IIBA Exam Failure Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Jul 26, 2021

IIBA Exam Failure Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Studying for your IIBA certification (CBAP, CCBA, or ECBA) can be a rigorous but ultimately fulfilling experience. But there is nothing worse than putting in all that time, work, and commitment and then FAILING the actual exam. Several disappointed candidates have sought guidance from me, unfortunately, after failing their first attempt at the exam. Before moving forward with these candidates, the first thing I do is get an understanding of the steps they previously took to study for the exam. This not only helps me get a baseline of how I can help them, but it also serves as inputs for how I can build courses and study tools that address these issues. So, to help you increase your chances of passing your IIBA exam on your first attempt, here are some of the top reasons people fail their IIBA exam.

1. Not preparing with simulation exams

Simulations are essential to understanding the level of complexity of your respective exam and the question types you will be faced with during the live exam.

2. Trying to memorize BABOK content vs. understanding the BABOK concepts

Higher-level IIBA exams (CBAP and CCBA) are competency-based, so the ability to apply BABOK concepts will be essential to answering questions correctly while taking them. This is why some courses case studies to facilitate the application of BABOK concepts to a real-world scenario.

3. Not understanding BABOK terminology

Understanding BABOK terminology is also essential to passing the IIBA exams. The ECBA exam is definition-based, so you need to know the terminology to select the best answer. For the higher-level exams (CBAP and CCBA), there may be terms that appear in your exam questions that were not specifically defined in the BABOK text. Understanding these terms could be essential to correctly interpret the question.

4. Applying your own experience during the exam instead of applying BABOK concepts

PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS. You need to do the opposite. Instead of applying your experience to answer exam questions, you need to apply the BABOK concepts to your real-world experience. Most adults learn by applying theory to practice. This will help you learn the BABOK concepts on a deeper level. Remember, during the exam answer questions the way BABOK authors would answer them.

5. Not understanding the various types of questions

Exam takers need to prepare for the various question types, which could include definition-based, knowledge-based, scenarios, and case study questions depending on your respective exam level.

6. Not reading the BABOK Guide

Many people consider BABOK a HUGE book, so it can be discouraging to get through it. If that is the case, be sure to use a BABOK study guide. This can be helpful to get familiar with the BABOK content before you are comfortable enough to read the full BABOK Guide.

7. Not recognizing the trends within BABOK

Since BABOK is such a sizable document, it can be difficult to identify the various trends throughout the text. These trends are essential to determining which question is the BEST option between two reasonable question options.

8. Poor time management during the exam

So many candidates have failed their certification exams simply because they ran out of time. Having a clear time management strategy will help you optimize your time while taking the live exam.

9. Not taking enough time to prepare for the exam

I know you are eager to get your certification but please take the time YOU need to properly prepare and feel comfortable with the BABOK material. While exam prep products are designed to accelerate and optimize the study process, everyone learns at a different pace. Please remember to PACE yourself.

10. Studying WRONG

Studying and not being able to retain information can be frustrating. This is often a result of NOT studying according to your optimal learning and study style. Identify the study techniques that work best for how YOU learn.

I hope these tips are beneficial in helping you reach your goal of becoming IIBA certified. Best of luck on the exam!!!!!

Author: Dr. Michael F. White, Founder and CEO of The Business Analysis Doctor, LLC

Michael has an extensive background in business analysis, project management, and coaching. He has even been recognized as a top 100 visionary in education. Michael has driven innovation at some of the top financial institutions in the nation, holds a Doctorate in Business Administration as well as CBAP, IIBA-AAC, and IIBA-CBDA designations. To learn more about The Business Analysis Doctor, LLC visit https://thebadoc.com

Posted in: CBAP, IIBA & BABOK
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