Thursday, 29 January 2015

5 things you need to know to pass your TOGAF exam

By Sarah Morgan

TOGAF is the most reliable enterprise architecture standard, utilised by the world’s leading organisations. By using TOGAF in your organisation, you’ll be able to develop an EA that’s flexible, consistent and employs best practices.

To prove you know how to implement the TOGAF EA, you’ll need the certification. And to get it, you’ll have to pass both Level 1 & Level 2 TOGAF exams. You’re going to need to put in the work and know the material - there’s no shortcut around this. Fail one of the exams and you won’t achieve an overall pass result (but you can retake the one you failed).

So, to help get you on the way to that £72,500 Architect role, here are 5 tips to prepare you for your TOGAF 9.1 certification exam success.

1. You'll have to pace yourself in the exam

You have a fixed amount of time to complete the questions in your TOGAF exams. Once the clock starts, there’s no stopping it. To make the most of your time, you need know what you’re up against and how much time you’ve got.

Level 1: 60 minutes and 40 multiple choice questions
Level 2: 90 minutes and 8 scenario questions

You’ll need to keep an eye on the clock to make sure you stay on track. In the Level 1 exam you only have an average of 90 seconds per question to make your decision. If one tough question is slowing your progress, you could end up rushing (or even missing) the others as a result.

If you do get through Level 1 with time to spare, there’s no point in rushing to Level 2. You won’t get more time for the Level 2 section and you won’t be able to return to Level 1 to make any last minute eureka changes.

2. Don’t waste time on questions you can’t answer

There’s no point spending extra time on the trickier questions if there are easier ones you could be answering (they’re all worth the same mark!).

Avoid this by first answering the questions that you know as this will leave you more time for the trickier ones. Mark those you can’t answer quickly (if you absolutely cannot answer it, make your best guess) and after the last question you’ll be able revisit them from the summary page.

Again, only return to the questions you know you’ll be able to answer. You shouldn’t be spending time on hard questions when there are still easier ones waiting.

The pass mark for Level 1 is 55%. That means you’ll only need to answer 22 of the 40 multiple choice questions correctly.

3. How to conquer Level 2 scenarios

Unlike Level 1, the Level 2 exam is open book – you’ll have access to an electronic copy of the specification, built into the Prometric test software.

The Level 2 exam consists of just 8 scenarios, each with 4 possible multiple choice answers. These answers are graded: 5 points for the correct answer, 3 for the next closest, 1 for the next and 0 for the furthest.

Answer every scenario question with the most correct answer and you’ll get 40 points. That’s a full 100%, but with a pass rate of 60% you’ll only need to get 24 points.

To conquer these scenarios you’ll need to take your time to analyse and understand them. Consider which phases of the Architecture Development Method (ADM) cycle are relevant as well as the concerns of the stakeholders.

Image courtesy of  The Open Group blog

Before you make your choice, eliminate the wrong answers and work your way backwards to the most logical and correct answer. If you can eliminate just one wrong answer, you’ll still be earning points for that question.

Lastly, you’ll have access to the TOGAF PDF documentation during level 2. Don’t get too side-tracked in this document as you’ll still have to be smart with your time. It’s a great tool that should be used as a source of reference to assess your own judgement, rather than as a guide.

4. Personal experience isn’t always correct

This one’s for experienced architects. TOGAF is the most widely adopted enterprise architecture, curated by thousands of experts, but it can be tempting to refer to your personal experience when taking the exam. However to pass, you’re going to need to take the word of TOGAF as law.

There’s no room for interpretation here, what matters is the correct implementation of the TOGAF Framework – not what worked for you.

5. You don’t have to pay for great exam resources

Great exam resources don’t have to lighten your wallet. From exam simulators to enterprising eBooks, there’s a massive range of material available online.

We’ve compiled some of our favourites – take a look at this blog for the Top 10 TOGAF resources you don’t have to pay for.

All that’s left for you to do is put in the hard work and ace the exam. Good luck!

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About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.