Preparation Tips for ITIL Foundations

I have 14+ years of experience in the IT field. I started this entry-level certification from Axelos as part of my improving my knowledge on the ITIL framework. After going through the course I was better able to relate to (and respect) the responsibilities of the shared services teams – quality, production support and PMO. I believe this certification is a good one for anyone who works on maintenance and operations.

What is ITIL 4 Foundation Exam?

The ITIL exam is an entry-level certification that tests your general awareness of ITIL concepts. It covers the key elements, concepts, and terminology used in the ITIL service lifecycle, including the links between lifecycle stages, the processes used, and their contribution to service management practices. There are a total of 40 questions and the time limit is 60 minutes. You must score at least 65 percent (26 questions) to earn the ITIL Foundation Certification.

ITIL Foundation Preparation Resources:

1. I received some ITIL training materials as part of the self-study group I enrolled in, followed by going through LinkedIn learning videos and reading the ITIL Study Guide. One pass is good, especially if you are able to relate back to your work. Should be a relatively easy exam to pass.

2. Take the practice tests here on our You can take one free practice test and gauge your ITIL 4 Foundation knowledge. 

3. My self-learning included TutorialsPoint ITIL 4 notes.

Preparation Notes and Cheat Sheet (NOT TO MISS #4)

1. Understand what a service system includes

  • Service relationships (the supply chain through which service is delivered)
  • Service offerings which constitute of:
    • Goods
    • Access to resources
    • Service actions that provide the core, enabling and/or enhancing services,
  • Products (refers to the hardware and software used to deliver the service)
  • Resources (refers to other elements like people, knowledge repository, etc).

2. Understand the Four Dimensions of Service Management

  • Organizations and people
  • Information and Technology
  • Partners and suppliers
  • Value streams and processes

3. Understand the core components of the Service Value System:

  • ITIL Guiding Principles
  • ITIL Service Value Chain (SVC)
  • Governance
  • Continual Improvement
  • ITIL Practices
ITIL Guiding PrinciplesITIL Service Value Chain (SVC)GovernanceContinual ImprovementITIL Practices
Focus on valueEngageEvaluateWhat is the Vision?General Management Practices 
Start where you arePlanDirectWhere are we now?Service Management Practices 
Collaborate and promote visibilityObtain and BuildMonitorWhere do we want to be?Technical Management Practices
Think and work holisticallyDesign and Transition How do we get there? 
Keep it simple and practicalDeliver and Support Take action 
Optimize and automateImprove Did we get there? 
   How do we keep the momentum going? 

4. In the ITIL foundations exam

You will be judged heavily on the lifecycle of a project framework. You can finish each category in 2-3 days. So, make sure you understand all the concepts in detail. This framework of ITIL is divided into five broad stages or categories:

  • Service Strategy
  • Service Design
  • Service Transition
  • Service Operation
  • Continual Service Improvement

The below table denotes Processes and Functions as defined in the ITIL Framework. The Functions are explicitly mentioned and the rest are all processes.

Service StrategyService DesignService TranslationService OperationsContinual Service Improvement
Financial ManagementService Level ManagementChange ManagementService Desk
7 Step Process Improvement
Service Portfolio ManagementAvailability ManagementAsset and Configuration ManagementIncident Management 
Demand ManagementCapacity ManagementRelease and Deployment ManagementProblem Management 
Strategy OperationsContinuity ManagementTransition Planning and SupportAccess Management 
 Information Security ManagementService Validation and TestingEvent Management 
 Service Catalogue ManagementEvaluationRequest Fullfilment 
 Supplier ManagementKnowledge ManagementTechnical Management (Function) 
   Application Management (Function) 
   IT Operations Management (Function) 

Logistics – What to expect on the Foundation Exam

1. The exam fee may vary by your geographic location but it is in the ballpark of USD 300.

2. To earn the ITIL Foundation certification, you must correctly answer 26 questions on 40 multiple-choice questions (4 choices)

3. The pass percentage for this entry-level exam is 65%.  Each correct answer is awarded one mark and it is a “closed book” examination.  

4. The exam’s duration is 1 hour. Candidates taking the exam in a language that is not their native or working language may be awarded 25% extra time, i.e. 75 minutes in total.

5. You can book your exam at Peoplecert here

Important Tips For the ITIL Exam

1. Follow the process of elimination for answers you are not sure about. You are not penalized for wrong answers. So, try to eliminate the wrong answers first and make a guess to select between the answers you are not sure of. 

2. Remember the goal is to answer 26 questions right. Once you think you have answered 26 right, only then focus on getting everything else right

3. This foundation exam gauges your knowledge not by how you do things at your company, but by how Axelos has defined its ITIL framework. So, it is important that you memorize the terms and processes as defined by the framework. 

4. The ITIL Foundation Exam is heavy on the five phases of the Project Lifecycle. An important point is to pay close attention to the keywords in the actual exam. The keywords will help you figure out what phase of the ITIL life cycle the question falls in. 

5. Don’t forget the ITIL Foundation practice exams

Most importantly, the ITIL Foundation certification does not expire or require continuing education to maintain. Hope this information is helpful to anyone who is planning to take up this certification

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Author: Haman Sharma is a lifelong learner and you can connect with him on LinkedIn.

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