How to prepare for the ISTQB® Foundation Level exam?

How to prepare for the ISTQB® Foundation Level exam?
ISTQB Exam / Online Education

How to prepare for the ISTQB® Foundation Level exam?

People interested in ISTQB® certification often ask me this question. There are several ways to prepare for any ISTQB® exam, including the foundation level. What options do you have?


One of the most common ways is to study on your own. You can:

  • Access free resources like the ISTQB® foundation syllabus and study on your own.
  • Explore the ISTQB® glossary and study the essential testing keywords.
  • Purchase and read an ISTQB® compliant book.
  • Enroll in an ISTQB® course on an e-learning platform.
  • Get together with friends or colleagues for group study.
  • Seek guidance from a mentor or colleague on challenging topics.

Self-study is cost-effective but has a few downsides:

  • Independent study may lack constructive feedback or guidance from an instructor. 
  • Studying can make it hard to stay motivated and committed without an instructor or peers.
  • Studying on your own may limit question-asking abilities without a teacher’s presence.
  • It’s hard to evaluate progress without a tutor or instructor’s help.

Take a non-accredited course

Today, there are plenty of online courses to choose from, which is excellent. Such courses are cheap or even cost nothing. However, please be very careful! Most courses are self-made without official revision from experts. It might raise concerns about the quality of the course material. Here’s an example: if a tutor covers only some of the crucial parts during a lesson on test design techniques, you will have a gap in understanding. Imagine a tutor mis-describing a topic that can lead to exam failure.

Take an accredited ISTQB course:

What does an accredited training course mean? Training material created by a provider must meet ISTQB® accreditation guidelines and high-quality standards. One of the ISTQB boards has to review the content and approve it. You can find all accredited training providers on the official ISTQB® website. For example, A Software Tester is an accredited training provider.

The latest ISTQB® effectiveness survey had over 2000 participants from 89 countries. The survey results revealed that almost 50% of the respondents opted for formal training to prepare for ISTQB® CTFL certification.

There are key advantages to taking an accredited course:

  • Testing experts in the field offer real-time advice through official courses. 
  • A structured learning environment keeps you focused and motivated.
  • Official courses provide valuable networking opportunities with peers and instructors, which benefit future careers. 
  • Course assessments help you identify strengths and areas for improvement.


I’ve tried different options for learning, like self-study and taking a course from a training provider. Here are my conclusions:

  • Assuming cost is not a problem, or your company pays for courses. Take an accredited course to discuss topics with a tutor and peers.
  • However, if you have budget limitations and sufficient time for self-preparation, in that case, self-study is a viable option as well.

Regardless of your chosen path, I wish you the best of luck in your preparation and success in becoming a certified tester. Good luck!

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