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Twelve Top Questions about ISTQB Certification

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Twelve Top Questions about ISTQB Certification 

Q. 1: What is ISTQB?

ISTQB stands for "International Software Testing Qualifications Board". It is Belgium based International body legally established in the year 2002.

Software testing professionals from all over the world joined hands in formulating standardized contents for further education in the field of Software Testing. It is a multiple-choice exam & is an education program offered in 38 countries

ISTQB Website

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Q. 2: How many Levels of Certification are provided by ISTQB?

helvetica, sans-serif">The ISTQB has come out with an International Qualification Scheme called "ISTQB Certified Tester".

Presently there are two levels of exams leading to the specific levels of certification.

1) Foundation Level Certification: Name of this certification is "Certified Tester Foundation Level" (CTFL). This is the only one foundation level exam. This is an entry-level certification meant for people entering the field of testing and for experienced professionals desiring to move up the ladder of ISTQB certifications.

Foundation Level Certification offers evidence that the certified person has a broad understanding of the key concepts & fundamental best practices of software testing.

2) Advanced Level Certification: This is the intermediate level certification. Name of this certification is "Certified Tester Advanced Level" (CTAL).

Advanced Level Certification offers evidence that the certified person is a committed testing professional and has thorough understanding of key concepts & advanced best practices of software testing.

The prerequisites for applying for the Advanced level exam are as under:

A) For Bachelor’s Degree (or higher) Holders in Computer Science or related fields

1) Must have passed the Foundation Level Exam

2) 24 Months of Testing Experience in IT, Testing, Development, QA, Engineering or related fields (For any 2 sub-levels)

3) Min. 36 Months of experience mandatory for Advanced Level Complete Certification (For all 3 sub-levels)

B) For Non Bachelor ’s Degree (or higher) Holders in Computer Science or related fields

1) Must have passed the Foundation Level Exam

2) 60 Months of Testing Experience in IT, Testing, Development, QA, Engineering or related fields

Sub Levels of Advanced Level certifications: The Advanced Level certification exam has following three inter-related sublevels. Candidate can go in for either or all of these advanced level certifications.

Sub Level -1: Technical Test Analyst

Sub Level -2: Test Analyst

Sub Level -3: Test Manager

Key Features of the 3 - Advanced Sublevel exams

a) A single syllabus exists for all the three sublevels.

b) There is a separate paper for every sub-level and every exam is of 180 Minutes Duration.

c) Sub-Levels can be taken up in any order.

d) An individual Certificate is granted on successful completion of every sublevel exam.

Additional Advanced Level Certification: After completing the above three advanced level certifications, one can go in for an additional Advanced Level Certification by the name "Advanced Level (CTAL) – Full Advanced Level". This is an exam of 1.5 hours duration.

3) Expert Level Certification:
Has not started yet. Expert Level Certification is meant for leaders of the field of software testing with eight or more years of experience.

Expert Level Certification offers evidence that the certified person is a seasoned testing professional and has consistent understanding & execution of proven cutting edge techniques in testing.

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Q. 3: Who provides the ISTQB Certification?

Almost all-major countries are the member of the parent body i.e. ISTQB. These member countries have their local Software Testing Qualification Boards. These local boards provide their inputs to the syllabus and question papers for various exams including the process of examination.

Such boards conduct the exams strictly in accordance with the common syllabus defined by ISTQB & provide necessary certification.

In India, ITB (Indian Testing Board) is the ISTQB approved national board & provides the "ISTQB Certified Tester" Certification in India.

ITB (Indian Testing Board) Website

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Q. 4: What is the period of validity of ISTQB Certifications?

1) ISTQB Certified Tester - Foundation Level Certificate (CTFL): Valid for whole Life.

2) ISTQB Certified Tester - Advanced Level Certificate (CTAL): Valid for whole Life.

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Q. 5: What are the Advantages of ISTQB Certifications?

1) It is a known fact that the common practices generally lag behind the best practices by around 25 - 30 years. Basic advantage of ISTQB certifications is that these are aimed at bringing the common practices to the level of best practices.

2) ISTQB certifications are of International nature, whose certificate is recognized in several countries across various continents.

