make use of the sample paper to assess if you are ready for the ITIL® Foundation Exam after you have thoroughly studied for the exam since it is a good indication of whether you are ready for the real exam.
    • You may find the mock ITIL® Foundation Exam sample paper here.
    • There are also tons of so called free ITIL® Foundation sample paper to be found online but the quality is questionable — beware many of these are based on the ITIL® v3 version, not the current ITIV v3 Foundation 2011 version.
    • If you need to find quality ITIL® sample papers, you may purchase an ITIL® Foundation Exam prep guide which include more ITIL® Foundation sample papers or an online ITIL® Foundation course which allows you even to take the sample paper in a simulated test environment so that you can familiarize yourself with the actual exam environment.
  • Tip 4: Read the exam questions carefully — word by word
    • Be assured that the ITIL® Foundation Exam is not especially tricky, but it is always a good idea to read the questions carefully word by word in order not to miss any questions out of carelessness.
    • This is especially applicable for those ITIL® Aspirants taking the exam on the computer as they are not allowed to highlight or circle any keywords in the questions.
    • This ITIL® exam tip echoes tip 1 — don’t think in your own way as you may see some “imaginary” words while skimming the questions that would lead to a totally wrong answer.
    • According to experiences, the single most important word in the questions in “NOT” as in the question “which one is NOT correct”, etc. Beware!
    • Since the 1 hour exam time is more than enough for answering the 40 multiple choice questions, you are highly advised to re-read the questions and answers all over again (and again if time allows) in order to spot any careless mistakes!
  • Tip 5: Make the best use of time with online ITIL® Foundation courses and taking the ITIL® Exam online
    • In case if you don’t know, the ITIL® Foundation Exam can be taken online through a proctored environment. It is just like taking the ITIL® exam inside an exam centre, the only exception is you can choose where to sit your exam. An exam proctor will take hold of your computer and guide you through your exam process (more on the requirements and tips on taking ITIL® Foundation Exam online here).
    • In addition, there are many online ITIL® Foundation Certification training courses available on the market. One can gain access to the course videos and learning materials immediately after purchase — without having to wait for the start of classroom lectures. Think of the saving in terms of transit time and waiting time.
    • Some ITIL® Aspirants have reported that they can begin their ITIL® Foundation studies and get ITIL® certified over the weekend with online training and exam. Normally, online courses for the ITIL® Foundation level can be completed with 20-30 hours of studies. And it is highly advisable to choose only “accredited” course as the quality and correctness of the content can be guaranteed.

Best Discount (till 31 March 2017 only): 50% discount offer for GreyCampus ITIL® Foundation Training + Official Exam Fee!
ITIL® Aspirants can now get the ITIL® Foundation Training + Exam Fee for the price of US$600 US$300 (with coupon code) — possibly the lowest price one can ever find on the market (as the ITIL® Foundation Exam Fee alone is around US$250). Please click here to find my first-hand review of the online ITIL® Foundation course.

These are the most important tips I have learned from my ITIL® Foundation Certification preparation and exam taking experiences. Hope ITIL® Aspirants can make use of these tips in their exam preparation to help them save a little time and headache.

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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3 Responses

  1. SAkina says:

    Hi, Edward. I would like to say You greating Thanks for this full of information sourse.
    Iwas at th beginig of my ITL journey, and I was in douptts, needed advice, was searching a lot. Thus, I d found this website, I wrot You took invaliable advice- You said me that it is possible to pass ITIL foundation by using Helen & Liz`s book + Yoyr notes..
    Yesterday I did it) 3 weeks I allowed for non-stop preraration and earned 80%.
    Thank You, Edward..

    Now it is important for me, to go gorward..
    Would YOu, please, inform me, how can I become to ITIL internadiate? I am interested in OSA..What should I do? Should I buy book, which book? Is it possible to prepare by own self? is there any exam samples?

    Best Regards,

    • Edward Chung says:

      Congratulations on passing the ITIL Foundation Exam with great scores! And thanks a lot for your compliments. I take great pleasure in being able to offer assistance to fellow ITIL aspirants!

      Sorry that I don’t have any experiences in ITIL intermediate. I took the Foundation Exam as my way for developing professional knowledge. However, as my organization does not practice ITIL, I have decided not to pursue ITIL intermediate for the being.

      Wish you ITIL intermediate success!