jeanne’s togaf foundation cert in 3 weeks experiences

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jeanne’s togaf foundation cert in 3 weeks experiences

April 9th, 2013 by Jeanne Boyarsky

I received a score of 82% on the TOGAF (Part 1) Foundation Certification today.  (see here for how I did on part 2)  Just like with the SCEA/OCMEA and Core Spring certifications, that means it is time to blog about my experiences!  In fact, a manager at my company asked if I was shooting for 100%.  I said “no, my goal is to pass and write a blog entry about it.”  Mission accomplished.

Background

I took the TOGAF (the open group architecture framework) class three weeks ago.  It prepares you for both part 1 and part 2 of the exam.  And teaches TOGAF of course.  Part 1 is a 40 question closed book multiple choice test.  Part 2 is open book scenarios.  I’ll be taking part 2 in May or June.  The class I took offered $50 off the exam, but not a free attempt. As you might imagine, taking the class greatly expedites the time to learn the material.

We had some logistical issues when I took the class including the class book not showing up until the end of the second day.  This hurt my understanding.  At the end of the class, I scored 70% on the practice test provided by the instructor (not the official practice test) but guessed a lot and didn’t feel like I understood TOGAF.  It wasn’t until I finished l woding the study guide that things started to fit together.  In that respect, the certification was valuable – it got me to solidify what I learned.

In the class, I “learned” a lot of words.  (If I didn’t know it by heart, did it count as learning?)  I had trouble creating a mental picture of TOGAF in class.  It wasn’t until day 5 that I started to see it coming together.  And even then,  a lot seemed to run together.  I did well on the mock exams we got, but I relied a lot on test taking techniques and “that sounds familiar” as opposed to actual knowledge and understanding.  The course instructor compared TOGAF to learning a second language.  That’s something that I struggled with in school as well.

Note the passing score for part 1 is currently 55%.  There are a lot of references to 60% in materials.

Registering for the exam

At Prometric, choose client “The Open Group” and exam OG0-091 – TOGAF 9 Part 1.  Yes, this is really the exam for TOGAF 9.1 Foundational; it just doesn’t say that.   For me in the US, the price is $320.  I choose a date exactly two weeks from the end of the course.  I was off work that day so I could go to my local testing center.  I didn’t want to try out a new testing center given my experiences last time at Horizon Testing Center of Flushing.  The TOGAF is big on the detail/concentration.  I needed to know I was getting that – and I do at my local center.  I also din’t want to wait too long.  I spent a week in a course on TOGAF.  That’s the most focused time I’m going to have.  Plus I have an upcoming vacation and want to get the test in before that.

Problems with Prometric

  1. The list of testing centers is by state not by zip code.  New York state is a large place.  This isn’t the most useful sort order.  There are only 23 sites in all of New York state that offer this exam.  Only four are in Manhattan and all four of those are in midtown.  Hardly convenient if someone wants to take the exam during lunch/after work.  Luckily the testing center in my neighborhood offered the exam.
  2. When I went to the testing center, my name wasn’t in the system.  After they resolved that, I sat for 40 minutes while they tried to load the test and failed.  Eventually they gave me a ticket number with Prometric to call and reschedule.  Prometeric offers me a “free retake.”  It’s not a retake!  It’s the exam I paid for in the first place.  With exams, retake implies you failed.  Grumble.  I picked that day for a reason.
  3. On the day of my reschedule, it took 20 minutes for the exam to load.  The testing center rep said it is normal for the first Prometric test of the day to be a lot slower to load than the others.  Lovely.

Exam tips (written after taking the exam)

To study, know the contents of the study guide  (either one – I’ll get to that soon) really well.  Be comfortable answering the end of chapter questions and the 40 question practice test.

