Top Resources That Will Help You Pass ISTQB Foundation Exam and Become a Certified Tester


One of the best ways of presenting yourself as a specialist with up-to-date knowledge in a field is by owning a certificate that shows your competence in it. Certification not only increases the value of your resume but also shows that you are a master of best practices and technologies used in the field. Additionally, it can increase efficiency and improve the quality of your work. And also it can give you an advantage against people who do not have such certification, as your skillset is approved with the certificate.

It is safe to say that certification gives huge advantages in the Information Technology industry, but how can one choose the certificate to best address one’s needs? As you probably already guessed – it depends on the field you are interested in. There is a huge variety of certifications for each field, for example, Cisco certified network associate (CCNA) – certification for people that are more interested in the networking field, Certified data professional (CDP) – certification for data professionals, Certified associate in project management (CAPM) – certification for people that are interested in project management. The list could go on, but the certification that this post is about and that is of importance to most of the quality assurance engineers is the ISTQB certification.

ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualifications Board), is an organization that specializes in certifying the competencies of software testing. The organization was founded in November 2002 and they have defined the “ISTQB Certified Tester” scheme that has become the leading certification for testers.

Altogether “ISTQB Certified Tester” scheme has a total of 18 certifications that are divided into 3 modules:

  • Agile
  • Core
  • Specialist

And 3 levels:

  • Foundation
  • Advanced
  • Expert
All ISTQB offered certificates
All ISTQB offered certificates
Percentage of ISTQB certified engineers at TestDevLab bases on 2020 data

The Foundation level – Certified Tester certification makes sure that a person has the practical knowledge of the fundamental concepts of software testing. That is why this certification is a must-have for every tester, especially inexperienced and new to the field, as it is filled with crucial information about all of the fundamentals and techniques of software testing. The exam consists of 40 questions which cover 6 chapters:

  • Fundamentals of Testing
  • Testing Throughout the Software Development Lifecycle
  • Static Testing
  • Test Techniques
  • Test Management
  • Tool Support for Testing

In order to pass the exam, 65% of the answers must be correct, therefore some preparation is required.

Since we mentioned preparation, we have finally come to the part where I will suggest the best resources that could aid you in preparing for and passing the Foundation level exam and become a certified ISTQB tester. At least these resources helped me and my colleagues pass this exam and become certified software testers.

Official documentation – Syllabus

Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to prepare for the exam is to read the syllabus of the Foundation level that can be found on ISTQB’s official website. The Syllabus consists of all the topics mentioned earlier and it contains all of the necessary information to pass the examination. The ISTQB Glossary provides definitions of all keywords in the syllabus.

One thing to take into consideration is that exams and syllabuses get updated from time to time, so it is recommended to study from the newest version available. For now, the latest versions of the syllabus and the exam are from 2018, however, older versions exist as well, such as 2007, 2010, and 2011. The differences between the versions are not substantial as most of the parts are still the same with some small updates to keep up with the industry standards. Nevertheless, it would be reasonable to study from the latest version of the syllabus.

The syllabus is around 80 pages, but it is packed with information. For some people, it is enough to go through the syllabus only once, but feel free to read it as many times as you need and make notes in order to help yourself. In the end, remember that a developed understanding of the subject will lead to better knowledge and better results in the exam.

Video tutorials

If you feel the need to branch out to learning channels other than the reading of the syllabus, maybe YouTube can come in handy as it is not only for entertainment but also a great tool for studying. YouTube holds many tutorials covering all sorts of topics, including ISTQB, but one of the best, if not the best, is the playlist ISTQB FOUNDATION 2018 from TM Square Technology Solutions.

What makes the playlist so good is the way it is structured and the manner in which the tutor explains everything in detail. The playlist consists of 42 videos, where all subtopics of the syllabus are covered. At the end of each chapter, the tutor has a small test with some sample exam questions about the chapter.

