The trainers actually delivering ITIL version 3 Foundations certification training are NOT HAPPY

APMG are you reading this?

The message is coming through on this blog loud and clear: the trainers actually delivering ITIL version 3 Foundations training are NOT HAPPY.

They are not happy with the syllabus: the amount to be covered in three days, and whether Service Strategy should be considered core competency (as compared to being considered a specialist area)

They are not happy with the mock exams: the quality is low and they do not reflect the level of the actual exams.

Here is a recent comment on this blog

most of the delegates came out of the exam feeling really really bad about it.

This happened after doing a mock exam (sample paper 4) and talking through some of the other sample questions (paper 3). Most of the group felt reasonably okay about their level of understanding, and what to expect and most had passed the mock (from borderline up to 38, 39 points). Their subsequent experience was broadly consistent ie that the actual ISEB exam was a whole different standard to the sample questions. A qualified and experienced ITIL Lecturer of 10 years who took my class as preparation for delivering it herself, also reported some surprisingly difficult (for Foundation) questions.

Surely it is reasonable to expect that the sample questions are just that – representative of what could be in the real exam ?!

My group were mostly capable of doing well at V2. I am now nervously anticipating their V3 results – from their feedback, it wont be pretty.

There are plenty more comments on that thread and here and here and here

Ok this is still only a small sample but I don't see anyone begging to differ. Any more readers with feedback on the V3 training please?

Seems to me this is what happens when you let a committee of vendors devise their own governance and standards. The syllabus and exam questions should have been developed by an independent panel of experts and then the vendors TOLD what they were expected to deliver.


Exams for Tutors

In common with other tutors, I will have to sit the V2/V3 Bridge exam, with its 80% pass mark , if I am to continue in business, as it is required if I am to teach beyond Foundation level. This is not unreasonable, however we have now been told that tutors will have only 2 chances to pass it. As someone who holds a distinction at V2 Managers, and is a member of the Manager's Exam marking panel, and a tutor and consultant, one might expect that I would not need to worry. However the experience we have had with the first papers for the V3 Foundation (actual and mock) and the V2/V3 Foundation bridge, my fear is that I might fail, not due to my failings, but the failings of the exam itself. APMG have even sent a letter of apology to ISEB about the quality of one paper issued!

Having spoken to many tutors at last week's UK ITsmf conference, I am not alone in my fears. Or will it all be sorted out in the moderation???
Liz Gallacher
Freelance Trainer and Consultant

One of these EIs is not like the other ones *

I saw similar concerns expressed over on the itSMF forum and it had me a bit twitchy too, after my experiences with the V3 Foundation exam/syllabus.
A response to that post stated with some confidence that it is so far only APMG as an EI who are imposing the 'two strikes out' limit for their own trainers, and that ISEB and EXIN have not yet given their position and may chose something different. Its not a blanket imposition on all EIs. Fingers crossed that they do go their own way, at least until we can be confident that any results are an accurate representation of knowledge and ability and are not adversely influenced by questionable exam quality. And maybe, after the Foundation debacle, these – career defining for some of us - exams will be set correctly from the start ? I'd like to think so.

I am due to sit my Managers Bridge exam Jan 15th – anyone want to get together (online maybe) for a trainers study group ?! (only half joking).
* apols to Sesame Street.

Trainer's study group

Yes, I'd be interested in a trainer's study group! I think it a great idea.

We've been presenting the V3 books one at a time at our Events at the Cape Town chapter and it has proved pretty popular. I think a discussion on the exam syllabus and other training concerns would be interesting and valuable.

Would it make sense to set up a google or yahoo group to do this?

Complimentary online discussion group for ITIL trainers.....

Peter, Alison, Liz

Great idea - we have been trying to boot strap an ATO club here in the US as ITSMI but with little success. So what I have done is asked the Service Management Institute, a non-profit we founded in 2007, to offer free services and its done. If you like, you can visit their site ( and register. If you then send an email and request to be added to the ITIL ATO membership group you"ll have immediate access to all things ITIL and a secure discussion forum/blog/upload/download area.....

