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How Long Does It Take to Prepare for ISEB or ISTQB Software Testing Certification Exams Using Self-Study Training Materials?

A common question we receive here at relates to how long it takes to prepare for your ISEB or CTFL / ISTQB software testing certification exam using our self-study training courses.  This is a bit of a difficult question, because everyone has different study habits and time constraints, and each type of certification varies in the level of knowledge required to pass the exam (for example, the ISEB Intermediate exam covers more than the ISEB Foundation exam).

Therefore, it is not possible to provide a direct and quantifiable answer to this question, but it is possible to provide some contextual information which in turn will allow you to make this determination on your own. 

The first and most critical factor is your own availability of time.  In other words, those who have much free time should be able to prepare in a fewer amount of days compared to people with very little time availability.  So, if you have 6 kids at home, or work 2 jobs, or have other time-sapping circumstances, you will be hard-pressed to complete your studies within the same timeframe as someone without similar time constraints.   

The second factor is your own study habits.  If you are a highly motivated self-starter with an excellent work ethic, you’ll finish your studies much faster than someone without these traits.  The ISEB and CTFL / ISTQB certification information is not difficult to understand, but there is a fair amount of it to learn.  If you are the type that struggles to get started, you may find that the process of exam preparation will take several months.

The final factor is the certification level itself.  As mentioned above, these software testing certifications are additive, which means that each level is more comprehensive than the previous level.  Thus, either ISEB Practitioner exam is more comprehensive than the ISEB Intermediate level exam, which in turn is more comprehensive than the ISEB Foundation level exam.  The same holds true for ISTQB, where the ISTQB Advanced level exam covers more material than the ISTQB Foundation level exam.

With all of that being said, we can now offer some very general study timelines.  For the ISEB Foundation or CTFL / ISTQB Foundation exam, if you have good study habits and some free time available, you should be ready in 3-4 weeks.  If you do not have good study habits or you have very little free time, a rough estimate would be 4-6 weeks.

For the ISEB Intermediate exam, those with ample free time and good study habits can expect to be ready in 4-6 weeks.  Those with poor study habits and miscellaneous time constraints can expect to spend 6-8 weeks.

Finally, for either of the ISEB Practitioner exams or the ISQTB Advanced exam, students with good study habits and ample free time should be ready in 6-8 weeks, and those without these attributes are looking at anywhere from 8-12 weeks.

Again, these are extremely rough guidelines, so please consider the time estimates to offer perspective instead of precision.  The bottom line is that YOU are the only person who can answer this question specifically.

Good luck!


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One Response to “How Long Does It Take to Prepare for ISEB or ISTQB Software Testing Certification Exams Using Self-Study Training Materials?”

  1. anubhav says:

    really detailed answer!! thanks for the effort

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