Pass the ITIL V3 Foundation exam in six easy and (almost) free steps

If you know something about IT operations (not just development) and your IQ is in triple figures then passing the ITIL V3 Foundation exam should be no big deal and no big investment. (If in doubt, read the testimonials in the comments below). Follow these six nine eight seven steps:
[updated 14/4/2015 ]

here's what I advise:
  1. The official page for the exam is here.
  2. A number of vendors offer online Foundation training courses for the same price as the exam, or less. You might as well go with them: ThoughtRock, MountainView... Google around for the best deal. Their training is effectively free.
  3. You might like to read the ITIL 2011 Foundation syllabus(pdf). Free.
  4. If you like learning by video, here's a 20 min video on ITIL 2011
  5. Read my brief guide on how to pass multi-choice exams. Free.
  6. Do as many of these practice exams as you can stand. Free.
  7. If you need more, buy the official Passing Your Itil Foundation Exam (updated to the 2011 syllabus) - not free of course, but not too expensive (make sure you get the one published in 2012 not the old almost identical one from 2009 - different syllabus!!!), or this book from Van Haren: Passing the ITIL Foundation Exam: 2011 Edition for $49, or $16 on Kindle!
  8. Sit the exam at home or at a testing centre: here's how. Not free - a couple of hundred dollars depending on where you are in the world. OK we lied about the free but there is no way to get around paying for this step, sorry. As above, you can do a proctored exam online with a number of vendors now, with training thrown in.

ITIL 2007 vs 2011

The original ITIL V3 came out in 2007. A revision came out in 2011. All ITIL exams are against the 2011 syllabus and books.

I have a hunch the syllabus has changed less than the books have. Anyway, most 2007 study materials will still be useful.

Here are four summaries of the changes in ITIL 2011 from ITSM Portal

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You might also like Introduction To Real ITSM, my satirical book on ITSM, which includes a twisted ITSM exam. Folks seem to find it funny.

Here's a sample:

2) Which of the following is not the opposite of not being unresponding to a user’s failure to call the Service Desk?
a) not calling the user
b) not failing to call the user
c) not calling not the user
d) not the opposite of not calling someone other than the user

9) How many Service Desk staff does it take to change a light-bulb?
a) None. Restoration of service is a Level 1 Support function
b) None. It is a hardware problem – call the vendor
c) None. It requires a Change to change
d) None. They haven’t been on the training course

Note re Taruu study guide: the copyright owners of this document have withdrawn it from free distribution. Yes I know if you trawl around in the detritus of the web you can find copies of it. None of these are authorised copies. Ergo, they are pirated. This website gives due respect to intellectual property rights. So FFS please stop posting links here to the copies.

If you fail

There is a high probability you will pass, but if you fail, we accept no liability sorry. If you really want the certification (or you just don't believe us about doing it without training), the next step might be to do one of the online training courses. Or for another option the Art of Service book-and-training for ITIL 2011 seems to sell a lot on Amazon (and I hear good comments about it). It's a buyer's market out there right now - shop around.

If your boss is paying, you'll want the complete set of the actual ITIL books: ITIL Lifecycle Suite 2011 Edition.

P.S. for those ITIL training vendors who are losing revenue to the online training providers, and those online providers who are losing revenue to the realisation that NO training is needed to pass ITIL V3 Foundation, I have this to say: The ITIL training industry, in the guise of the ITIL Qualifications Board, made a conscious decision to increase the marketability and decrease the cost of dnielivery by dumbing down the ITIL V3 Foundation syllabus to the point where it came to this. "As ye sow so shall ye reap".

If you wanted to maintain your stranglehold on training, you should have pumped it up into a one-week course with compulsory laboratory exercises and simulations (go back to your precious Blooms and understand the distinction between knowledge and skills), and a hard exam.

The way to save yourselves now is to convince the market that Foundation is a worthless sheep-dip and the real value comes with Intermediate and Expert. If you are smart you are already planning this.