ITIL Crowd also Heading to California

The ITIL Crowd has scheduled two classes in California this summer.  Join the ITIL Crowd for a limited engagement in the LA area at the end of June and San Jose in August.

As extra incentive, the classes are not the normal price of $1,200, but only $529 for the 2 day ITIL® v. 3 Foundation certification exam prep course.  You can register at http://ITILla.eventbrite.com

More information about 5 Day Project Management Professional (PMP) courses coming soon.

NOTE: This LA ITIL class has been moved to Santa Ana, California for the weekend of July 10 thru 11. As a bonus, the price has been reduced further to $429 for advanced purchase only. If you wait too long to register, then the price returns to the regular $799 course fee.
Here is the link: Attend This Event

the Service Strategy Exam

“Show up when you want. Start the exam at any time.” Those were the instructions I received from the community college that was proctoring my ITIL v3 Intermediate Service Strategy exam. I like this arrangement very much. I am very pleased that I have this arrangement for each of my ITIL exams.

Taking exams encompasses a lot of stress. The more you prepare and the more you relax, the better off you are. All of us though take on some stress when taking an exam. Some more. Some less. Anything to be done to reduce the stress level, the better off we all are. Having the exam time be up to my own choosing the day of was a definite stress reducer.

Coming from the project management certification circus, I was very accustomed to highly structured and highly stressful exam environments. Having taken, and subsequently preparing hundreds of others sit for the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam, I was used to a highly controlled environment. At least compared to the other exams happening all around you. When taking the PMP exam – at least here in the US – you are often in a room with other exam takers. Rarely are any of those other exam takers dealing with the 4 hour mental anguish of the PMP. You can tell. They are done sooner. Generally more relaxed. And not taking breaks during their exam. But the rules and restrictions on you seem to be more intense – I even had a student come back to me and explain that a proctor accused her of cheating because she took off her sweater. Time spent worrying about your surroundings is less concentration on your exam – where it needs to be. Fortunately, the ITIL test environment is not that stressful.

The ITIL Intermediate exams are 90 minutes. Less than the PMP marathon or Six Sigma. Nonetheless, greater than the Foundations and some other certification exams. But unlike the vast amount of extra time given to you on the Foundation exam, you most likely will need all 90 minutes for your Intermediate exam. I have averaged about 80 minutes for each of mine.

Only 8 questions. Only 4 possible answers for each question. Seems simple right? Not really. Because to some degree, each question has 3 right answers! Only one can safely be classified as a wrong answer. Key on the word ‘degree’ when I stated that there are 3 ‘right’ answers. There is a ‘right’ answer; a ‘more right’ answer; and the ‘best or slightly better than all others right’ answer. You get points on level of ‘right’ you pick.

Starting with 0 points for wrong. One point for an answer with a touch of merit. Then 3 points for the mostly right. And finally, 5 points for the most correct answer. Splitting the hairs between the first and second answer is where you find most of your time being sapped away.

All eight questions are given to you in Scenario format. Each scenario is about 1-2 pages in length. Each answer choice is typically a paragraph of varying length.

You have 90 minutes – or 11 minutes per question – to read the story, read the answer options, re-reading the story, eliminating possible answers, bouncing back and forth between your finalists, poking around back in the story, slapping your forehead in hopes of enlightenment, and then picking an answer (at least your answer for the moment).

In the end, you must score 25 points to pass. 40 is the maximum, with all 8 answers with the best choice (I almost did this in my SO exam). In my first exam, I scored a reassuring 33 points. The results are displayed instantly. Your attitude changes instantly too.

Starting with the Foundations

If I am going to share my experiences and help you on your path to ITIL v. 3 certification, I might as well get you up to speed on how I got here.

Let’s lay the foundation – pun intended.

Yes, all ITIL certification journeys start with the Foundation exam.  My exposure was a bit serendipitous.  I had never heard of ITIL before it was presented to me.  No clue what it stood for or what it meant.  Do now 🙂

I was a Project Manager Professional instructing courses on PMP exam prep and the multitude of project management and general management course topics out there.  Noticeably, a lot of my participants were in the IT field or technical in nature.  Few had mentioned this ITIL thing.  Then my company had someone who was an ITIL Expert brought in.  He wanted to advice and support.  He did not want to instructionally design entire courseware and subsequently teach it.  That was to be my job.

It was late January, 2009.  Version 3 was still relatively new.  Did not matter, I did not know version 2.  I was busy updating my PMP material to the newly announced 4th edition PMBOK (which coincidentally I am a contributor).

I flew to our corporate offices. He presented some ad hoc powerpoints laying out the ITIL topics and concepts.

Sitting for the ITIL Foundation certification exam does not require any formal training.  This was definitely not formal in anyway.  My mind was swimming.  The management topics were easily digested.  Management best practices are fairly universal.  That is why the are ‘best’.  Slap a different title or purpose on somethings, it still works if done right.  The vast IT and ITIL terms where the bitch.

So many terms.  So many disconnections (ok that had to do a lot on how it was presented to me).  And so much to memorize.  Alas, 2 days in a board meeting room and many more hours of reading whatever I could find – which was limited and mainly the reason I put to together this blog, so you don’t have to search everywhere for advice and learning help [note: I plan to post lessons and excerpts from my training and publications].

A few weeks I sat for the exam.  Hard exam, in a way.  It was because it definitely was not written by English majors. The language and verbiage was horrendous!  I took it thru EXIN from a Prometric proctored site.  Not sure if it was the Dutch that wrote it or someone technical that never wrote an exam before.  Knowing the answers is one thing; not even knowing what the heck they are asking is a different story.  Fortunately the Intermediate exams are better written – or maybe because I am going thru APMG instead.  It may boil down to better quality control than anything else.

Anyway, I passed on my first attempt.  Which was a relief.  Did not feel like paying another $165 to try again.

This post was originally posted on my previous blog