And some general tips for taking the exam:

  • The questions were extremely similar in difficulty to the 40 question practice test
  • Some of the questions seemed the same as ones in the 40 question practice test (this might be an artifact of there only being so many ways you can ask a question testing the difference between initial and residual risk)
  • For a number of the questions, being able to pick the most TOGAF sounding word out of a line up is enough to answer the question
  • For a number of the questions, process of elimination works.  For example “choice A is the definition for a deliverable so it couldn’t be that”
  • The practice questions had a lot of “which of the following are not true” type statements.  There weren’t a ton of “not” questions on the exam.

Exam timing and confidence

When I was in the class and while I was studying, I felt like my confidence level on the questions was very low.  It went up from 50% to 75% as I studied.  On the actual exam, I was 100% sure of 24 of the questions and mostly sure of 31 of the questions.  There was 1 question that was very confusing wording wise.

I spent 30 minutes out of the allotted 60 on the exam.  I did it in three passes.  I spent 10 minutes answering the questions and marking those I wasn’t sure of.  I then spent 10 minutes on the 16 I wasn’t 100% sure of.  Finally I spent 10 minutes looking for stupid mistakes and questions that were answered in other questions – there weren’t any though.

Resources

Resource Comments
The official study pack Sells for $60 if you didn’t take the class.  It includes the study guide reviewing what you need to know with 90 practice questions.  It also contains the 40 question practice test.  If you only use one resource, this is the most important one as the level of difficulty/questions are most similar to the real exam.
Unofficial study guide by Kevin Lindley I really liked this book.  It was shorter and contained less “fluff” than the official study guide.  I also had it in printed form so I could highlight things.  At less than $20, this was a great investment.  The questions were a little harder than the real exam, but not excessively so.  And that was more because this book had some “pick 5 of the listed 8 answers” type questions.  There is also a free 40 question mock exam from the same author online.
Book by “William Manning” I did not consider this book.  The reviews say it is trash.  And the “author” has written certification books on every topic under the sun.  Which means it is trash or farmed out to someplace with quality issues.
3 The Open Arch mock exams The questions in this free mock exam were significantly harder than the mock exam.  The site says they were created by a team of TOGAF certified architects.  However, all three exams were published elsewhere on the internet first.  Where the authors said they took them before taking the real exam. There are a ton of ads on the exam – 2 per question.  I found some grammar issues.   That said, it was helpful to take them for learning/flashcard type purposes.  Note that these exams were originally published under separate cover – no need to take them in both places.  The originals are here, here and here.
Quick review of terms Faster to review than the study guide
Another great review sheet Faster to review than the study guide
Android app I didn’t try as I don’t have an Android phone.  My co-worker said it was fine as a resource.
10 Flashcard type mock This was like flashcards; can you recognize the TOGAF terms.  And only 10 questions.  Worth the few minutes to do it to build confidence, but not that educational.  It also doesn’t show the answers.  You can retry though and look at the ones you weren’t sure of though.

How I recommend you study

Now that I’ve actually taken the exam, I recommend the following plan for someone studying (with the goal of passing the exam, not necessarily learning TOGAF well)

  1. Read the official study guide or the unofficial study guide.
  2. Keep reading/practicing the questions that came with the study guide of your choice until you are consistently scoring 70% AND can complete it quickly.  Don’t worry about re-exposure to the exam questions.  As long as you are remembering answers like “strategic goes with long term planning” vs “the answer to #1 is c”, you are learning.
  3. Take the 40 question practice test.
  4. Make sure you’ve memorized key definitions, and are extremely familiar with the phase definitions, deliverables (what they are for/when they are used), terms in the Enterprise Continuum and terms in the Architecture Content Framework.
  5. Memorize the difference between consistent/conformant/etc
  6. Be familiar with the steps in each phase – especially B-D.
  7. Take any other mock exams listed above to build your confidence/speed if you aren’t satisfied.
  8. Take the real test.  Try to ignore the voice in your head saying you got to familiar with the practice questions.  This is a good thing.

Don’t post a comment asking me to send you the study guide, sample questions or any other copyrighted materials.

