My ITIL Certification

The first time I saw a job posting that listed ITIL as a “desired” qualification, I had no idea what ITIL was. I looked it up and took note of its meaning but never followed up. ITIL as a job requirement was rare. But since then, I’ve been seeing ITIL regularly. Lately I’ve been noticing more and more IT jobs listing an ITIL certification as a required or desired qualification. On one occasion after I followed up on a reume submission, I was informed that I was not considered because ITIL was a requirement. That’s when I decided maybe I should start looking more into ITIL. And I did. A little. Then I was questioned about my ITIL knowledge at a job interview. At least I knew what it was! I even scored some points for that. Well that’s when I decided to get serious about studying for my exam. So I spent some time each day reading, and researching and studying. Then I was asked about my ITIL knowledge at another interview. We’ll I’m almost ready for my exam I told them. Is the test hard, what was the test like I asked? That’s when I really started preparing. Today I passed my ITIL Foundation exam. I am going to share my experience.

First of all, just what is ITIL?

ITIL is a framework of best practices for managing an IT department. ITIL has evolved over the years, the curent version is ITIL V3. The details of the ITIL framework are published in a set of 5 volumes by the UK government Office of Government Commerce. The philosophy of ITIL is pretty simple. Do not think of an IT department as a provider of technology, think of IT as a provider of services. Services that offer value. The ITIL framework is built around the concept of services. The five ITIL volumes are Service Strategy (strategic alignment of IT with the business), Service Design (designing IT services), Service Transition (change management and putting IT services into production), Service Operation (delivery of IT services, problem management, service desk), and Continual Service Improvement (re-evaluating services, keeping them aligned with changing business needs, improving as necessary). The cost of the set is about $599. Companies that desire to follow the ITIL framework do not incur costs other than the cost of human expertise and the cost publications (the official set or otherwise). The material is copyrighted and NOT considered public domain.  There is no charge to use the material, but copying or republishing the material or certain uses of the ITIL trademark requires a license. Individuals wanting a certification or ITIL knowledge do not need to buy the official set. There is a wealth of books and plenty of information on the Internet. I used a variety of sources: Foundations of Service Management, The Unofficial ITIL V3 Foundations Course in a Book By Brady Orand $39.20 on Amazon. He also has a website, with podcasts and practice tests (more on practice tests later).
There is a free online course from Charles Sturt University

There are over 90 Youtube videos 5-10 minutes each. They cover a lot of material. I went through the set when I first started studying and again the week before I took my exam.  I also used the ITIL V3 Foundation Complete Certification Kit 2009 Edition by Malone, Manken, and Blodijk $89.97 on Amazon. It’s a book supplemented with online Adobe Flash modules. Note: I used a PDF copy of the book I managed to find on-line; I did not use the Adobe Flash modules. This website has terrific information on where to find free study guides and study materials: I put together a study PPT from materials I found on-line. The format is a slide asks a question, the next slide gives the answer. Pay particular attention to the checked questions. Use the slides at your own risk. It helped me pass, if you fail the exam, don’t sue me.

Click for Study Slides

The Exam The exam is 40 questions, multiple choice (A, B, C, D). Only 26 (65%) is required to pass. I did MUCH better than 65%. You get 1 hour to complete the test.

There are quite a few free few practice exams on the Internet. Just Google and you will easily find several. What I found is, many of the practice test formats are different from the ITIL exam (true/false, check the box, matching, more than 4 choices). Study them any way, they will pinpoint areas you still need to study.

I found many questions on the actual exam to be a worded a little differently than the practice exams (even the A, B, C, D multiple choice), but they do cover the same material. Quite a few questions had more than one answer, e.g.:
Name a Disney Character
1) Mickey Mouse 2) Pluto 3) Batman
A 1 only B 2 only C 1, 2, & 3 D 1 & 2

If you look at exam advice, they will tell you to eliminate answers that are obviously wrong. That’s good advice. If you are prepared and don’t know an answer, you should be able to eliminate at least one or two wrong answers from most questions.
When you get to the end of the end of the exam, you will have the opportunity to review your answers. I was able to get through the exam in about a half hour, had plenty of time to review (and correct) my answers. When done, select exit (it will give you one last to change your mind).  You will get your “pass” or “fail” notification in a few seconds. It prints a sheet with the score. It won’t tell you the questions you missed, but it will provide a breakdown of scores for each of the study areas.

My ITIL Certification helped me get the job I have now. I can’t say it was a deciding factor (maybe it was) but it was definitely a point in my favor.


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