Getting Business Analysis Certification: Passing the Exam Part I


I've broken up this quick guide into three parts that I believe will help you cruise through your certification. Including things I wish I had done better. I did pass, but doing some of these better could have spared me a lot of anxiety during the test.

Hint: Watch the video if you're too lazy to read, same stuff

Part 1: What You Absolutely Must Know

Memorize the knowledge Areas

knowledge areasI am NOT a memorizer. I am a conceptualizer. I hate memorizing. In school, I always did well by mastering concepts, not memorizing facts. I always felt that if you master a concept, then the facts will fall into place. That was always my philosophy and I had to let it go to pass this exam and I'm glad I did.

The BABOK® Guide organizes its core themes around six knowledge areas: Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring, Elicitation, Requirements Management & Communication, Enterprise Analysis, Requirements Analysis, and Solutions Assessment & Validation. Each has around 4-6 tasks that make up the knowledge area. Each one of those tasks has an...

  • Input: Stuff you need to start the task
  • Elements: What you do to complete the task
  • Output: What the task produces
  • Recommended Techniques: Different Methods to Complete the Task

You need to memorize all of these, for every task. Seriously. You should be able to recite the 6 knowledge areas, all the tasks in every knowledge area, and the input, elements, outputs, and tasks for each. I know, it sounds brutal, but it will save you some serious anxiety on the test. 

Me personally, I stopped at 6 knowledge areas and tasks. I tried to focus on the conceptual aspect of the actual inputs, elements, and outputs and my punishment for that was having to guess on more questions that I would have liked. You will find lots of answer choices that sound like they could be correct and you won't be able to distinguish between then unless you have this all memorized. 

Next, Know the Techniques

Understanding each of the techniques and how and when they are applied is important. There are a lot of techniques and there will be some that you think you understand better than you actually do. Don't make that assumption. Read through all of them, understand how they work, and try them all out. Use old notes, data, or whatever, but make an attempt.

Each techniques has its own usage that makes sense. Practicing actually using the technique will make it easier to answer questions around the technique.  

Organizing the Competencies

The competencies are the easiest to understand on their own because they aren't specific to business analysis. They are generic competencies for the most part. What's important is understanding how they are grouped. A good example. "Is teaching considered an interaction skill or communication skill?" Most of us know what teaching is, the important thing to know is how the IIBA sees and categorizes teaching. 

For this, you should be able to name all 6 top level competencies, and all the skills within those compentencies. Understanding each of them (not memorizing) should be enough because most are things your are probably already familiar with and can easily grasp. 

Don't FORGET! Follow the link to Part 2 below to see exactly how I used the study materials to pass!

Part II: Bench Marking Your Progress >>

4 thoughts on “Getting Business Analysis Certification: Passing the Exam Part I”

  1. Hi Can you specify which study material did you use apart from the Babok ? Watermark and BA Mentor study material is rather expensive and I would like to avoid purchasing it if possible.
    Can you let me know if it is possible to clear the examination by only studying the Babok ?

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