Comments

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: April 10, 2013 at 7:19 pm

After the exam, I got a very plain looking paper with my score. A day later, I got an email from the open group with a username/password (to reset) and a link to click on to add me to their certification database.

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: April 10, 2013 at 7:23 pm

I also got offered to join the AEA (for free) and print my certificate once I completed the certification database step.

Comment from Deepak Adlakha
Posted: April 11, 2013 at 11:54 am

Congrats for TOGAF Part 1…..and all the best for part 2.

Quick question, How much TOGAF class helps you in certification preparation ?

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: April 11, 2013 at 8:42 pm

It helped a lot. The instructor clearly organized the material and provided lots of study information. He also taught about how to apply TOGAF which isn’t covered well in the part 1 guide. (I haven’t read the part 2 guide so can’t comment on it.) I think I would have learned the terms without the class – although it would have taken much longer. But I don’t think I would have understood TOGAF as well.

Pingback from jeanne togaf certification part 2 | Down Home Country Coding With Scott Selikoff and Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: May 17, 2013 at 2:56 pm

[…] jeanne’s togaf foundation cert in 3 weeks experiences […]

Comment from Vamsi
Posted: July 1, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Passed with 80% today (1st July) after 12 days of preparation.

I prepared from the older version foundation study guide (1st edition; version 9), and it was still enough to crack 9.1 exam

The openarch tests are tough but the only ones available besides the one in the guide. Hence they are a must do. Around 15-18 questions will not be straight forward and needs conceptual understanding

Comment from Debashish
Posted: July 30, 2013 at 9:36 am

Nice reading your experience! TOGAF certification training courses conducted in India are exorbitantly costly (~1600 USD), so I think I will never be able to take it. Is self-study (with the books you mentioned, for example Kevin’s) sufficient to clear the tests?

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: August 4, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Yes, you can take the tests with only self study options. It’s hard to understand the material as deeply on your own though. You should pass the test regardless. More of the value of the class comes from how to apply TOGAF in the real world. And it is a lot more time consuming. You might also look at some discussions on this topic in the

Comment from Ace
Posted: February 24, 2014 at 10:57 am

How long was the class you took? How much architecture framework did you have before going into the course? From signing up for the class to getting your result of your test, how long did it take?

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: February 24, 2014 at 9:08 pm

The class was a week and covered both part 1 and part 2. I knew the name of the framework before taking the course. (I’d done some architecture work, but nothing with TOGAF.) You get the results of the test the day you take it. I took the foundation certification three weeks after the course per the title of this post. I took part 2 six weeks later. (I went on vacation in the middle so I didn’t study the whole time.)

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: February 24, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Some people on CodeRanch have reported passing with self study. See their experiences: http://www.coderanch.com/forums/f-141/togaf

Comment from Ace
Posted: February 25, 2014 at 4:13 am

Actually, was the class you took offered in NYC? If so, do you recommend it?

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: February 25, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Yes. I took Steven Else’s course in NYC. It was a private/corporate class.

Comment from Ace
Posted: February 26, 2014 at 10:34 am

Do you recommend it? How would I sign up for it, if I can?

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: February 26, 2014 at 9:04 pm

I did like the class. It was a private class though so you can’t take that particular one. The list of public classes is at http://www.opengroup.org/archimate/training-calendar/

Comment from Philip Vo
Posted: May 27, 2014 at 11:43 pm

Thank you for your log entry about preparation for TOGAF Foundation Certification Exam, Jeanne!

Comment from Shiva
Posted: July 24, 2014 at 8:42 am

I would like to borrow copy of the book TOGAF 9 Foundation Exam Study Guide. Please help. Thank you.

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: July 27, 2014 at 9:52 am

It’s a physical book. I can’t lend it to be people online. You can buy one online.

Comment from Navin
Posted: August 22, 2014 at 12:24 am

Excellent note Jeanne. Should be useful for many aspirants. Please check my website http://www.togafexamprep.com – website with social networking and dashboards with section-based chapter tests for TOGAF aspirants

Comment from Kevin Lindley
Posted: September 4, 2014 at 4:18 am

Hi Jenanne.

