Preparing for ISTQB Advanced Level – Test Manager Certification Examination

Generally, professional certifications are designations earned by a person to demonstrate a standard level of skill, experience and expertise within a certain field. Beyond this, people write certification exams for various reasons.  Some hope that it boosts their chances of getting hired because they believe having a certification is an advantage compared to those who do not have one. While others hope that it gets them the promotions they have long desired to have.

For many professions and fields, these hopes and aspirations are valid and are usually the outcome after successfully earning a certification. But in software testing, it is not usually the case. Certifications gotten from ISTQB (The International Software Testing Qualifications Board), the internationally recognised and widely accepted certification board for Software Testing, do not necessarily translate to a job, a promotion or raise. However, earning one (or more) of these certifications demonstrates your dedication and motivation to professional development. Therefore, it provides professional credibility.

The ISTQB Advanced Level-Test Manager Certification specifically depicts that you have a strong commitment to the testing profession and you have the desire to move higher in your career as a manager and are ready to lead others. 

Nature of the examination

The ISTQB Advanced Level-Test Manager Certification examination is a 3-hour examination for 65 questions. Most of the questions are scenario-based and not direct questions. All questions do not carry the same marks. Some questions carry 3 marks, some 2 marks and others 1 mark.

The pass mark is 65% and there is no negative marking.

Preparing for the exam

You can either attend training from accredited training providers or just opt for self-study. Going to a training centre doesn’t guarantee success if you do not put in the hard work. If you will be preparing on your own, here is a list of recommended reading materials:

  • ISTQB Advanced Level Syllabus
  • Glossary of ISTQB Software Testing Terms
  • ISTQB Advanced Level Syllabus Sample Questions and Answers

If you will be preparing on your own, here are some important tips to consider:

  • Study the syllabus meticulously and thoroughly. In fact, don’t leave any line out. It is advisable you study the syllabus at least three times.
  • While studying, take notes and come up with mnemonics for certain salient points such as Software testing standards, characteristics of new concepts that are similar to one another etc
  • Apply the knowledge of your on-the-job experiences. I personally doubt it is possible to excel at the exam without having any practical knowledge. This is because the exam tests not just testing concepts and terminologies but covers four different K-levels (K1 to K4):
    • K1 (Remember): Remembering or recognizing a term or a concept.
    • K2 (Understand): Explaining a statement related to the question topic.
    • K3 (Apply): Selecting the correct application of a concept or technique and applying it to a given context.
    • K4 (Analyze): Being able to separate information related to a procedure or technique into its constituent parts for better understanding and can distinguish between facts and inferences.
  • Practise many scenario-based software testing questions. While preparing for my examination, I came across many mock questions online, a couple of them were on Proprofs which you could find useful.
  • Brush up the ISTQB Foundation Level Syllabus. 

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I register for the examination? There are many testing centres around where you can take the exam. All you need to do is pay, schedule and write your exam. 
  2. How much does the exam cost? On average, in Nigeria, it costs about $350 depending on the extra charges that come from the testing centre you wish to register at.
  3. How long do I need to prepare for the exam? It took me about ten (10) weeks to prepare for the examination. It could be much less for you. It took me that long because I had a regular job and other personal commitments. This meant I did most of my studying on weekends.
  4. What are the pre-requisites for taking the examination? First of all, you need to have successfully passed the ISTQB Certified Tester Foundation Level examination. Other prerequisites or recommendations depend on the exam provider chosen. For BCS (British Computer Society), a minimum of three years testing experience is recommended.  

For more information, you can check the ISTQB.ORG website.

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Oluwatomi Familoni is a Software Quality Assurance Engineer at ZOLA Electric

8 thoughts on “Preparing for ISTQB Advanced Level – Test Manager Certification Examination

  1. Dear Tomi Familoni,

    Thank you very much for this article, this is very insightful i have been looking to write ISTQB Advanced level-Test Manager for a while now. please can you recommend a training school where someone like me can go for training.
    I have been working as a software test for the last 4 years with no certification to my name. i don’t what to write the ISTQB Test Foundation exam. i want to write the Advanced Test Manager.

    Thank you very much for this information.

    Best regards.

    1. Hi Emeka.
      Thank you for your response. As I mentioned in the article under the FAQ section, passing the ISTQB Test Foundation exam is a prerequisite to taking the Advanced Level Test Manager certification exam. And so taking the ISTQB Test Foundation exam is almost compulsory if you are considering getting the ISTQB CTAL-TM certification.

      About the training school, I am not aware of anyone in Lagos but I stumbled on this online:

      I hope this helps.

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