3) Since the syllabus of ISTQB certification exams is targeted to various concepts & techniques having real-world application, the ISTQB certification carries respect of the highest order among the International community.

4) ISTQB certification means an automatic certificate of sound practical knowledge & high caliber of the certified professional. This is certainly regarded as a golden feather in the cap of the certified person.

5) Due to great respect commanded by the ISTQB certification in the trade, it helps the aspirants in shaping their career path.

6) ISTQB certification provides a rock solid foundation for professional growth to the certified person.

7) ISTQB delivers value to the software testing profession itself.

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Q. 6: What are the Salient Features of the Foundation Level (CTFL) Exam?

1) It is a Knowledge Based Exam.

2) The aspirant need not have any prior experience.

3) No re-certification is required after some time, since the certificate remains valid for the whole life.

4) The Syllabus is very well structured & easy to understand.

5) This certification signifies that the:

a) Aspirant is committed to the software testing as a profession

b) Aspirant is very well conversant with various concepts and terminology of testing.

c) Aspirant is able to use the specialized techniques like code coverage analysis, boundary values analysis & Equivalence partitioning etc.

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Q. 7: What is the Structure of Foundation Level Exam conducted by ITB?

This exam is designed to evaluate the aspirant’s knowledge & understanding of the entire syllabus of Foundation level exam.

All ISTQB Foundation exams use the same format with following features:

1) This is a Closed Book Exam – Requiring you to darken the appropriate circle with the help of a pencil.

2) Exam consists of 40 multiple-choice questions each carrying 1 point for the correct answer (Total 40 Points)

3) Each question presents 4 or 5 possible answers, out of which only one is the correct one.

4) Time allowed for finishing the test: 75 Minutes

5) Passing Score: More than 65% (Minimum 26 Points are required to pass)

6) There is no negative marking.

7) %age breakup of questions in the exam:

a) 50% Questions – K1 Level (To check basic knowledge & remembering ability of a concept)

b) 30% Questions – K2 Level (To check the ability to compare, classify & summarize)

c) 20% Questions – K3 Level (To check the ability to analyze, apply the knowledge. Can include Numericals as well)

Explanation of various Knowledge Levels or K-Levels

8) Tentative Breakup of Syllabus for Foundation Level Certification (CTFL).

a) The syllabus covers following six major topics & the following table indicates the number of questions expected in the exam.



Topics covered

No. of Questions Expected in the Exam


The principles of testing

Terminology; why testing is necessary; fundamental test process; psychology of testing; re-testing and regression testing; expected results; prioritization.



Testing throughout the lifecycle

Models for testing; economics of testing; high level test planning; acceptance testing; integration testing in the large; functional and non-functional system testing; integration testing in the small; component testing; maintenance testing.



Static testing techniques

Reviews and the test process; types of review; static analysis.



Test design techniques

Dynamic testing techniques, (Behavioral) Black-box and (structural) White-box testing techniques; error guessing, BVA etc.



Test management

Organization; configuration management; test estimation, monitoring and control; incident management; standards for testing.



Tool support for testing

Types of CAST tool (Computer-Aided Software Testing); tool selection and implementation.


Total No. of Questions


b) The following table indicates the chapter wise breakup of questions according to different knowledge levels






Total No. of Questions Expected in the Exam


The principles of testing






Testing throughout the lifecycle






Static testing techniques






Test design techniques






Test management






Tool support for testing










9) Format of questions: In All ISTQB Foundation exams questions are presented in two standard formats like:

1) Basic Format: Every question consists of a stem that includes the real question & offers four response options out of which one & only one is the best & the correct choice. Options other than the correct one are known as distracters. It is possible that a particular distracter statement may also be true otherwise, but is treated as incorrect response simply because it doesn’t qualify to be the best choice, when associated with the present question.

A sample question with explanation of related terms is as under.

Sample Question 1: Which of the following is a MAJOR task of test planning?

A. Scheduling test analysis and design tasks.
B. Initiating corrective actions.
C. Monitoring progress and test coverage.
D. Measuring and analyzing results.