Thanks for the kind notes about my TOGAF study book, I’m really pleased you found it helpful.

Kind Regards
Kevin.

Comment from khan
Posted: September 26, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Excellent Help. Took the course and prepared for almost 3 weeks. Was able to get 72% and 85% in part 1 and Part 2.

Pingback from TOGAF Certification – Experiences and Recommendations | Tales of an aspiring software architect
Posted: December 16, 2014 at 6:09 pm

[…] part 1, relatively ok… I did the iterative approach that has been mentioned within other blogs and it worked well for me… my ratio was basically I knew 20, was sure on 10 and was unsure […]

Comment from Caveman
Posted: January 19, 2015 at 5:34 am

Just finished my Part 1. I got 100% :). Now preparing for Part 2..Going to read your Part 2 experiences and hopefully they can be of some help..

Comment from Sri
Posted: January 23, 2015 at 12:31 pm

Thanks for your site.

I used Kevin’s book (found out about it on your site) and TOGAF manual and passed with 82%

Comment from Bob
Posted: February 2, 2015 at 1:12 am

Passed the foundation exam on 29/01/15. The questions were trickier that the end-of-chapter questions in the official study guide and the 2 official practice exams.

Based on how well I did in those I thought I was heading for an 80+ pass % but I only managed 62%. In the end a pass is a pass but it was surprising nonetheless.

Comment from TSS
Posted: February 7, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Is it ok if I only read Study Guide Part-1 for TOGAF Foundation (level-1) exam? Or do I need to read Part-1 and Part-2 both for just Level-1 exam? I am really confused looking at some sample papers and mock test. Pl help me.

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: February 7, 2015 at 7:22 pm

You only need to read part 1 for the level 1 exam.

Comment from Bob
Posted: February 10, 2015 at 1:47 am

Jeanne do you have any further advice for the 2nd exam? I passed the foundation exam 2 weeks ago and need to start prepping for the next one.

I did 3 of the questions from the guide book test and got the most correct answer and the detractor every time but I’m not sure how much I can read into this. Is the 2nd exam much harder?

Any feedback is appreciated.

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: February 11, 2015 at 10:09 pm

For the second exam, identifying the distractor is key. Also being able to find information in the PDF.. That way you can search for key points about “the TOGAF way.”

Comment from TSS
Posted: February 21, 2015 at 7:19 am

Hi Jeanne,

Thanks for your advice. I cleared Part-1 with 92% last to last week.

Now preparing for part-2. Can you pl let me know, in what format Prometric center provide the material? Is it in Electronic or Manual? if Electronic, is it searchable content? in PDF or any known format? Is it the Open group Specification, that 700 pages document # G116 ?

Sorry for too many question… 🙂

Thanks

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: February 22, 2015 at 2:28 pm

Tejas: Congrats!

It is an electronic copy of the 700 page document. You can navigate using the table of contents or search. It is a PDF. I wrote a paragraph about the engine in my . I found it easy to use as a reference during the exam.

Comment from Kishore
Posted: April 1, 2015 at 5:35 am

Guys, i just cleared part 1 and part 2 with 90%, i did not take any course, just used 2 study guides and G116 from open group. it took me 2 weeks to study for both(5 hours everyday)

Comment from May
Posted: May 10, 2015 at 3:58 pm

I am preparing for part 1 and part 2 and have the tests for both part 1 and part 2 scheduled at the same day/time.

I am using the official Togaf 700 page guide along with the Togaf pocket guide.
I plan to do the Tests from theopenarch.org.

Would this be enough for both part 1 and part 2?
Or do I need additional material for part 2.

Additionally, I did not find any questions at the end of any chapters in the 700 page Togaf guide.

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: May 14, 2015 at 7:44 pm

May: Did you buy the Study Pack. It has sample questions including a part 2 practice test. I recommend taking the practice test so you can learn to think “the TOGAF way.”

