As I have had some questions about this recently, I thought I would go back to the basics and review some of the key aspects of the ISTQB Foundation certificate in software testing. This level is also referred to as ISEB Foundation, and is also known as CTFL which stands for Certified Tester Foundation Level.
The Foundation level is the first certification you must earn, as it is a prerequisite for all other levels. There are really no pre-qualifications to taking your Foundation level exam, other than the fact that you must be willing and able to work in the software testing field.
Everything that you must learn to earn your Foundation level accreditation is outlined in the official ISTQB Foundation syllabus. Some of the topics contained within the syllabus include test design tactics, the role of testing throughout the development lifecycle, and software testing fundamentals. However, simply studying the syllabus alone is not enough to pass your exam. To pass, the expectation is that you either enroll in classroom training or purchase self-study training materials.
The actual exam consists of 40 multiple choice questions, of which you must correctly answer 26 to pass. Generally, you can book your exam directly with the BCS if you are located in the UK, at astqb.org if you are located in the US, or at Pearson Vue or Prometric for any other location. At the time of this writing the exam fee is £130 or $250 (in British Pounds and US Dollars, respectively).
Once you have earned your Foundation level certification, you can then proceed to your ISEB Intermediate certification, and then to your ISTQB Advanced certification which itself consists of 3 distinct modules, each of which has its own exam. Finally, for those seeking specialization beyond the Advanced level, the soon-to-be-offered ISTQB Expert level should fit the bill.