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An Introduction To ITIL® Exam

30th Jan, 2024
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    An Introduction To ITIL® Exam

    ITIL® is the most widely adopted ITSM framework in the world. Adopting ITIL® brings many key benefits to your IT service management processes. It blesses your organization with flexibility, adaptability, and improved relationships with the customers. There are various levels which demonstrate the skills and expertise of the candidate taking the ITIL® examination. Each level has certain requirements and benefits.

    What is ITIL® foundation certification exam? 

    The ITIL® - ‘Information Technology Infrastructure Library’ is a management software framework, built to make services provided by the IT sector more effective and parallel with the business procedures.

    Organizations who adopt ITIL® must follow the set of rules and framework laid out by it. This framework guides them into delivering their services according to a well-designed set of uniform processes. ITIL® is hugely accepted, as it is formulated after considering thousands of case studies, real-life situations and suggestions from professionals. ITIL® frameworks assist the companies in improving their ITSM by providing the customer with the best service.

    Why take the ITIL® exam? 

    The foundation certification exam is the entry-level course. It teaches the basics and general concepts, terminology, and elements practiced in the ITIL® Lifecycle.

    The attributes of ITIL® Framework such as implementation, integration, and configuration in the business structures allow the company to be more productive, produce better results and stay essentially prudent. The framework assists the companies to be cost-effective by grasping the best practices.

    ITIL® offers the following benefits:

    • Reduced IT costs
    • Improved IT services
    • Improved customer satisfaction
    • Strict adaptation of standards and guidance
    • Improved productivity
    • Improved employment of skills and experience
    • Improved delivery of third-party services

    Not just that, reports have also suggested that the ITIL® can also help businesses improve services by:

    • Establishing customer relationships by addressing effective services that meet their needs.
    • Assisting businesses in handling uncertainty, disturbance, and failure
    • Producing a firm environment that still permits development, scale, and variety.
    • Establishing cost-effective methods

    The certification affirms your skills and expertise in the field. Moreover, the best feature of the ITIL® certification is that once you acquire the certification, you will have these credentials in your resume for a lifetime.

    Benefits of ITIL® to individuals:

    • ITIL® has helped the learners in getting acquainted with the best practice methodology. These methods are not only systematic but are professionally valued too.
    • The course enhances a professional’s ability to design, distinguish and support the IT services in a business, producing improved productivity, performance, and competence.
    • It addresses and teaches professionals to focus on the most important aspect of a business - the customer experience.
    • ITIL® helps the professional to sort and prioritize the things that are of value according to the business standards.
    • The reason why ITIL® is so much in demand has also to do with the fact that it increases the market value of a certified professional.

    Exam structure:

    TypeThe Question types are MCQ or   Choice Questions. It consists of 40 questions.
    These questions are picked from the ITIL® Foundation Certification question bank.
    DurationThe Time limit provided is 60 Minutes or 1 hour for all the candidates in their particular languages.
    Passing scoreParticipants have to score 26 marks out of 40 (65%) to attain the certification.
    Provisions for additional time relating to languageFor candidates who are attempting the examination in a language which is not their mother tongue are allocated 15 mins more than the usual duration, making it 75 mins to complete their examination. They are also allowed to use the dictionary.
    PrerequisiteSince ITIL® is a competitive and rather tough examination, an Accredited ITIL® Foundation training is recommended. However, it is not a prerequisite.
    Open BookNo
    DeliveryThis examination is available in two formats. Computer-based or Paper-based format

    ITIL® certification level path & ITIL® V3 credit system

    ITIL® certification level path

    Throughout the certification course, there’s a certain number of ITIL® Credits awarded when you clear the levels through examination.

    1. Foundation Course

    • Training: Required.
    • Prerequisites: Not Required
    • ExaminationYes, Required
    • Awards: 2 ITIL® credits
    • Certificate: Yes.

    2. Intermediate Course 

    • Prerequisites: ITIL® Foundation Certificate.
    • Training: Yes, required
    • Examination: Yes.
    • Certificate: Awarded on successful completion of each exam module.

