Business Analysis Practitioner Level Certificate Exams
- scenario case study scenario based open book exam
- 15 minute reading time, followed by one hour writing time
- exams set and marked by your ISEB exam provider, exam papers and marking schemes approved and audited by ISEB
- Sample papers and marking schemes available on the BCS website, Metadata Training provide further examples for our candidates
- pass mark 50%, (moderation required if mark is between 45% and 55%)
- exam providers send your results to ISEB, notify you of the result including your mark (upto 6 weeks after the exam – often much sooner), and ISEB send you the certificate (upto 8 weeks)
A variety of qualifications are offered in business analysis topics. The practitioner exams always follow the same format: you are given a scenario describing a business area on which you have to answer questions relating to the analysis topic chosen. Before starting the exam proper you have 15 minutes reading time – you can read the exam paper, any notes or books that you have. It is often useful to refer to practice exam papers and any suggested answers -- Metadata provide you with two sample papers and answers for each ISEB certificate topic. During this time you are not allowed to write anything nor are you allowed to use a highlighter.
Normally the questions total 50 marks with a pass mark of 25 /50 – 50%. There is no choice of questions so you should attempt all to maximise your chance of success. Marks for questions are not normally equally divided – question 1 could be 10 marks; question 2, 20; question 3, 8; and question 4, 12. Each question usually relates to a syllabus topic but is often divided into several parts. You have one hour to complete your answers so should normally allow about 1 minute per mark – so you spend about 10 minutes on a 10 mark question. Time is often a problem and you will need to think and write quickly.
All practitioner level ISEB exams are set by your ISEB BA course provider and are moderated by independent auditors from the ISEB. They try to set a common standard that applies to all exams and ensure that ISEB exams are covering the syllabus and exam providers are marking fairly. However each exam provider will have written the exam to fit with their own courses and will, to some extent, be preparing you for that exam.
ISEB Practitioner Business Analysis Exam Tips
You should talk to your course provider about the style of answering questions. Metadata Training give their candidates the following advice:
1. Make sure you answer every part of every question.
2. Make your answers as specific to the scenario as you can
3. Use information given in the scenario as far as possible, most of the answers should be provided with in the scenario (it can be useful to highlight or mark the question paper -- but you can only do this in your writing time). Sometimes you will need to rely on your general knowledge related to the business scenario given and then you can make up reasonable answers. (For example: a Business Analysis Essentials ISEB exam using an estate agency case study might ask you to do a PESTLE analysis (6 marks) -- under Economic; recession, or falling house prices would be a reasonable answer (but it probably would not be mentioned in the question if that was the prevailing economic climate).
4. Bullet point style answers are acceptable if you find these quicker to write, but flowing prose is also acceptable
5. Don't worry about the legibility of your writing or of your diagrams, we will have seen worse!
6. You have to write in ink and we recommend you just cross out any errors
7. When drawing diagrams (e.g. use case diagrams or business activity models) show as many items as you reasonably can. You will not get penalised as long as these are reasonable, and are justifiably within the scope of the scenario. The marker will be following a marking scheme which will reward certain specific items. Thus a use case diagram in an exam worth 12 marks could expect 8 marks for use cases, 2 marks for actors, and 2 marks for communication channels. If your diagram only shows 4 use cases then, even if these are perfect, you can only get 4/8 marks for this part. However if your diagram shows 10 use cases of which 6 roughly correspond to those in the model answer and the other 4 are reasonable but do not correspond then you will score at least 6/8 and possibly more.
8. Some questions ask for a number of specific points e.g. identify 2 stakeholders (2 marks) if you have time it is often useful to add in 2 or 3 more if there are other possibilities in the scenario - as long as they are reasonable - you then are more likely to coincide with what is in the model answer.
Business Analysis Foundation Certificate
- 40 question, one hour multiple choice exam
- 4 alternative answers given for each question, no negative marking, pass mark 26/40
- closely based on the book “Business Analysis” edited by Debra Paul and Don Yeates
- computer-based exam can be so it sat at centres across the world for about £135
This covers the basics of business analysis: skills of business analysts, some business strategy, stakeholder management, requirements elicitation and documentation, business process modelling, simple UML modelling, and change management. The syllabus and examination are very closely based on the book “Business Analysis” edited by Debra Paul and Don Yeates and published by the British Computer Society (available from Amazon at about £25). The exam is a 40 question, one hour multiple choice exam. Each question offers 4 alternatives, there is no negative marking and the pass mark is 26 / 40. This exam is readily available online at thousands of Pearson Vue centres throughout the world at price of about £120. Several companies offer training as a 3 day course, some of these are accredited by the BCS although it is not necessary to have taken an accredited or, indeed, any course to the take the exam. You should be warned that the exam does require very specific knowledge based on the above book. Metadata Training are developing an online training package, to accompany the Business Analysis book containing online lectures, case studies and sample questions and exams to prepare aspiring business analysts for the foundation exam.
ISEB Foundation Business Analysis Exam Tips
Advice on taking the multiple choice Foundation in Business Analysis certification exam.
You should study the book very carefully as the exam treats every word and diagram in the book as if it was an absolute truth about business analysis. Sometimes this leads to rather obscure questions. As you are not penalised for your mistakes; if you don’t know the answer you should eliminate the definitely incorrect and guess the most likely from the remaining answers. You should attempt all 40 questions – you will have plenty of time – most candidates finish in less than 45 minutes. Resist the temptation to rework answers. Research on the results of multiple choice examinations suggests that when students return to previous questions they often undo a previously correct answer. The first, more intuitive, answer is usually the correct one.
You can purchase a sample paper from the BCS – be warned – we were sent a paper that contained 40 questions and they sent an incorrect set of answers. They charge £20 for these 40 sample questions and, in our opinion this does not represent good value for money – no explanations are provided for the answers so it hard to check why you have gone wrong.
If you take the exam online then you will get your pass / fail result immediately. Your actual score will be provided by the BCS / ISEB when they send you the Certificate – this will normally take 2 or 3 weeks. You can take the exam as many times as your ego and pocket will stand.