The specific forum is here:

Much, if not all of the available syllabus and qualification scheme information is here:

If you each send me your emails I'll make sure you folks are the first in...

How should we confirm folks are ATO or accredited trainers?

Ian M. Clayton, ITIL Service Manager, CSMP, ITSM Master
itSMF USA Lifetime Award Recipient 2005

I'm In.

sounds like a good solution, thanks.
I am a little wary of Yahoo groups as my only experience of them has been forums hijacked by deeply unpleasant spam - presumably because it's hard to control membership - which makes me not want to go there.
For a pond as small as the ITIL trainer one, we probably all know one another, so maybe new guys could be vouched for by an existing member in order to join ? That way we can be pretty free with out debate, ideas etc in a restricted forum. Should it be moderated ? probably not, but I dont have a strong view and it might be hard to find anyone with the time anyway.
I'll find my way over there and join up later in the week.
See you there.

V3 Sample question - A or B ?

[This comment has been moved to be a blog post]

ITIL V3 is really good

I'm ITIL trainer for V2 as well as V3.I' ITIL expert certified and accredited trainer.I beg to differ with the fact mantioned that questions are confusing...99% questions focus well on understanding of course so its just fine and surely it can be delivered in 3 days.I have delivered 25+ batches in 2 days and 15+ corporate batchesin 3 days with 100% passing rate...

I'm on the fence on this

I'm on the fence on this one. I've delivered 3 V3 foundations now, and I'm going through the classic denial/anger/acceptance cycle.

The first course I did, I hated every minute.

The second course I did, I was annoyed by the quality of the mock exams.

The third course I did, I had a bright group and I really enoyed it.

The revelation I've had is that it's all about how you sell it. Sell Strategy to the group as what it is - the big decisions that dictate everything we do. Why do they need to know about it? Because if it's done badly, everyone suffers.

As for the quality of the exams, I give the delegates brownie points for being able to spot ropey questions. What I've learnt from my experience as a trainer is that you can quality check things endlessly, but it's not until they are live that you get delegates who will spot the mistakes you've missed. As long as APMG listen to our feedback, I don't expect them to be perfect.

I'm doing V2 courses at the moment as well, and I'm seeing more and more how V3 plugs some of the holes in V2. It's not perfect, but who is?


Setting Expectations

I will try to observe my own progression through the coming weeks of mostly V3 delivery with a final bit of V2, in light of your helpful remarks.
I certainly didn’t ‘hate every minute’ of my course, in fact just prior to the exam, I felt that it had gone pretty well. I think V3 moves ITIL in the right direction but with further refinement and clarification required, and also the courseware I used was pretty good, so I was quite positive. It was the ISEB element of the sample exam questions not setting expectations correctly, that resulted in my feeling I had let my guys down by not preparing them well enough. I care very much about the time, effort and money my delegates have spent on the training, and take it quite personally if I feel someone hasn't had a good experience ! I'm sure others feel similar.
I am sitting the V3 exam myself in a couple of days so I will at least be able to provide realistic advice and exam prep to my future classes.

the pains of acceptance of change

Nice balanced comment, thankyou Claire. yes this could indeed just be the pains of acceptance of change which is why I welcome feedback such as yours to give us a broader view. And mbuzina's point below is good too: so long as we improve...


There you have it. The real question here is, is APMG listening and are the trainers talking? Have you provided feedback and if so, how was it received?

V3 is not perfect and the exams will probably be far from perfect, but it is all about improving. So to anybody: is APMG behaving like the formerly described money hungry beast or or are they looking at the long run (still of course money hundry, which business is not?).

Official Study aid - I want my money back!!

I recently bought the new Passing your ITIL Foundation Exam - the Official Study Aid. Today, I showed it to some of my students who were doing last-minute revision before their V3 Foundation exam. I wished I hadn't! Despite the long list of people involved, and the forewords by APMG, Sharon Taylor etc., some basic quality control has been missed. Specifically, some of the answers to the mock exam questions are WRONG!
Example - page 89, q4. Which is the correct order of activities for the Change management process? The order given in the "correct answer" is
Review RFC
Authorize Change
Coordinate Change Implementation
Assess and Evaluate Change
Review the Change

The reader is then referred to page 83 for a full list of activities. On page 83 we have the process flow, with the activities given in the following order
Record RFC
Review RFC
Assess and Evaluate change
Authorize Change
Plan Upadtes
Coordinate Change Implementation
Review and close Change record.