                     Service Lifecycle stream modules: 

    • Service Design - 3 credits
    • Service Strategy - 3 credits
    • Service Operation - 3 credits
    • Service Transition - 3 credits    
    • Continual Service Improvement - 3 credits

                    Service Capability stream modules: 

    • Release, Control, and Validation - 4 credits
    • Service Offerings and Agreements - 4 credits
    • Planning, Protection, and Optimization - 4 credits
    • Operational Support, and Analysis - 4 credits

    3. Managing Across Service Lifecycle – MALC

    • Prerequisites: ITIL® Foundation. 15 credits (Intermediate level) + 2 credits. Hence, 17 credits in total.
    • Training: Yes, required.
    • Examination: Yes
    • Awards: 5 ITIL® credits
    • Certificate: Awarded on successful completion of exam

    4. Expert 

    • Prerequisites: 
      • ITIL® Foundation
      • ITIL® Intermediate
      • 15 credits collected in ITIL® Intermediate level.
      • MALC examination qualification
    •  In Total: minimum of 22 ITIL® credits.
    • Training: Not applicable. 
    • Examination: Not applicable, as this level is attained upon accumulating the required number of credits.
    • Certificate: Yes.

    5. Master Course 

    • Prerequisites: 
      • ITIL® Expert certificate
      • Five years of experience in leadership or management position.
    • TrainingNot Available
    • Examination: Rather than an examination, it's more like a collective review of the work. So, No examination.
    • Certificate: Yes.
    ITIL® StagePrerequisitesTrainingExamCertificates
    FoundationNoYESYESITIL® Foundation
    IntermediateITIL® FoundationYESYESYES
    MALCITIL® Foundation
    - 15 credits in Intermediate
    ExpertITIL® Foundation
    - 15 credits in Intermediate
    - MALC
    - Minimum 22 credits in Total
    MasterITIL® ExpertNONOITIL® Master

    ITIL® Exam format for each level -

    ITIL® Stage

    • Type: Multiple choice examination questions
    • No Of Questions: 40 questions
    • Examination duration: 60 minutes’ duration
    • Result: 26 marks required to pass (out of 40 available) - 65%
    • Closed book.
    • Type: Multiple choice examination questions
    • No Of Questions: 40 questions
    • Examination duration:135 minutes’ duration
    • Result: 28 marks required to pass (out of 40 available) - 70%
    • Open book - Only the official printed hard copy of the ITIL® Practitioner Guidance is allowed.
    • Type: Multiple choices
    • No Of Questions: Eight scenario-based and gradient-scored questions
    • Examination duration: 90 minutes
    • Result: 28 marks required to pass (out of 40 available), equivalent to 70%
    Managing Across
    the Lifecycle

    • Type: Multiple choice examination questions
    • No Of Questions: 10 questions per paper
    • Examination duration: 120 minutes
    • Result: 35 marks required to pass (out of 50 available) - 70%
    •  Closed book
    • Proposal:
      The candidate needs to propose a concept for developing the business using ITIL® principles.
    • Work Package:
      • The candidate needs to implement satisfactory information about how useful the idea is and the advantages it will provide.
      • A real-world design of their preference must be submitted.
      • This design must span across a wide diversity of ITIL® areas and grow on the information which has been applied to implement real solutions.
      • The candidate should show the advanced effects of the solution performed and showcase the advantages provided by it.
    • Interview:
      The applicant needs to face the assessment panel for an interview. The certification will be granted upon successful conclusion and positive evaluation of the project and interview.

    Where to take the ITIL® exam? What are the two routes of taking the exam?

    Two routes of taking the exam

    There are various modes through which one can take the ITIL® exam. These modes are:

    • Traditional Classroom Study
    • Web-based or Virtual IT institutions.

    Usually, most professionals and students refer to take the former option because of the environment that the classroom provides. Being with fellow learners creates a sense of competition which helps in pushing each other forward.

    After completion of the course, the training center will also provide facilities to take the examination. In the traditional way, this exam is conducted in the center itself. If a candidate is very determined and focused, he/she can also choose to do self-study. Once the candidate has finished the course and is confident enough, he/she can schedule the examination as per their convenience. One must understand that rather than the medium, it is the skill and knowledge that matters.

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    ITIL® Foundation Exam composition

    Following are the contents of the exam:

    • Service management as a practice (comprehension)

    This unit helps the candidate to have the basic knowledge and grasp the concept of service and to explain these concepts of management as a system.
    To be more precise, the candidate must be able to explain -

    1. why ITIL® is flourishing.
    2. the concept of best methods in the public domain
    3. the idea of internal and external customers
    4. the theory of service management
    5. the thought of IT service management
    6. the concept of stakeholders in service management
    7. the functions and processes
    8. the idea of internal and external services.
    9. the process model and the characteristics of processes
    10. The ITIL® service lifecycle (comprehension)

    This unit is developed to assist the aspirant to recognize the worth of the ITIL® service lifecycle. It explains the processing. The manner in which they combine with each other throughout the lifecycle and give a better understanding of the objectives, business value and of each aspect in the life cycle.

