Effective test approaches, efficient tool support, testing certification

WebEx tuition for ISTQB Advanced Level

ISTQB CT statistics June 2017 (1,000s)

We’re using WebEx to provide personalised tuition for individuals wishing to study ISTQB® Certified Tester Advanced Level qualifications.

Why WebEx?

Delegates no longer have the complication of not being near to the location of a public course. Traditionally, public courses and onsite courses for single companies have been scheduled together with the exam on the final afternoon of the course. For many delegates this can limit the amount of individual discussion time and the time available for sufficient revision prior to the exam. Advanced Level is a significant step up from Foundation Level. Prior to taking the exam delegates may also wish to use back at work some of the techniques which may be new to them.

Our WebEx training is typically provided for just one or two delegates at a time where we can particularly customise the approach to suit each individual’s needs and objectives. The timetable can be tailored to achieve the best balance for delegates in terms of how much to focus on theory, discussion, exercises and practice exam questions.

Advanced Level within the ISTQB Certified Tester scheme

By June 2017 more than 50,000 certificates had been issued worldwide across the following Advanced Level qualifications:

  • CTAL-TM, Test Manager (five-day syllabus);
  • CTAL-TA, Test Analyst (four-day syllabus);
  • CTAL-TTA, Technical Test Analyst (three-day syllabus).

These core Advanced Level qualifications addressing three main software testing career paths comprise just 9% of the candidates passing ISTQB exams. However, they form the backbone of the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) Certified Tester scheme and the syllabi can be found at: https://www.istqb.org/downloads/category/10-advanced-level-syllabus-2012.html.

These Advanced Level qualifications and the Foundation Level, together with the two newer Expert Level qualifications stemming from the Advanced Level Test Manager, comprise what the ISTQB now positions as its Core qualifications. Expert Level certification numbers are too low to be registered on the ISTQB Facts and Figures page from which the pie chart above is derived. The ISTQB’s overview of the whole scheme, and the Core Advanced Level’s position within that scheme, can be found at https://www.istqb.org/certification-path-root/advanced-level/advanced-level-in-a-nutshell.html.

Whilst the combined certificates issued for the Core Foundation Level and the Foundation Level Agile Tester (CTFL-AT) are approaching half a million, the importance of the three Core Advanced Level certificates to the scheme is critical. The Core Foundation Level syllabus is important in establishing a broad knowledge base and understanding of common good practices relating to processes, life cycle methods, techniques and tools. Whilst there is a small part of that syllabus which is more ‘hands on’ in terms of the basic application of six techniques, it’s at Advanced Level that the focus shifts significantly to being able to apply general good practices to specific contexts, and to apply a larger number of techniques to analyse and design tests for more complex specifications. Further detail about the knowledge levels (K levels) addressed by different qualifications can be found at http://aquacomputing.com/insight/knowledge-skills-and-certification.

What materials are provided for WebEx tuition and when is this scheduled?

For a full WebEx course a delegate receives a hard copy of the materials which are ISTQB accredited for classroom style public and onsite courses. This includes detailed syllabus level PowerPoint presentations for each chapter in the syllabus and is therefore ideal for delivery in WebEx mode. Also included are student notes together with exercises for each ‘K level’ topic for applying techniques and analysing context specific scenarios. Finally, there are practice exam questions with commentaries explaining the rationale for the answers.

We’re scheduling one core Advanced Level qualification for WebEx tuition each month. These run with a lower number of delegates than is usually the case for public and onsite courses. We can commit to proceeding with WebEx training as soon as a single delegate makes a confirmed booking, and often this training proceeds as one-to-one tuition. Additional training can be requested if our published schedule does not fit with a delegate’s availability.

How is the ISTQB exam taken, and What are the pass rates?

Delegates who wish to take the exam would book and pay for this directly with Pearson Vue who have a network of test centres where the exam can be taken online. We recommend that these delegates register with the iSQI exam board at http://www.pearsonvue.com/isqi/, and schedule the exam to suit their revision needs. Typically, we recommend allowing one to three weeks of revision after the training prior to taking the exam.

At the World Congress for Software Quality on 2nd July 2014 the ISTQB representatives indicated in the track session “ISTQB®: Current status and the way ahead” that the ISTQB aspiration for pass rates at Advanced Level was in the region of 65% of candidates passing.

The ISTQB pass rates for these exams published at https://www.istqb.org/exams-root/exam-questions-and-pass-rates.html give the following pass rates ‘to-date’ up to December 2014:

  • 63% - Advanced Test Manager (CTAL-TM);
  • 55% - Advanced Test Analyst (CTAL-TA);
  • 58% - Advanced Technical Test Analyst (CTAL-TTA).

The same ISTQB article provides further detail about the number of questions and the time available for these multiple-choice exams.

04 February 2018