ITIL® 3 Foundation Exam Tips
Important note: This guide is about the ITIL 3 Foundation exam. If you’re a candidate for the ITIL 4 Foundation exam, read the ITIL 4 Foundation Exam Tips guide instead.
Over the years, we’ve seen three major reasons why people fail this exam. The first two reasons you might expect, but the third may be a surprise, and something you should be aware of.
- Not learning the material. Pretty obviously, you do need to pay attention and remember things. Some of the questions are memory-based, names of sub-processes, types of metrics, etc. So a combination of memory and understanding is needed to get you through.
- Panic, carelessness or stress. It may have been a few years since you did an exam and it can feel stressful and intimidating when it’s just you faced with 40 questions. That’s why we suggest you use at least one sample paper as practice for both exam questions and exam conditions. When you’re feeling stressed, it is more likely your brain will misread or misunderstand things. So keep calm, read it carefully, and read it fully.
- Being experienced and knowledgeable. This is a foundation exam, offering an introductory view of IT Service Management. As a result, the questions are simple and straightforward. In complicated real-life ITSM things are not so simple. Often, candidates with experience of aspects of ITSM in that complicated real world look for “tricks” in the questions. There are no trick questions, though. Do not tell yourself, “It can’t be that obvious”, because it usually is that obvious in ITIL Foundation questions.
There are some pure memory-based aspect, a list of some of which is included below. Also worth noticing and remembering are some word associations commonly featured in the exams. For example, if the question asks about “relationships”, it is most likely a question about “Service Asset and Configuration Management” – and vice versa, of course. Again, we have listed some of these associations to help you remember them.
Things Worth Remembering
- Life cycle phases:
- Service Strategy
- Service Design
- Service Transition
- Service Operation
- Continual Service Improvement.
- Types of metric:
- Capacity management sub-processes:
- Business capacity management
- Service capacity management
- Component capacity management
- Priority derives from impact and urgency
- Financial management for IT services comprises Budgeting, Accounting (both required) & Charging (optional)
- Five aspects of service design
- Four Ps of Service Design: People, Process, Products, Partners
- Three types of Change: Normal, Emergency, Standard
- Contributing to CSI is everyone’s responsibility so it is a valid entry into any and every job role across ITSM
- Nothing is bigger than the SKMS – Every other database or information system of ITSM data or information fits within the SKMS.
- If you are asked for a function – Eliminate processes from the answer, and vice versa.
- Know the common examiners’ technique to generate wrong answers. (For example, to the question “which process …?”, reject any answer that includes “service desk”.)
Word associations in ITIL
- Relationships, and Attributes are found in SACM.
- Serviceability relates to external contracts, including underpinning contracts.
- SLAs and OLAs are internal documents.
- Models (especially change but also incident and others) comprise predetermined steps.
- Most terms that end in –ility (maintainability, reliability, serviceability, etc.) are part of availability.
- Recording and managing errors is part of Problem management.
- Most processes are relevant across many lifecycle phases, but Release & Deployment is wholly contained within Service Transition.
- And Testing takes place within Release.
- Supplier management works with contracts.
- Value is delivered to the customer