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Author  Clare Cottrell and Craig Smith - Axelos ITIL Team

July 7, 2017 |

 5 min read

  • Training & Exam Resources
  • Examinations
  • ITIL

Passing the ITIL® Practitioner certification is a significant achievement. It shows you can take the ITIL framework and adapt it to real-life situations.

The following tips will improve your chance of passing your exam.

Studying for the ITIL Practitioner exam and getting to know the ITIL Practitioner Manual

  • Read around the topic before you start. There is a page on dedicated to ITIL Practitioner resources, including Guiding Principles case studies
  • The Practitioner exam is open book, meaning you can consult the manual, ITIL Practitioner Guidance, during the exam.
  • ITIL Practitioner Guidance is the only book you are allowed to take into the Practitioner exam. You should receive a copy as part of your course pack.
  • Get to grips with the scenario around which the exam is based:
    • What is the relationship between the organizations within the scenario?
    • What are their objectives?
    • Are they a customer or a supplier? Or both?
      The scenario can be found within the sample paper
  • Sitting the sample paper will give you confidence that you know your stuff. Studying the detailed rationale that comes with the sample paper will help you understand what the examiner is looking for. Get into the habit of using the book as a resource that helps you answer the questions.
  • Mark up your book with written notes, post-it notes and highlighter pen. This will save you time when you need to locate information during the exam.
    • It’s OK to write in the manual. A clear note added to the text or a figure can help you understand the concepts.
    • Use a highlighter pen to mark-up salient sections of the manual.
    • Post-it notes are helpful for adding easy-to-navigate markers. We suggest, as a minimum, you colour code the following:
      • Guiding principles
      • CSI approach
      • The three core competencies
      • Tools and templates
    • Other than for navigation, you cannot insert pieces of paper with additional information into your book for the Practitioner exam. The invigilator will check prior to your examination
    • Within the book:
      • The pink call-out boxes are Examples that shed light on the topic
      • The blue call-out boxes are links to the relevant Templates or Tools
  • Ask questions during the course. How does ITIL relate to your own experience? Your instructor is likely to use real world examples; feel free to create your own. Think about your own organization’s objectives, critical success factors (CSFs) and key performance indicators (KPIs).

      What to Expect During the ITIL Practitioner Exam

      • Don’t forget to take your ITIL Foundation certificate with you to the exam. Foundation is a pre-requisite for taking the Practitioner exam. (You’ll need the certificate from the exam body, not the training provider!)
      • You have 135 minutes in which to answer 40 questions. This means you have nearly three minutes per multiple-choice question. So don’t panic, stay calm and take your time.
      • If English is not your first language, you can ask your invigilator for more time to complete the exam. Make sure you clear this *before* the exam begins.
      • The Exam is built around a case study, which you’ll become familiar with during the course, plus several supplementary scenarios. The questions in the exam relate to the scenarios.
      • Read the question …. Really read it. Read it again.
      • Pick out key words in the structure of the scenario, e.g. goal, value, customer.
      • Some questions are very straight-forward and the obvious answer is the right one. Don’t over-think it.
      • Don’t be disheartened by hard questions early on in the exam. There are tiers of difficulty within the examination, from simple questions to ones that challenge your understanding.
      • Ensure you mark your answers according to the invigilator’s instructions. Exam papers are marked using a scanner, so make sure there is no scope for the system to misinterpret your answer.
      • It is worth putting a small mark on the question paper against questions you are not sure of. You can revisit them at the end if there’s time.
      • Keep one eye on the clock and avoid spending too long on any one question. If you are not sure of the answer, mark it for later and move on.
      • Eliminate the options in the answers you know to be incorrect. It makes it easier for the right answer to jump out at you.
      • Answer every question. It’s multiple-choice – even if you don’t know the answer, you have a one-in-four chance of getting it right.
      • Go through your answers at the end to ensure you didn’t miss a question, and that you didn’t mark your answers against the wrong questions. It pays to check. But, only change an answer if you are certain you made a mistake. Gut instinct is often right.

      What To Do After the ITIL Practitioner Exam

      • Relax. Don’t spend time worrying about your exam result. The course is still valuable, regardless of your score.
      • You will receive your result within a few weeks of sitting the exam.
      • Give your training organization constructive feedback. Be sure to tell them what you liked about the course, as well as what you think they could improve.
      • When you get back to the office you could:
      • Compare your experiences of the ITIL course with your colleagues
      • Discuss real-world applications of the ITIL framework
      • Share the ITIL Practitioner templates as appropriate
      • Encourage your colleagues to study ITIL if you think they would benefit from understanding the processes and language
      • Use the nine guiding principles when embarking on any project, big or small
      • Attend events or conferences to learn more about developments in IT Service Management (ITSM). DevOps and agile methodologies are hot topics at these events and you should now be able to see the clear synergies between these methods and philosophies and the thinking behind ITIL Practitioner.
      • Leverage the AXELOS platform:
      • Join AXELOS Membership to gain access to a wealth of information including templates, guidance papers, white papers and exam guidance videos
      • Follow AXELOS on social media to stay up-to-date with the latest news and developments in ITIL and the rest of our Global Best Practice portfolio.

      Read AXELOS' other exam tips blog posts

      ITIL® Foundation Exam Top Tips - Part 1 - How to Prepare

      ITIL® Foundation Exam Top Tips - Part 2: During the Exam

      ITIL® Foundation Exam Top Tips - Part 3: After the Exam

      PRINCE2® 2009 Foundation Exam Tips

      MSP® Practitioner exam tips and advice