We’re living currently in difficult times. COVID-19, unemployment, economic crisis. This situation affects our motivation to get a new better job, sometimes we lose our current job. No matter, what happens, some of us think: Maybe now is the time to change something in my life? Maybe a new job? What about IT? Software Testing, programming, etc. It seems like something for me. But I don’t want only programming. It’s boring for me.
What about Software Testing? That’s a good idea. When we decide to change the profession, we start to think about the best options for us to gain our goal easier. Let’s say, we’ve decided to step forward for being a Software Tester. What do we do? We start to look for more information about it. What is required for being a Software Tester? What do we need to know about it? We have a lot of questions, for which we need to find the answers, we start to dig in deeper. Looking for books, maybe youtube more often, blogs, etc. You start to read about it. Practice Software Testing. As a result, you gain practice in manual testing.
After some time, we see the information about ISTQB certification. ISTQB certification is the certification, which a lot of Software Testers pass to become a Certified Software Tester. This certification proves our theoretical testing knowledge. Also, when we will connect theoretical knowledge with practice, we can become better testers.
ISTQB is a complex certification path for testers to gain more and more qualifications.
As we can see on the above photo, the choice of certification path (and career as well) is huge. It doesn’t change the fact before we will choose the specialization, we need to pass the Foundation Level first.
The foundation level is recommended for testers with 6 months of testing experience, but we’re not saying you can’t to pass it before this time. This, what is required that you need to interesting in software testing.
I, for example, didn’t pass the ISTQB FL (Foundation Level) exam after these 6 months. I passed this earlier. After some time, I think I could wait for that, but I already passed it so I can focus on the practice now.
When we need/want to pass the exam, we need to prepare ourselves for that. But how we can do it? We can go for a paid course, where the experienced mentors will explain to us the theory of the ISTQB FL Syllabus and will train us before the exam. I didn’t choose this path because I wanted to save money.
So what did I do? I started to prepare myself alone. You can as well. I’m not saying now that the paid courses are a bad idea. On the contrary, I even think the courses are much better. If you decide to prepare alone for the exam, I need to warn you, it’s not that easy, but it’s not impossible as well.
Self-preparing to the ISTQB FL exam.
Before you book the exam, it could be nice to gain some knowledge. First of all, I warmly recommend getting to know about the ISTQB FL Syllabus (v. 2018). For now, the newest version is coming from November 2019 and is the most actual version. First I wrote about 2018, later 2019. Why that? Because after the 2018 version has been deployed, the syllabus has been updated with the tiny changes a few times. If you’re interested to read the syllabus, you can download it here.
You can look for the book which explains more the testing concepts. I used the polish book to prepare myself for the exam. The book is ” ISTQB Certyfikowany Tester Oprogramowania” (eng. ISTQB Certified Software Tester), written by Adam Roman and Lucjan Stapp. You can see the book here. For English speakers, I’ve heard the good book preparing for the exam is “Foundation of Software Testing” written by Dorthy Graham, Rex Black, and Erik van Veenendaal. You can see this book here. I didn’t only read this one book, this book is only a complement to the ISTQB FL Syllabus.
Without reading the book and syllabus together I wouldn’t probably pass the exam.
You can’t forget to practice the knowledge in exam samples. You can find them on the ISTQB official website in the same place where you can download the syllabus.
Booking the exam.
When will you prepare yourself well enough, you can think about the exam booking. The first thing you need to do is find the exam centre where you can pass the exam. We live in difficult times where lockdown closes every institution, includes the exam centres. In that case, the internet can be very helpful. You can pass the ISTQB exam online until the end of 2021 (January 2020 update). So with that information, you can choose the date and book the exam. ISTQB exam costs around 200£, so it’s not that cheap.
After processing the whole booking process, you will get the email to register for the exam with the instruction on how to do that. After doing this, you will get the confirmation that you are signed up for the exam with the instructions about the exam process.
In the day of exam.
Finally, we’ve reached this day. The day of the exam. You need to prepare the room for it. Your exam environment. Your stress level is getting up with every minute. How you can stop to think about it and calm down? It’s difficult but it’s not impossible. You can listen to the music before that (it helped me a lot) or doing something else that makes you happy. During waiting until the exam slot will open, make sure, your phone and laptop/PC are working and the internet, which is the most important in this exam type.
The funny thing is, that the exam day was very stressful for me because I’ve had internet failure and it dropped often, for a while. 😅 I wanted to connect to my mobile network (after letting my exam center know, normally without their agreement is not allowed). When I connected and started to show to the proctor my exam environment (room, desk, etc.), my connection dropped out. You can only imagine, what I’ve felt during this time. We need to tell ourselves that after you’re dropped out by the network, the exam is canceled and of course the money is not refunded. But luckily, I could reconnect, and this time I only thought about the internet connection. I totally recommend getting a good internet during the exam to decrease the stress level.
Being observed vs stress vs exam questions.
You could think that being observed by video during the online exam is more stressful than during the exam in person. Honestly, I didn’t even think about that (maybe because thought about the internet connection). When you will focus on the exam questions, the whole stress level decreases. Really. You need to remember that the exam is for 60 minutes and non-native English speakers 75 minutes. It’s not that much time, believe me. I’ve finished the exam in 35 minutes, but I think if I would spend a bit more time, my results would be better. Even if the question is difficult, your brain thinks rather about the correct answer, than about someone is looking at you.
About the difficult questions. If you see, you don’t know the answer, choose the answer that is the best in your opinion and go-ahead to the next question. Once you’ve finished the all question, read them one more time. If I wasn’t doing that, I wouldn’t probably pass the exam. That’s a really important tip and please, remember about that! 🙂 After you will check the one more time the answers, you can finish the exam. That’s the most stressful moment because in a minute you’ll see the answer. I was only smiling a bit when I saw, I’ve passed, I couldn’t believe it. When I saw on the chat, that the proctor congratulated me, I thought: Wow, I did it. You will feel probably the same the first time will you see the result.
Congratulation, you’ve become the Certified Software Tester.
Now we know how to pass the ISTQB Foundation Level exam online, how to prepare for it, and where to find the materials. Good luck! 🙂
I hope you enjoyed the reading and saw some useful information in this article.
The next post will arrive soon 🙂