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Weekend Warrior: Get ITIL Certified in a Single Weekend

ITIL bridge clip and PostItDo note that my one-weekend recommendation is specific to the ITIL Foundation v3 certification. AXELOS carries further designations in this line of certifications such as Practitioner, Intermediate, Expert and Master. AXELOS also offers the well-known (outside of the United States) Prince2 certification.


Now that you’ve made the commitment and understand what the test covers, it’s time to order your book. Here is a link to AXELOS’s recommended preparation materials. You can also acquire a Dummies guide or equivalent reading from Amazon. If you have a friend who took a guided class, borrow the material from them, but be sure to check with the educational authority on how they view their ex-students lending the books to people who didn’t take the class — some just don’t like it.


I personally like Sybex books. They usually have offer a hardcover guide, or at least one substantial enough to meet my quirky texture fixation. The ITIL Foundation Exam Study Guide by Sybex should do the trick nicely.


The Exam


Your book have arrived, and you’re ready to sign up for the exam, which can be done with a few clicks at Pearson VUE. (I suggest that you sign up to take the test early in the morning.) The cost of the exam is $169 (U.S.) and covers the five framework topics. The format is 40 multiple-choice questions, to be completed within one hour. A score of 65 percent (26 questions) is required to pass.


It’s been said that the exam is equivalent to a U.S. driver’s license test — does the candidate know enough not to kill anyone with their motor vehicle? It’s not difficult with a bit of preparation. If you fail, you shouldn’t be on the road ... same concept.


Study tips


Study weekend approaches and you need a plan for getting through the material. Simply take an hour on Friday night and lay out a step-by-step approach that works for you. Here is a typical one for myself:


1. Establish a quiet place to study.
2. Select appropriate snacks and drinks (skip the alcohol).
3. Google and print a few practice exams.
4. Read the book.
5. Review other people’s tips and tricks.
6. Read the second book.
7. Take a break — a movie works best for me.
8. Review practice questions and answers.
9. Try a practice exam (they are all over the internet) under timed conditions.
10. Print/Read/Review reliable study guides that you’ve found all over the Internet.


There is no perfect way to study. My advice is that the best way to study is to do what works for you.


When you signed up for the exam, you should have signed up for an early morning seat. Experience indicates that getting a good night’s sleep, waking up early, and taking the test early allows for optimal performance. Plus you can go straight into work afterward, bragging that you are now ITIL-certified.



Nathan Kimpel PhotoNathan Kimpel is a seasoned information technology and operations executive with a diverse background in all areas of company functionality, and a keen focus on all aspects of IT operations and security. Over his 20 years in the industry, he has held every job in IT and currently serves as a Project Manager in the St. Louis (Missouri) area, overseeing 50-plus projects. He has years of success driving multi-million dollar improvements in technology, products and teams. His wide range of skills include finance, ERP and CRM systems. Certifications include PMP, CISSP, CEH, ITIL and Microsoft.