Comment from Anirban
Posted: February 18, 2016 at 5:30 am

Hi Jeanne,
Your this post helped me a lot for Part 1. I cleared it today with 97%. And I also found that questions in the actual exam are very similar to what are there in the official Study Guide – you were bang on about it.
Would like to add one point: It seems the syllabus has changed a bit, since Kevin’s book was published and since the Open Arch mock exams were put up. Some of the questions found in them are no longer in the latest Study Guide (B133). So advice for others is, don’t read too much into how you are scoring with them, especially the Open Arch exams.

Regards.

Comment from Ali
Posted: February 25, 2016 at 11:39 am

Hi,
I am planning to have TOGAF exams. Can you please share the TOGAF study guides, it will be very appreciated.
Also, how difficult or risky is it to go for both the exams (part 1, 2) in one attempt ?

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: February 27, 2016 at 10:17 am

The study guides are not free material. You need to buy them.

Taking both exams together isn’t risky. You get a separate score for each. It is a longer exam and you have to study more before attempting either. I think that is harder.

Comment from Nk
Posted: March 20, 2016 at 10:28 pm

Hi Jeanne,

I am planning to take my TOGAF combined exam. I have bought the official study guide and have attempted all the questions( chapter end questions + 80 questions(two sets of questions in the study guide) + 12 scenarios + open arch questions both for level 1 and level 2 and have been getting good scores( around 70-80%)
Do you think I need to try any more questions – I was going through Chris eaton questions and got very low scores which has brought down my confidence level ?
whats your advice?
Thanks
NK

Comment from Raman Sampath
Posted: March 28, 2016 at 8:46 pm

Wanted to share my testing experience. I scheduled the combo Part I and Part II today. Finished Part I and then launched Part II. The reference PDF would not launch. It froze up the entire test. Test admin logged me off and tried from 2 other workstations. Same situation. PRometric support indicated that there was a problem with the “client” TOGAF software. They indicated I have to reschedule…someone would call me between 24 to 48 hours. Meanwhile, I do not know if I passed Part I (I hope I did – thought i did well) since it took directly me to Part II. I am not sure if I have to repeat it. A half day of work wasted. I hope I get compensated for the lost time and the huge inconvenience that they have put me through.

Comment from ranadhir
Posted: July 12, 2016 at 3:43 pm

Jeanne.. i passed TOGAF P1 about a week back with 92%.. plus all the registrations n blahs..

Sharing my 2 pence that helped me –
1. I saw it better to read the print copy of the study guide n take small notes beside the topics.. old school 🙂
2. After a 1st pass thru the guide, I then read in a scrambled manner.. targeted the most rewarding chapters 1st. I also made it a point to take questions in a scrambled fashion too.. as much as possible.
3. All the diagrams.. i literally memorized.. and tried to blow up the contents based on the diagrams.. helped me a ton there
4. Some potentially neglected chaps in the guide like ‘TOGAF Deliverables’ – dont miss out.. they have vital stuff.. specially for Qs like ‘which is delivered/encountered/seen/established at which ADM phase(s).
5. Lastly.. practice with lesser time.. about 75%.. coz thats what ul actually get in a hall environment 🙂

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: July 16, 2016 at 10:24 am

Congrats. That’s a great score! Thanks for sharing your experiences

Comment from Dora
Posted: July 21, 2016 at 4:19 pm

Hi Jeanne,
Thank you very much for the information. I am about to start the preparation for this exam. Your post is very helpful and informational!
Congrats on passing the foundation exam!

Comment from Pawan
Posted: August 27, 2016 at 10:04 am

Thanks for these guidelines. I passed foundation. Now preparing for second level.

Comment from Ashwini Pal
Posted: January 8, 2017 at 10:59 pm

Hi Jeanne,
I want to give Togaf 9 certification exam. Could you please provide me study materials and pratcice test.

Comment from Jeanne Boyarsky
Posted: January 13, 2017 at 10:35 pm

Those materials are sold for money. You can buy them online.

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