What is an ITIL&Reg; Foundation Exam?

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  • Written By: C. Martin
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2019
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The ITIL® foundation exam is the examination for the primary qualification that IT service professionals obtain to become ITIL® certified. ITIL® stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, and is a registered trade mark of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) in the United Kingdom and other countries. It is a comprehensively documented standard for the provision of Information Technology (IT) in a best practice environment. This certification is also sometimes called the ITIL® Service Management Foundation Certification.

While it was originally invented and used by the United Kingdom government, the ITIL® methodology has now been adopted by many companies all over the globe. As such, taking the ITIL® foundation exam can be a valuable investment for any serious IT professional. Most individuals take the ITIL® foundation exam at the end of a short training course. It is a multiple choice exam, and the pass rate is usually around 90%.

Basic certification starts with the ITIL® foundation exam. If students wish to take the certification further, then the more advanced qualifications include ITIL® Intermediate Level, ITIL® Expert, and ITIL® Master. All of these certification levels require considerable further study. All levels of ITIL® certificate qualification are in considerable demand by both government bodies and independent corporations. As such, investing in training and passing the ITIL® foundation exam may be an extremely good career move.


The ITIL® exam at foundation level consists of 40 multiple choice questions, of which at least 26, or 65%, must be answered correctly. Most candidates take the exam directly after completing a foundation training ITIL® course. Students usually report that they find the exam relatively easy—hence the high pass rate for this examination. Successfully passing the ITIL® foundation exam certifies that you possess knowledge of the concepts, principles, and terms used in ITIL®.

It is strongly recommended that students who wish to study independently for the ITIL® foundation exam purchase the official books, as well as some example tests to practice with. This will give a student the best chance of passing the ITIL® exam on his or her first attempt. Students report that the material required to pass the exam can usually be learned in about three days of self-study.

After obtaining an ITIL® certificate, it is a good idea for the IT professional to add the achievement to his or her resume. He or she will be listed on a database of successful candidates so that the certification can be verified by potential employers. The ITIL® foundation certification is an excellent starting qualification for anyone pursuing a career in IT, and particularly in IT support or helpdesk roles.


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