Explanation: Here the stem portion of the question is "Which of the following is a MAJOR task of test planning?". Generally in some questions an extra emphasis is laid on some particular word, for example in this sample question – MAJOR. This type of emphasized word can appear in the form of All capitals, or can be simply Bold, or can be written in Italics. Likewise common words that are used in the exam for providing more emphasis are: MAJOR, USUALLY, KEY, MORE, LEAST, MAIN, MOST, OFTEN, OPTIONALLY, MOST LIKELY, MUST

2) Roman Format: In the roman format type questions the stem of the question consists of many statements. Four types of response options & choices of likely answers depend upon the best combination of statements.

Roman format questions are further divided into two parts like

a) Roman simple format: A sample of roman simple format question with explanation of related terms is as under.

Sample Question 2: Some tools are geared more for developer use. For the 5 tools listed, which statement BEST details those for developers

I. Performance testing tools.
II. Coverage measurement tools.
III. Test comparators.
IV. Dynamic analysis tools.
V. Incident management tools.

A. i, iii. and iv. are more for developers.
B. ii. and iv. are more for developers.
C. ii, iii. and iv. are more for developers.
D. ii. and iii. are more for developers.

Explanation: Here the stem of the question consists of five statements marked as I, II, III, IV & V. In exam you can find these statements marked in roman small numerals like I, ii, iii, iv, v or alphabetically it can be S,T,U, V etc.) or something quite similar. The stem may have 2, 3, 4 or 5 statements as per the need. It may be noted that all these stem statements may be true in their own sense; however the correct answer shall be the one which completely describes the correctness of the combination of statements.

b) Roman typical format: It is slightly more difficult variant of roman type questions of K2 or K3 levels. A sample of roman typical format question with explanation of related terms is as under. K3 type questions sometimes contains some figures, flow charts, or small piece of codes that are included in the stem part.

Sample Question 3: Match the following terms and statements.

1.Decision Table Testing
2.Decision Testing
3.State Transition Testing
4.Exploratory Testing

W. Testing carried out w boxes to achieve specific test objectives, possibly to complement structured testing.

X. A test technique used which may be used to verify different system re depending on current conditions or previous history.

Y. A test technique which combines combinations of inputs that might not otherwise have been exercised during testing.

Z. A form of control flow testing based on decision outcomes.

A. 1Y, 2Z, 3X, 4W.
B. 1X ,2W, 3Z, 4Y.
C. 1Z, 2X, 3W, 4Y.
D. 1Z, 2Y, 3X, 4W.

Explanation: Here the stem of the question consists of two sets of statements marked as 1,2,3,4 & second set W,X,Y,Z. For arriving at the correct answer, first set of statements need to be carefully matched with the second set of statements.

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Q. 8: What is the Syllabus for various ISTQB certifications Exams?

Download the syllabus from the following links:

1) ISTQB Foundation Level (CTFL) Syllabus - 2011

2) ISTQB Advanced Level (CTAL) Syllabus - 2007

The Advanced Level syllabus is divided into three areas like:

a) Advanced behavioral testing or Black Box testing & testing standards for business oriented testing professionals.

b) Test automation and advanced structural testing or White Box testing for programmers & software testers.

c) Sophisticated test management concepts for Professional Managers.

The Advanced Level syllabus covers following topics:

a) Basic Aspects of Software Testing
b) Testing Processes
c) Test Management
d) Test Techniques
e) Testing of Software Characteristics
f) Reviews
g) Incident Management
h) Standards & Test Improvement Process
j) Test Tools & Automation
k) People Skills - Team Composition

Part -2 of Twelve Top Questions about ISTQB Certification 

Many More Articles & Study Material on ISTQB Certification 

Largest Database of Sample Papers - 1000+ Unique Questions for ISTQB Foundation Exam

ISTQB Foundation Exam - Full Crash Course for Download

ISTQB Advanced CTAL Test Analysts Exam - Full Crash Course for Download

ISTQB Advanced CTAL Test Manager Exam - Full Crash Course for Download

Consolidated Study Material - All ISTQB Certification Exams

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Comments :


# 1 George bamidele on 2009-05-15 21:23:17

is ISTQB advanced level a computer based exam, can some one take it in one the the test center here in UK.

