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Overview of the ISEB and ISTQB Exam Structures

As you know, receiving any ISEB or ISTQB software testing certification requires that you prepare for, and pass, a certification exam.  One of the more frequently-asked questions we receive relates to the structure of these exams.  Even though we are not involved in the administration of the exams, we definitely understand the nuts and bolts of each one!

Each exam differs slightly in format, and must be taken in the appropriate sequence.  The first exam is the ISEB / ISTQB Foundation Level. 

For students in the UK, the next exam after the ISEB Foundation Level would be the ISEB Intermediate Level, followed by 1 or both of the ISEB Practitioner exams (Test Analysis or Test Manager). 

For students outside the UK, the next exam would be the ISTQB Advanced Level, which itself consists of 3 distinct modules (Test Analyst, Technical Test Analyst, and Test Manager).  Please read the blog post below for more information on the delineation of the ISEB and ISTQB certification paths. 

The Foundation Level exam (both ISEB and ISTQB) is “closed book,” and consists of 40 multiple-choice questions.  Students have 1 hour in which to complete the exam, and the pass mark is 26 out of 40 correct. 

The ISEB Intermediate Level exam is a little different.  Whereas the ISEB Foundation exam is concerned with the basics of the knowledge, the ISEB Intermediate exam is concerned with the practical application of that knowledge.  As such, it consists of scenario-based questions.  This exam also has a 1-hour time limit, and the pass mark is 60%.

The final ISEB certification exam is the ISEB Practitioner Level.  This level consists of 2 separate certifications, and as such encompasses 2 separate exams.  Both exams require you to answer 4 of 6 essay-type questions in a 2-hour timeframe, with a 60% pass rate.

Finally, the ISTQB Advanced Level exam covers 65 multiple-choice questions.  Students must complete the exam within 3 hours, and the pass rate is 65%.

So there you have it.  I hope you found this exam overview to be helpful and informative.  Please remember that no matter which exam you wish to take, it is critical to study and actually learn the required information.  To do otherwise would result in a failing grade, and a waste of time and money.  Good luck!


Related posts:

  1. How Long Does It Take to Prepare for ISEB or ISTQB Software Testing Certification Exams Using Self-Study Training Materials?
  2. The Required Sequence of ISEB Certifications

One Response to “Overview of the ISEB and ISTQB Exam Structures”

  1. Anoop says:

    hi, we are the authorized partner of ISEB in India. We conduct the exam on behalf of ISEB. If any query regarding please call on 09212200206 or write to

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