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How to prepare ITIL 4 Foundation Certification

ITIL 4 Foundations Exam is a entry-level certification about service delivery practices among the certifications issued by ITIL.

I passed this exam on March 2020, so I would like to share my experience and lessons learnt about it.

Some commercial training organizations or apps are mentioned in the post. The idea is not to advertise them, but to give my feedback about what I know based on my own experience. It is not in the scope of this post to compare all available options in the market.

Training Course

Personally, I am not a big fan of assisted courses when talking about technical subjects. I feel more comfortable if I set my own pace by reading the documentation and stop to highlight lines, look up terms, and ensure I understand everything before continuing.

Nevertheless, my company offered man online course by a training company called Tecnofor. The pack included an online course and a PDF created by the training company to study the certification.

I had to complete the online course in a very limited time, so I confess I did not spend all the time I should on the course. But when I finished it I did not take much out from it, just some terminology (System Value System, System Value Chain, etc.) that seemed to be critical terms to understand the practices.

Certification Preparation

What is the source material to study the certification?

I know ITIL 4 published official documentation to prepare the certification, but I cannot give feedback about it as I did not use it.

In my case, I used the documentation provided by the training company Tecnofor. This documentation was provided to students just after course registration. The material seemed to be a translation to Spanish of official documentation, with two sample exams and a syllabus added as the end pages.

I think it is better to use the official material, but in any case I passed without issues using the material from the training company.

In which language should I study the certification?

I would recommend to complete the exam in the same language in which you have practiced the sample questions. As most of the sample tests are exclusively offered in English, I recommend to do it in English if you feel comfortable reading on this language.

Though my training material was written in Spanish, I chose to do the exam in English. Personally, I try to avoid studying with translated material, as translated terminology found in the exam can mismatch from the training documentation, especially if translators do not agree to use the same terms.

How long does it take to get the certification?

It depends on how much time are you dedicating to it.

If you dedicate full time, I would say 2 weeks. A teacher is suppose to explain the certification document in 3 days. Add it some days to review the content, understand it, and then the second week to test exams and keep reviewing.

If you are dedicating part-time (for example, if you are working at the same time), think of 1 month.

What is the source material to practice tests?

Tecnofor documentation attached two exam samples. The filenames of these exam samples were written at the bottom, so I am writing them down in case they can be easily found:

  1. EN-ITIL4-FND-2019-SamplePaper1-QuestionBk-v1-3
  2. EN-ITIL4-FND-2019-SamplePaper2-QuestionBk-v1-0

These exams were very useful, but were limited to 80 questions. As I felt I needed a larger set of questions, I look for more sample tests.

I found very useful the app “Official ITIL 4 Foundation App”. It helps you to perform random tests, assessing your results and explaining why a question is incorrect. You can download it for Android. It cost me less than 10 €.

Most of the questions from the sample exams and the app appeared on the actual exams —literally or maybe a bit reformulated—, while few questions in the exams were completely new to me. In any case, studying the sample exams and understand the explanations for both the correct and incorrect answers helped me a lot to deal with the exam questions.

Exam Registration

By the time I did the exam, PeopleCert was the only organization certified to offer ITIL 4 exams, so I got it from them.

There are face-to-face and proctored exams. I chose the second type to avoid the annoyance of moving to the nearest office available to complete the exams.

It surprised me that the only schedules available where from 12am to 7am (GMT+1). My guess was that proctors worked in Asia, so the schedule was adapted to their time zones. Nevertheless, my proctor seemed to be Slavic rather than Asian. If anyone knows about this mysterious nocturnal shift, please comment.

Day of the Exam

I could complete the exam at home. They gave me 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete it, and took me 45 minutes filling the answers and reviewing all questions very carefully.

It was my first proctored exam, but I guess it had the same procedure as any other. You need to preinstall software on your computer, carry your ID or have it scanned on your computer, and the proctor will give you the instructions to ensure the exam is done in conditions where cheating is hampered.

The provisional test results were informed  immediately, and it is a relief to know if you have passed or not right at the moment. The official certificate arrived two days later to my e-mail inbox. There is no hard copy version of the document.


If you are looking forward to get ITIL 4 Foundation certificate, I wish you the best of the luck! Please share your feedback when you are finished.


About pmgallardo

I studied Computer Science at University of Salamanca. Since then, I have been working first as developer and then as SAP consutant. This blog is about problems I dealt when using computers, and more important, the solutions I found. Whenever I am on an issue and suddenlly I have a flash that leads me to a solution, I document my discoveries in a post.

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