Thanks _ George

# 2 balaji on 2009-08-07 11:44:38
Hi, How does this compare to CSBA., i hear CSTE is also better than the Advanced level.,


# 3 Yogindernath on 2009-08-08 04:46:23
Hi Kishore

I will answer your question like this:

1) CSQA - (Certified Software Quality Assurance): This Certification from (Quality Assurance Institute ) is suitable for Senior Testers / Test Leads engaged as Quality Coordinators

Its Major Focus is on Software Quality Assurance. This is very well recognized Internationally. It requires recertification after 3 years

No training is Provided for CSQA Certification

2) CSTE - (Certified Software Test Engineer): This Certification also from (Quality Assurance Institute ) is Suitable suitable for experienced testers with at least 3 Years of experience + thorough knowledge of complete Testing Lifecycle.

Its Major coverage is on Areas of Testing. Its Major Focus is on practical approaches as against testing the theoretical knowledge of the candidate.

This is also very well recognized Internationally. It also requires recertification after 3 years

No training is Provided for CSTE Certification but CBOK is useful for its preparation.

I hope now you can decide out of the two depending upon your profile.


# 4 Raja on 2009-11-11 13:56:31

The mock exam papers for ISTQB Foundation Level exam are excelent.

Best Regards,

# 5 raghav on 2011-01-18 00:15:36
Hi all

i have completed my ISEB foundation level now iam planing to ISTQB advanced level can i do it .if so please let me details

# 6 babasaheb patil on 2011-08-01 07:44:30
best site for ISTQB prepration!

# 7 istqb on 2011-08-03 07:00:18
Hey Thanks a lot. is the foundation level certification required for advance certification?

# 8 Purvi on 2012-01-10 00:24:57
pls let me know abt the latest syllbus regarding istqb foundation.....i have 1 book for that doorthy grahan,.,,but i think it do not cover latest syllbus....i m gonna give u exam in feb-2012...i m preparing from that book nd from this site it enough or not....pls provide me some guidance for soon as mail id

# 9 Software on 2012-03-11 10:06:28
If some one wants to be updated with hottest technologies
after that he must be pay a visit this web site and be up
to date every day.

# 10 Aravind on 2012-12-15 14:51:36
Thank a lot to this website..

I have Passed my ISTQB Foundation exam today (15/12/12) with 87.5%.

950 questions and Syllabus of 76 pages helped very much to cover all the questions.

Lots of Thanks again..

# 11 shashi on 2013-06-11 17:52:52

Please share the 950 questions and 76 pages .. I am planning to take ISTQB exam.

# 12 Nagalakshmi on 2013-06-24 21:32:53
hi shashi
please help to me.i am also planning to take ISTQB exam.and share your ideas please.if u want to help to me,please contact my mail

# 13 Uma rani on 2013-09-26 21:30:59
Do istqb itb valid internationally r valid in other countries specifically in Canada?

# 14 priya on 2013-09-30 13:21:27

i have started with ISTQB. Can any one suggest how to prepare for this exam? I l find it more useful.

# 15 Farnaz on 2014-03-19 21:57:39
Hi Shashi, This is Farnaz can u plz share the material of 950 questions and 76 syllabus pages and also suggest me from where should I start in order to percentage like u.plz share to my email

# 16 sathiyapriya on 2014-06-07 15:30:08
Is this exam is worth to write...??? bcoz i hav seen many negative comments about this.. im planning to write this examm so please clarify me about this. is it valid for mnc's in india.... how much percentage is required for a mnc. please help me out with question banks...

# 17 Ravikumar on 2014-06-10 15:45:01
Hi Team,
Im planning to take ISTQB foundation level exam.Im bit confused with ISTQB and ITB. I have a few queries in the exams conducted by ITB.

1.ISTQB certification issued by ISTQB and ITB is it same for both foundation and advanced level.
2.The foundation level exam conducted by ITB is it online or manual.
3.Why the cost is less when we take the foundation level in ITB(Approx.INR4500) than other Prometric centers(approx.INR9300)

Thanks in advance.

Ravikumar P

# 18 Udhai on 2015-08-22 18:20:11

i have started with ISTQB. Can any one suggest how to prepare for this exam? I l find it more useful.

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