Spot the difference????

and this is not the only example. Q4 in the mock exam asks

Whicjh o the folowing statements about the Process Owner are CORRECT?
1. Every person involved in a process is a process owner
2. The Process Owner is responsible for ensuring that the process is meeting the aims of the process definition
3. The Process Owner and the Process Manager roles are always undertaken by the same person
4. Process Ownership is always a role as well as a function in any organization

Options are
a) 2 only
b) 2 and 3 only
c) 2,3,and 4 only
d) all of the above

the answer is given as b (2 and 3 only) - with the explanation contradicting this. The explanation says
"Only the person responsible for the proces as a whole is the Process Owner;
the Process Owner and the Process Manager (i.e. Incident manager) can be the same person, but is not necessarily the same person;
and Process Ownership is always a role but is not necessarily implemented as a function in the organization"

So the explanation seems to be an explanation for why a is the answer, not b!!

AARGH!! And that is only the ones we have found so far!! (Anyone else using this book?)

I was planning to recommend this book to all students, as there is some good stuff, well-written within it - but poor quality control makes it virtually useless
Liz Gallacher
Freelance Trainer and Consultant

Consistent Inconsistency!


I'm afraid the Study Guide seems a suitable preparation for the exam! Have you actually compared the mock questions with prior samples? As you might recall the first two samples issued were extremely poor and had incorrect answers and no reliable rationale as part of the answer key. They were quietly replaced by samples 3 and 4.

The Manager bridge sample also lacks a rationale or reason explaining why the answer is what it is. So far I have found 3 answers of the 20 that either cannot be answered (I can find no correct answer in the books!), or are incorrect.

But then, we have operated for 11 years with a V2 Foundation exam that had two identical questions and different answers!...

My dilemma is that APMG insist on giving us all but a week or two to properly provide feedback before they leap to live operation, supported by moderation (whatever that means). We never see anyone else's feedback and therefor can neither learn, or have confidence anyone is actually listening.

I'll be posting my critiques of all exams on the Service:Connections site before Xmas.... in the itilBOK area....

Oh dear...

I do wish I had commented on this sooner.
I had the book on pre-order via itSMF, then when I found out that there would be a review of the V3 syllabus in Q1, I phoned to ask whether the book would be aligned to the initial syllabus, or if it would reflect the ammendments found as a result of feedback so far.
As it was the former, I chose to cancel my order and wait for the next issue, which should be in line with the modified and presumably stable syllabus.
I hope that one will also be at least typo free, or I just wont bother ! I am happy using the Intro book as my course guide at present.
Hard luck Liz - I'd ask for my money back too.

Been here before

The sad thing is that this reminds me of issues when the original Foundation exam was established. It seemed to take a long time before the questions became focussed on key learning points. There were a lot of question which were extremely ambiguous, and others where when you read the answer you felt “So what?”

This continued to be the case with the EXIN long after the ISEB had sorted itself out.

My previous life before service management was in internal audit and the delivery of professional training to IT auditors. Our approach to setting exams was extremely rigorous and focussed on two areas – ensuring the questions were scrupulously fair to the candidates and that the questions tested relevant knowledge. As examples we would go so far as to discuss where the position of a punctuation mark or the failure to exclude a double negative could confuse a candidate.

I’m sure that with the amount of interest in ITIL from within the academic world, and those with a background in other professions there should be enough people involved in the exams to avoid the basic mistakes that seem to be being repeated.

Makes you wonder

Clear comment and it will make one wonder how their planning and focus is handled, not to talk about the resources involved. My concern is that the ITIL value is being raped by commercial, apparent independent stakeholders who have a plan that might not walk inline with the customers we serve. Change & Release Management requires an immediate re-write if the process of examination, training and testing was done through the same body.

There, it is off my chest... now I have to eat my own dog food.

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