ITIL 4 Foundation Exam Guide

Taylor Karl
/ Categories: Resources, ITIL
ITIL 4 Foundation Exam Guide 8157 0

Requirements, Format, Cost, Pass Rate, and Exam Tips

The ITIL 4 Foundation Exam: Requirements, Format, Cost, Pass Rate, and Exam Tips

As the IT Service Management (ITSM) world continues to adopt the latest Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) 4 standard, it is fair to say that most IT personnel are faced with the challenge of preparing for and passing the ITIL 4 Foundation exam.

If you’re considering pursuing the ITIL 4 Foundation certification, this guide breaks down everything you need to know about the exam and provides you with tips to pass it successfully.

ITIL 4 Foundation Exam Overview

ITIL 4 Foundation presents a holistic process for managing the lifecycle of IT services, from conception to delivery to continuous improvement. ITIL 4 Foundation is intended for anybody who wants to assist their organization in adopting a new service management culture and needs a grounding in IT and digital service delivery fundamentals. This course is intended for IT professionals who are just starting out with ITIL 4 or who want to refresh their skills. The following is an overview of the Foundation exam:

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There are no prerequisites for the Foundation certification. However, the Foundation certification is a prerequisite for all other ITIL 4 courses. A self-study course or studying the ITIL Foundation publication is the bare minimum to take the exam—experience alone is unlikely to be enough unless the candidate’s experience has been in an environment where ITIL was applied rigorously.

If you are transitioning from ITIL v3, you have some options depending on how far you progressed in your training. You could start with the Foundation level, but you may be eligible to skip to other ITIL certification courses.


You may be asking questions such as, "How much does it cost to take the exam?" and "How much does an ITIL 4 foundation exam retake cost?"

These are valid questions, but the answer isn’t straightforward because the ITIL 4 Foundation exam cost can vary from one learning choice and trainer to the next, as well as by region. The exam voucher costs $290 at United Training.

Some vouchers include exam prep and one free retake, while others do not, greatly influencing the price range. If a training product is included, you can expect to pay more. However, there are no enrollment or renewal fees, and you won’t run into any hidden fees after the exam.

Here’s an overview of the ITIL 4 Foundation exam cost you can expect in different countries:


United States

United Kingdom



Approximate Exam Cost

US $230 - US $400

£200 - £370

AU $310 - AU $550

₹17,000 - ₹31,000


Exam Format

To pass the ITIL Foundation test, you must get 26 of 40 questions right (or 65%). For each question, you'll be given a list of four options, one of which is the correct one. One point will be granted for each correct response. Levels of difficulty for the questions will vary; exam questions range from easy to moderately difficult, with a few that are more challenging. There is no penalty for wrong answers, so be sure to answer all 40 questions in the exam.

The time limit for the test is 60 minutes. Exam candidates can request the allotted time for the exam to be extended under certain circumstances such as: if the exam is in a language other than a candidate’s first language, or if a candidate has certain verifiable medical conditions and/or disabilities. While there are occasionally options to take the exam in person, it's almost exclusively an online exam.

The exam is proctored, and you will not have access to any material during the test. After you finish the ITIL 4 Foundation certification exam online, you will immediately receive a provisional score. Your official score will be sent to you within two business days.

Knowledge Areas on the Exam

The exam requires knowledge of the ITIL service lifecycle and its vocabulary, as well as your ability to connect the dots between different phases of the lifecycle and the processes that are fundamental to ITSM. While the intermediate ITIL certification delves further into each lifecycle and capability module, the Foundation exam will test your basic knowledge of ITIL. Make sure you have a firm understanding of all special words and keywords, from acronyms to jargon.

Pass Rate

Axelos does not provide official pass/fail statistics for the ITIL 4 Foundation exam. Though there are no official statistics available, a study from 2013 suggested a 91% pass rate for candidates taking the ITIL v3 (the former ITIL framework) Foundation exam. Additionally, many training providers claim a pass rate for ITIL 4 Foundation from 95-99%.

While these statistics don’t necessarily prove a high ITIL 4 foundation pass rate, it’s most likely safe to assume that the examination is passable by first-time candidates. For the best chance to pass the exam, candidates need time to study using training provider course resources or official documentation from Axelos.

Scheduling an Exam

You can schedule your ITIL certification in two ways:

  1. Participate in a high-quality training course with a recognized training company that includes the examination as part of the course
  2. Self-study with the core material, then book an exam with PeopleCert directly. Note that this option is not accessible for all ITIL modules but is possible with the Foundation exam.

ITIL 4 Foundation Exam Preparation Tips

Work through a mock exam

There is no substitute for extensive preparation before an exam. Studying the format of the ITIL examination is a good starting step. Afterward, review the study material, work through practice questions, and try out a mock exam simulator. To be well-prepared for the timed exam, you should attempt to complete a mock exam in 60 minutes. This will provide you with the clearest picture of how well you know the material, your stumbling blocks, and the areas in which you need to make the most improvement.

Read the questions thoroughly

Learners often rush while reading through the question and pick the first choice that seems correct. However, sometimes questions can be worded in ways you need to pay attention to. Take your time and read through each question carefully to ensure you aren’t missing out on points due to misreading the question.

Don’t spend too long on each question

The time allotted for the exam is 1 hour, which equates to around 1.5 minutes per question on the multiple-choice examination. Don’t get caught up on one question and spend too long figuring out the right choice to pick. Running out of time and handing in a partially completed exam is a leading cause of failure. You won’t be penalized for a wrong answer, so if you don’t know the answer, just pick one and move to the next question.

Ignore your personal experience

It is recommended that candidates take the Foundation examination without relying on personal experience. The exam focuses on whether you have a solid grasp of ITIL's procedures, functions, and ideas, not on your business' implementation of an IT service management system.


Hopefully, this guide has provided you with insight into the requirements, format, knowledge areas, and cost of the ITIL 4 Foundation exam. For the best chance of passing the exam, be sure you adequately prepare beforehand and follow the test-taking tips found in this guide.

If you are ready to start preparing for ITIL Foundation certification and want a comprehensive learning experience, check out the ITIL Foundation training course offered by United Training. United Training offers several training courses to prepare you for your ITIL education journey.