    Here, the candidate must be able to explain -

    1. the goals, design, and range of service strategy.
    2. the plan, intentions, and extent of service design.
    3. the construction of the ITIL® service lifecycle.
    4. the value service strategy provides to the business.
    5. what benefit service design provides to the business.
    6. the goal, aspirations, and expanse of service transition.
    7. the main purpose, objectives, and scope of continual service improvement.
    8. what support continual service improvement offers to the business.
    9. the mission, intentions, and range of service operation.
    10. what benefit service operation presents to the business.
    11. what benefit service transition provides to the business?
    • Key principles and models (comprehension)

    The purpose of this unit is to help the candidate to understand and report the key principles and models of service management. It also teaches the candidate how to balance some of the conflicting forces within service management.

    At this level, the candidate must be able to:

    1Describe value creation through services.
    3Explain the continual service improvement program, understand the role of measurement for continual service improvement and, the relationship between key performance indicators and critical success factors (CSF).
    4Become proficient with measurement methods and metrics.
    5Service solutions for fresh or substituted services information systems, Management, and tools.
    6Types of metrics
    • process metrics
    • technology metrics
    • service metrics
    7Follow the 5 major viewpoints of service design.
    8Recognize the importance of people, products, partners and processes, for service management.
    • Generic concepts and definitions (awareness)

    This unit will assist the candidate in defining some of the key terminologies and describe the fundamental concepts of service management.

    To be more precise, the candidate must be able to define and explain the following key concepts:

    Sr. No.

    Key concepts
    1Assets, capabilities, and resources
    2Business case
    3Change proposals
    4CSI register
    5Customers and users
    7Known error databases
    9Patterns of business activity
    10Release policy
    11Risk management
    12Service catalog (both two-view and three-view types)
    13Service level agreement
    14Service portfolio
    15Service provider
    17The Deming Cycle (plan, action, check, act)
    18The use of ideas in service operation
    19Types of services
    20Utility and warranty
    •    Awareness (Selected processes)

    This unit is designed to assist the candidate in comprehending how the service management processes offer the ITIL® service lifecycle, to explain the purpose, objectives, scope, basic concepts, activities, and interfaces for four of the core processes, and to state the purpose, objectives, and scope for eighteen of the remaining processes.

    • Selected functions (awareness)

    This unit is designed to help the candidate to describe the objectives and organizational structures of the service desk function. It will also help to demonstrate the role, objectives, and overlap of three other functions.

    To be more precise, the candidate must be able to -

    1. Explain the role, objectives and organizational structures for the service desk function.
    2. State the role and objectives of the technical management function.
    3. The application management function with application development
    4. The IT operations management function (IT operations control and facilities management)
    • Selected roles (awareness)

    This unit assists the candidate to account for and to be conscious of the responsibilities of some of the fundamental roles in service management. The candidate must learn to account for the role and the responsibilities of these following things:

    1. Process owner
    2. Process manager
    3. Process practitioner
    4. Service owner
    • Technology and architecture (awareness)

    The objective of this unit is to encourage the candidate to understand how service automation serves with expediting service management processes.

    • Competence and training (awareness)

    This unit is not included in the examination, but it’s recommended that the candidate goes through it as it will give a revision and the complete essence of what the whole training session is about. To be more precise, the candidate will learn -

    1. Skills and Competence for service management
    2. Competence and skills framework
    3. Attain the whole Training.

    Top Cities where KnowledgeHut Conduct ITIL Certification Training Course Online

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    ITIL Certification DubaiITIL Certification HongkongITIL Certification Delhi

    Advanced feature of ITIL® certification -

    Once you acquire the certificate, you can put credential in your resume for as long as you want. There is no expiration for the ITIL® V3 certificate.

    Currently, there are four versions of the certification. This also creates a lot of confusion as most of the time, the edition of the certificate is not mentioned.

    One should keep in mind while preparing for the exam to study from the updated materials when they appear for the examination.