This tutorial playlist follows the exact structure of the official Syllabus, the difference being, this way you get to watch it in video format with a simple, easy to understand language. If you have read the syllabus beforehand, it might be even easier to understand what the tutor is talking about. In a way, I can say that both the syllabus and the video tutorials complement each other.

Mock tests and exam question dumps

After and in between reading the syllabus or watching videos, one of the best ways for you to evaluate what you have learned and how ready you are to take the official exam is by taking different mock tests. The more tests you take, the more comfortable you might feel when taking the official exam.

Taking tests can help you see the diversity of the questions that you might encounter during the official exam. There are a lot of test dumps on the internet, for example, Udemy holds a variety of tests and exams that can be used for studying. You can even find 3 mock exams with correct answers attached on the official ISTQB website. Naturally, the questions will differ in the official exam, but these mock exams are as close as you can get to the official exam.

Besides mock exams on the ISTQB website, there are plenty of other possibilities to test your knowledge. This website offers a variety of tests, with options to do tests for each chapter, which is a great way of seeing how well you know each chapter, and also full mock tests.

One important thing to note is, when doing the mock tests, don’t get too carried away with memorizing the answers to questions. Instead try to understand the fundamentals and techniques of software testing – first of all, because the questions for the exam get changed pretty often and secondly, you are doing this certification because you want to learn and show that you have the knowledge and understanding of the testing processes and techniques, instead of showing that you have a great memory.

To sum up, taking tests can be a great way to assess your readiness for the exam as most of the time the test answers provide some form of explanation, and the chapter which will lead to more information about the subject that may need to be polished. Remember – practice makes perfect.


In addition to previously mentioned resources books that will help with preparation also are available. The list of books is abundant enough, but the best choices for learning purposes could be the books that are related to the exam itself. These books can be found on the ISTQB website and they are:

Foundations of Software Testing: ISTQB Certification
Black, R., van Veenendaal, E. and Graham, D. (2012), Foundations of Software Testing: ISTQB Certification (3e)
Complete Guide to Software Testing
Hetzel, W. (1993), Complete Guide to Software Testing (2e)
Software Testing Foundations
Spillner, A., Linz, T., and Schaefer, H. (2014), Software Testing Foundations (4e)

These books are a good choice because their content matches the one covered in the ISTQB Foundation level syllabus. They are written by some of the people that took part in developing the syllabus with the aim of self-studying for the examination. Best practices, techniques, and methodologies are covered in the books, so they can add great value to preparation.

Udemy courses

Needless to say, the open online course provider – Udemy also offers a variety of courses for ISTQB Foundation Level exam preparation. As already mentioned, it is possible to find sample tests in Udemy, and in addition to that, there are also full courses with video lectures and sample tests.

One of the courses is ISTQB Certified Tester – Foundation Level 2020 – Accredited. This course is accredited by the ISTQB. There are 77 lessons in the course that cover all the base topics and also some sample tests. The tutor also shares some tips about software testing that will not only help you in exam but also in everyday work. Another great and well received course is ISTQB Foundation Level preparation course+1000quiz examples. As you can read in its title, it features lots of questions that will help you test your skills. Another great thing about this specific course is that this one is really short, just ~1 hour of video lectures. If you like learning from video lectures and self assessment quizes, you can check ISTQB Certified Tester Foundation Level CTFL 2018 Syllabus course as well. It offers ~5 hours of video lectures and quizes to test your knowledge.

In conclusion, each person’s learning style may be different, but I believe that these are the top resources that will help you pass the ISTQB Foundation exam and become a certified tester, as they were a great aid to me, as well as to many of my colleagues in order to pass the exam.

One of the main things is not to get scared and just start learning and practicing. So good luck, through hard work everything will work out fine.

Don’t forget to have a look at ISTQB official website where you will find the syllabus and sample tests. You can also check out the video playlist mentioned in the post

What resources did you use to prepare for the ISTQB Foundation exam and would suggest for others to use?

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