jeanne togaf certification part 2

I passed part 2 with 90% today.  Despite having taken part 1 a month ago and not touched studied since, I retained a lot. This is good. As I skimmed/read the part 2 study guide, I also realized I retained a lot from class.  I spent less than a week studying for part 2.  But most of the learning went on during the class and when studying for part 1.

Registering for the test

Registering at Prometric went smoothly.  I wish they’d let you search by zip code.  New York State is large.  My local testing site didn’t have any seats the day I wanted to take the exam.  And I would never go back to the second closest one (read why Horizon Technical Consultants of Flushing is no good.)  I then looked for centers in Manhattan and found NetComLearning.  (I think I might have taken the Core Spring cert there.  It’s a good center.  They even let you keep your wallet/house keys with you in your pocket.)

Resources I used to study

I’m sharing my scores in addition to commentary on the practice exams.  This helps with the “am I ready to take the exam” question.  The gist is that your score on your first attempt of the official practice test is a good predictor of your score on the real test.

Resource Comments
The official part 2 study guide. Since part 2 is open book, my study approach was to have both the official part 2 study guide and 700 page pdf open.  I mapped the text/paragraphs between the two as I skimmed/read.  The goal was to become familiar with how to find information quickly in the 700 page book.  Which is a useful skill for when I later need this information to apply TOGAF.While much of the text is the same as the 700 page book, it is easier to read and more concise.  It costs $30 but we were provided a copy as part of the course.  It also contains the official practice test, but more on that later.
Open Arch practice test – #1 I got 75% on this one.  I had only read a couple chapters of the study guide at this point.  I used a mix of memory and the 700 page pdf.  Note that this practice test is better than practice test #2.  I wish I had waited to try it.  It’s still not as hard/interesting as the official practice test though.
Open Arch practice test – #2 I got 100% on this one.  On this one, I looked up every single answer and used it as a sanity check that I could find information in the PDF quickly.  Which I could as I answered all 8 questions in 35 minutes.  Both practice tests seemed way too easy as they were a very straightforward mapping to the PDF.  It was also possible to identify some answers as wrong by comparing the verbiage in questions to each other.  The official practice test is much harder/more interesting.  They were still worth doing though.  If you can’t recall or look up this information very quickly, you aren’t ready for the official practice test.
9 multiple questions on viewpoints Viewpoints aren’t covered in the study guide, but are apparently important.  I went through the 9 multiple questions with the study guide open as a review from class.  I only got 5/9.  Wish there was some detail with the answers.
Official practice test This is included in the study guide.  Alternatively, you can buy it for 99 cents.  The reason I keep saying hard/interesting, is that they don’t give away the phase by stating it; you get to think.  That’s the interesting part.  The hard part is that the questions are LONG and there is a lot to keep track of when comparing answer choices.I like that the answer key tells you what they were testing along with a chapter/section reference in the book. My score was 95%.  I got the second best answer on the viewpoints question.   I’m shocked that I did this well as my brain felt like it was turning to mush while reading the choices. Other interesting scoring statistics: I identified the distractor correctly on 7-8 of the questions.  (on question 7, I wrote two choices as being distractors because I couldn’t tell which was the distractor and which was merely wrong.)  On 5 of the questions, I identified the 1st/2nd/3rd/distractor order completely correct.I spent 50 minutes on it.  I didn’t spend the remaining 40 because I read the 700 page book in the exam is hard to use.  Which means I’d waste a lot of time on that on the real exam.
My instructor’s 4 practice questions I got 40% on this.  I found the distractor on three of the four questions.  I wasn’t able to use the book to help me with any of this question set.  And I only spent 15 minutes.  Maybe I was tired? The spirit felt very different in that I used the book a lot for the official practice test and not at all for these four questions.  I did it again the morning of test day and got 80%.  Granted this was because I knew not to go with my gut choices.  I also used the book a tiny bit (to double check artifact names in one question.)  This was meant to be a confidence building activity and not a test of how I was doing.  I still find these questions to be A LOT harder than the official practice test.
Chris Eaton’s 2 practice questions I got 50% of this.  I found the distractor on one of the two questions.  I was able to use the book to help.  On this one, I KNOW I was tired as I missed the phase one question was asking about and it was explicitly stated in the question.