    So, what about those who obtained the previous editions of the certificates? 

    The ITIL® Examination organized a “Bridge Course” or “bridging program” which are intended to help the candidates who have previous versions of certifications to upgrade to the latest versions.

     ITIL® Examination languages

    ITIL® Examination is available in two different languages -

    • ITIL® Foundation (English)
    • ITIL® Foundation (JPN)

    ITIL® Foundation certification exam passing score. 

    Being a competitive examination, ITIL® has set some requirements which must be met. Only after that, the candidate will be awarded the certification and be eligible to advance in the higher levels of the ITIL®.

    Pass Score Minimum Marks required - 26/40 or 65%
    • Result Declaration -

    The timeline of result announcement can differ from center to center but the average time remains the same. For particular details, it is advised to communicate with the Examination Institution or Training Provider directly.

    This is how the procedure takes place:

    • After you have finished the exam, the Accredited Training Provider which arranged the examination will supply you with a result paper.
      If the exam was web-based or computer-based MCQ (Multiple Choice Questions), the result will be produced immediately.
    • For those attempting the essay response examinations, the results will reach them within 4 to 8 weeks.

    Candidates who don't receive their results within the mentioned timeline are strictly advised to contact their respective training providers or Examination Institutes.

    • Certification Timeline:

    The usual duration varies according to the Examination Center and training provider. But the average timeline remains the same.

    • Once the examination is over, the candidate will receive the results. The timeline of the results depends on the mode and type of examination. If it's a computer-based examination, the results are delivered immediately. But if it's an essay response examination, it takes 4-8 weeks for the candidate to obtain his/her results.
    • If the candidate has cleared the examination, he/she will be eligible to receive the ITIL® certification. In the case of web-based or computer-based examinations, the official certification takes 2 to 4 weeks to reach the candidate as it is supplied from the official Examination Institute. If the candidate doesn't receive the certificates within the mentioned timeline, it is highly prudent to contact their respective training providers or Examination Institutes.
    • In the case of the Long-written exam or essay response examinations, the timeline to acquire the certification increases from 4 to 8 weeks.

    What to do if I fail in the ITIL® exam?

    What to do if I fail in the ITIL® exam

    In the last few years, the demand for ITIL® has grown exponentially. This is largely because organizations have realized how valuable the ITIL® framework can be. From effective cost reduction to enhanced customer experience, ITIL® framework can do wonders and take the business to new heights.

    It is this demand that has also increased the competition as many professionals, as well as students, are trying to get into the certification course to improve their skills and advance their values in the business market.

    So, it is common for students and even professionals to fail to clear the examination in the first attempt. The foundation exam might be easy to crack comparatively. But as the level increases, the tough competition, as well as the intensity of the exam, increases too.

    For those individuals who have been unable to qualify the exam, it is advised to not lose hope and try again. As one can take the examination again as soon as he/she feels confident enough. But before that, one must analyze all his options.

    There are two options for those who want to retake the examination:

    1. Retake the exam

    Within a month of the failed exam, the students who wish to retake the ITIL® exam must submit a transcript of their results so that they can request for the retake exam voucher.

    • The vouchers are valid for a year from the date of issue.
    • Retake vouchers are applicable only for web-based exams.

    2. Retake the course 

    • Students who are willing to go through the course again must submit a transcript of their results to the training centers within a month of the failed exam.
    • Once the training center has examined the reports, the student can be enrolled at the center again.
    • No additional charge for re-admission is valid only for the period of 6 months from the date of failed exam.

    ITIL® is a framework which boosts the business through its correct implementation and methodology. As you proceed with the examination, the stages will get tougher and more complicated. But ultimately, it's an exam, with time, knowledge and practice, you will be able to achieve it. And if you can't, don't stop trying!


    Manikandan Mohanakrishnan


    Manikandan Mohanakrishnan is a highly skilled corporate trainer, consultant, and content developer with expertise in a wide range of areas including ITIL 4, PRINCE2, Agile/Scrum, PMP, DevOps, and soft skills. With a passion for delivering exceptional training experiences, Manikandan offers a comprehensive suite of training services covering service management, project management, business simulations, and more. With over 20+ years of experience, he has successfully facilitated numerous programs, including business communications, emotional intelligence, team building, and organizational change management. Manikandan's dedication to empowering individuals and organizations shines through his motivational talks and impactful training sessions.

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