11 Tips to pass ITIL v3 Foundation exam


Motivation is the key

If you are reading this post, I am pretty sure either you are planning to get through the ITIL Foundation exam or at least you have a goal in mind to do so.

Why not you set your goal to get through this competitive exam in your first attempt?. If yes, keep reading, let me share a few tips based on my past experience. Believe me, motivation is the key to your success and planning will drive you, towards it.

Motivation is the key to your success and planning will drive you, towards it 

Setting your Goals

I followed a unique way of preparing my self for the examination, in just 6 days. It doesn’t have to be the same for you. It may be less or more time, it totally depends on your hard work. Let’s explore how it worked to fulfill my goals.

As I mentioned earlier, motivation is the key aspect. Your objectives must be SMART enough to reach your goal effectively, so don’t target for six days, be practical.

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Two Approaches, One Goal

You have two options. i.e. either self-study or attend a classroom.

Back to School

Attend a classroom if you are not experienced in IT Service Management (ITSM) as ITIL recommends. But that is not all if you are really confident, keep reading. Because, if you are committed and motivated enough to set a goal in life, you can plan well ahead to achieve it regardless of your experience (maybe within a short period of time).


If you are experienced in ITSM (IT Service Management), continue reading. All set for you to go ahead.


I am not affiliated with Sybex neither selling their products or services.

  • Experienced in IT Service Management (ITSM).
  • The hard copy of the digital format of the ITIL Foundation Exam Guide by Hellen Morris & Liz Gallacher from Sybex is available. Follow this link to purchase.
  • Installed the Sybex Test Engine tool (for testing your knowledge). You can find this tool at this link. Please register to access these free materials and adhere to Terms of Use of Sybex.

11 Techniques for your success

Here are 11 techniques that I’ve found useful, and helped me succeed to ge tthrough in my first attempt.

Select a good resource as a GUIDE

The ITIL Foundation Exam Guide by Hellen Morris & Liz Gallacher from Sybex is a very good resource. I found this as a well-structured material for passing the exam. Not only it provides the concepts of ITIL framework, but also a summary of each chapter, an exam essential guide and an assessment test to test your knowledge level.

 A good resource will always guide you through till the end. 

Do the preassessment test

The ITIL Foundation Exam Guide by Hellen Morris & Liz Gallacher from Sybex provides you a preassessment test before you begin your journey. This will help you to assess yourself, to identify the knowledge gaps that you really required to insist on during your efforts.

Read and summarize

You must READ the ITIL Foundation Exam Guide carefully to understand the concepts and its logical relationships to each process throughout the Service Life Cycle Stages. Use a mind-mapping technique to summarize each chapter in your own way.

Further, read the SUMMARY of each chapter carefully. Try to understand what you have learned already and what you may have missed (if any). You may require to refer the same chapter again and again until you satisfy your self (remember do not by-heart).

Reading the EXAM ESSENTIALS at this time is not a must (I will reveal later why) 

Do chapter tests

You have two options as well. Either you can refer the installed Sybex Test Engine or you can follow the traditional method by referring the book itself. Remember to make a note of the areas you already knew at the time of the assessment. This will enable you to identify the areas that you should put more weight.

   Repeat steps 3 & 4 for each chapter.   

Study the mind-maps carefully

By this time you should have developed the Mind-maps. Try to find the relationships with each process under each stage of the Service Life Cycle. You don’t need to by-heart anything for the exam, except for few concepts such as the Demin Cycle (also known as PDCA Cycle) and Seven-Step Improvement Process under Continual Service Improvement (CSI) stage.

 Fix a date for the exam. Leave a few days for the balance work. 

READ exam essentials of each chapter

Compare your knowledge and refer the mind-maps to fill the knowledge gap. If required you may revisit respective knowledge areas to refresh yourself. You can always skip repeating what you already know.

Repeat the preassessment test

This will let you know your strengths and the outcome of your valuable effort.

This helps to increase your speed at the exam to answer questions. 

Test your knowledge, do mock exams

The ITIL Foundation Exam Guide provides you with two mock exams free. Test your knowledge with timing. Be serious and pretend that you are at the final examination. Keep a gap between two exams.

Read all answers carefully

Yes, now you will feel that you are possessing a good knowledge in all five stages of the Service Life Cycle. Refer to all answers of each chapter tests, assessments, and the mock exams. You can also refer to Mind-maps to have a higher-level view of each process.

Final Test

Do the mock exam provided by ITIL Official site. Till now, you have done more than 280 questions so far.

 Check with the exam center to confirm your exam date. 

Repeat step 5 once more.

Congratulation! now you are ready to take the examination. Good Luck!!!


  • Visit the ITIL Official Site to obtain the glossaries of terms, free mock exam paper, and more information about ITIL v3 Foundation exam.
  • Register at www.sybex.com in order to access free downloadable study tools from Sybex.

Disclosure of Material connection

I have no relationship with the entities in the links or references neither I am an employee nor an affiliate. I only recommend products or services which I used or reviewed personally that I believe has a value to my readers.

Share your experience

Share your experience of both what made you successful or brought failures. That will help us to fine tune and improve these tips further, to make them more efficient and effective for others to follow.

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