  • As you do practice questions, try to rank them in terms of “best answer”, “2nd answer”, “3rd answer” and “distractor.”  All the practice exams give you all four of these in the answer key so you can check your understanding AND test taking skills extra.
  • On both practice tests and the real exam, try to identify the distractor before you start ranking the others.  The distractor may not use TOGAF words.  Or it may pertain to a different part of TOGAF.  If you can identify the distractor on every question, your expected value is now 60% on the exam.  (Because you can now get 1, 3 or 5 points out of 5).  Conveniently, this is the pass score.
  • Read the description of the Prometric PDF usability issues.  I didn’t have this problem as you’ll see below, but it is still good advice.
  • There are two possible approaches on using the PDF.  One is to take the whole test without it and then check answers at the end.  The other is the use the PDF for each question but timebox it.  I chose the later. I determined I wouldn’t spend more than 10 minutes per question on the first pass.  Then I’d use the extra time at the end on any I “ran out of time on.”  In the official practice test, that was just the viewpoint question.

Test day strategy

  • I made sure that the laminated board was two sided.  You are entitled two two boards (or a two sided one.)  When I went to Horizonthey only gave me a one sided one.  For that test, I wasn’t writing much so it didn’t matter.  For TOGAF, I used the two sides.
  • The engine:
    • Don’t bother taking the practice/training test.  I said yes to taking it thinking I’d get to see where the reference button was for the PDF.  And maybe the navigation.  Nope.  It was just the standard Prometric engine in the practice.  Which you’ve seen in part 1 so should be familiar with by now.
    • The screen displays two frames.  The left one is the scenario part.  The right one is the one-two sentence question and all the answers.  I didn’t have to scroll as much as I was worried about.
    • The bottom left corner as a “reference” button that launches the PDF.  It was a little laggy; taking 1-2 seconds each time to open the PDF.  The PDF displays in a new “window”, but not the type you can alt-tab to.  So a lot of clicking.  The PDF was fine though.  I had read it was clunky, but it wasn’t.  You could navigate using the table of contents or searching or scrolling.  Just like when I practiced.  The only odd thing is that I seem to have hit a shortcut to keep scrolling down at some point.  I clicked around and it stopped after 15 seconds of poking.
  • Before clicking the start button, I took a moment to write each question #, “a”, b”, “c”, “d”.  I was only able to fit three of them going down the page so I put the fourth on the right quarter of the page.  I did the same on the back so I was all set for the eight questions.
  • The actual test was the first time I didn’t feel my brain turning to mush from reading the questions.  I guess I FINALLY learned to discern what is important.
  • I went through the questions in three passes.
    1. The first pass (50 minutes) was for questions I could answer in less than 10 minutes each.  I did use the PDF for six of the eight questions on pass one because I felt I could do so efficiently. During this pass, I wrote down the area I felt the question was testing and whether I felt each choice was the distractor, 1st, 2nd or 3rd answer along with my thoughts on why.  This helped me avoid having to re-read the answers.  It also let me recover my thoughts when revisiting.  I also logged the amount of time I spent on each question (to keep me moving) and my confidence level of my answers on a scale from 1 to 10.  This let me know which ones to go back to.
    2. The second pass (15 minutes) was for doing a mini “research project” on the two areas I was less familiar with.  I could have answered each of these in less than 10 minutes.  I choose not to on pass 1 so I could figure out where my time would be well spent.  Obviously, the “research project” approach wouldn’t help if you weren’t familiar with the PDF.
    3. The third pass (2 minutes) was to click through each question and make sure the radio button for my first choice was still selected.

Overall impressions of the TOGAF cert

  • Studying for part 1 was tedious to me.  I hate memorizing.  It is necessary to know the terms/phases though so it was worth spending time on.  Just unpleasant.
  • Studying for part 2 was more interesting.  It became an exercise in how to use the book efficiently for me in addition to becoming more familiar with TOGAF.  This is a good skill.  And most of the questions are about understanding/application which is more fun.
  • And nothing to do with the cert, but I have used a little TOGAF at work since I took the class.  Which shows the use!

Good luck on your cert and feel free to ask questions in the CodeRanch TOGAF forum.

Note: As usual, don’t bother asking me to share materials.  Everything mentioned here is either free online (which you can get) or paid content (which I will not share.)

jeanne’s togaf foundation cert in 3 weeks experiences

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.


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.


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.