ISTQB Software Testing Certification Steps / FAQ

Below are the steps to ISTQB Software Testing Certification, as well as answers to frequently asked questions.

An excellent overview of the testing career path and how ISTQB fits into it can be found in the article, “Which ISTQB Software Tester Certification is Right for You?” If you would like to know everything about ISTQB in one document, then the “ISTQB in a Nutshell” Powerpoint or the simple ISTQB Software Testing Certification video overview are great choices.

If you are ready to register, you may visit the “Register Now” page. The exam costs are as follows:

  • The Foundation Level exam is US $250
  • The Foundation Level Agile Extension exam is US $150
  • Each of the Advanced Level exams is US $200
  • Each of the Expert Level exams is US $375

Note that ASTQB recommends that you prepare for the ISTQB exam by using self-study materials such as the ISTQB syllabi and glossary, or by utilizing an ASTQB-accredited training provider. We cannot confirm the accuracy or authenticity of other, non-accredited online test preparation sites or materials.

  • Advanced Level Technical Test Analyst
  • Advanced Level Test Analyst
  • Advanced Level Test Manager

Note: If you wish to take an Advanced Level exam, you must first submit proof of CTFL certification and a resume and/or employer verification of 3 years experience to info@astqb.org. In the cover email, the examinee must state that the information contained in the resume or employer verification is accurate and complete to the best of his/her ability.

  • Test Management
  • Improving the Testing Process
  • Test Automation Engineering

Note: If you wish to take an Advanced Level exam, you must first submit proof of the appropriate CTAL certification and a resume and/or employer verification of 5 years experience to info@astqb.org. In the cover email, the examinee must state that the information contained in the resume or employer verification is accurate and complete to the best of his/her ability.


Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the ISTQB Certification Exams 


What is the exam format?
Foundation
: The Foundation Level exam consists of 40 multiple choice questions designed to evaluate a candidate’s knowledge and understanding of the entire Foundation syllabus. A grade of 65% or better must be attained in order to pass. The exam is a closed book exam. You have 60 minutes to finish.

Advanced: Each of the three Advanced Level exams is composed of multiple-choice questions that vary in points awarded by knowledge level. They correspond to the three different subject areas: “Technical Test Analyst,” “Test Analyst,” and “Test Manager.”

  • Advanced Level “Test Analyst” has 60 questions to be completed in three hours.
  • Advanced Level “Test Manager” has 65 questions to be completed in three hours.
  • Advanced Level “Technical Test Analyst” has 45 questions to be completed in two hours.

All three areas must be passed with a grade of 65% or better in order to receive the full Advanced Level certification.  You may sit for only one Advanced Level Exam at a time. See the webinar on the Advanced Level syllabi on the syllabi page for more information.

Expert: The Expert Level is quickly evolving and adding new modules. See the Expert Level Syllabi for a full listing of available or upcoming Expert Level certifications.

Expert Level Test Management consists of three exams:

  • Expert Test Management - Strategic
  • Expert Test Management - Operational
  • Expert Test Management - Managing the Test Team

In order to achieve “CTEL-TM Full” (Certified Tester Expert Level – Test Management Full) all three exams must be passed with a 65% passing score. And one must first qualify by passing the the CTAL-TM (Certified Tester Advanced Level – Test Manager) and submitting proof that you have five years of full-time experience in test management.

Each of the exams consists of multiple choice and essay questions, and examinees must choose to answer two of the three essay questions provided.

Scoring: Your score is determined as follows:

  • 35 points possible for multiple choice questions
  • 50 points possible for each of the two essay questions
  • 135 total points

When you take any of the exams at a test center, you will not receive your score at the end, since your essays need to be graded by our team of experts.  This can take three to four weeks.

See the Expert Level Syllabi for additional information.


Does everybody take the exact same exam?
No. The questions come from a pool of questions and are being combined differently so that the exam itself changes constantly while the level of difficulty remains comparable. New questions are constantly being developed by the ASTQB’s subject matter experts.


How much does the exam cost?
The Foundation Level exam is US $250.
Each of the Advanced Level exams is US $200.
Most options are eligible for discounts through ASTQB’s Volume Purchase Program.


When is payment of the exam fee due?
Upon registration for a specific exam and venue.


May I take the exam again if I do not pass?
Yes, you may take the exam as many times as desired. Full payment is required for each attempt.


Are ASTQB’s ISTQB exams approved for student reimbursement for veterans?
Yes, effective July 1, 2013: “Approval to offer test for licensing and certification needed to enter, maintain or advance into employment in a civilian vocation or profession under Chapter 36 for the purposes of that chapter and Chapters 30, 32 and 35 of Title 38, U.S.C. and Chapter 1606 of Title 10, U.S.C. whichever is applicable, is granted” for ASTQB’s CTFL, CTAL-TA, CTAL-TM and CTAL-TTA exams at their applicable fees. ASTQB will be happy to provide proof of payment and exam results to any student veterans who need this paperwork to apply for the reimbursement. See the GI Bill page for more information. If you need to search the GI Bill system to see the certifications and ASTQB contact information for proof of the ISTQB certification eligibility, here are a few tips: Search the entire country (USA), choose “Certification” or “Both” as the category, and “tester” as the L&C name. Click on the certification name, then at the top of the page, the “Institution Profile” link.


Do I have to take a course in order to take the exam?
No, you don’t have to take a course in order to take the exam. That is one of the characteristics that makes ISTQB software tester certification unique: you may self study, study with colleagues, or take a course. That said, many people find the courses very helpful, particularly if they would like to prepare quickly, or are taking a higher level exam.


Is there an exam center in my part of the United States?
Yes, with hundreds of exam centers throughout the United States, there is almost certainly one near you. See the “Register Now” page for more information.


Can I take the exam via ASTQB even if I’m not in the United States?
Yes, you can utilize Kryterion exam centers not only throughout the United States but also worldwide to take the ASTQB-based exams. See the “Register Now” page for more information.


Do you have a document that explains everything about ISTQB Certification?
Yes, we have everything you need to know about ISTQB Certification in the “ISTQB in a Nutshell” PDF document. You will also find additional information about each of the levels on the ISTQB certification syllabi / body of knowledge page.


What is the ASTQB Reasonable Accommodations Policy?
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, individuals with disabilities needing a reasonable accommodation to take the ISTQB Foundation or Advanced Level exam should provide written notice to Lois Kostroski, Executive Director, at American Software Testing Qualifications Board, 15619 Premiere Drive, Suite 101, Tampa, FL 33624 USA at least 14 days prior to the exam.

Individuals requesting a reasonable accommodation may be required to provide certification of their disability or need for reasonable accommodation so that ASTQB can determine what accommodation, if any, will be provided.


What if American English is my second language? Can I get additonal time to take the exam?
For a paper-based exam, you can apply to ASTQB at least a week in advance of your exam to receive extra time to take the exam, if you will be using a translation dictionary. For electronic exams at test centers, there is no mechanism to grant extra time.