ITIL 4 Foundation Study Guide: How to Prepare for the Exam

Taylor Karl
/ Categories: Resources, ITIL
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ITIL 4 Foundation Study Guide: Tips to Prepare for the Exam

Are you intending to kick-start your Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) career by passing the official ITIL 4 Foundation certificate exam? Are you transitioning from ITIL v3 edition? Are you planning to fulfill the Foundation learning requirement before pursuing ITIL Intermediate certification? No matter the reason for certification, this guide will explain what you should expect to see on the ITIL 4 Foundation exam and provide tips to help you prepare for it.

What to Expect on the ITIL 4 Foundation Exam

The ITIL Foundation test consists of 40 questions, and you must get 26 right to pass. For each correct answer, you'll get one point. Questions will range in level of complexity, with the majority falling into the easy-to-moderate range of difficulty and a select few that are more challenging. You should answer all 40 questions in the exam, as there is no penalty for incorrect responses.

The time limit for the ITIL exam 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. The test is mainly administered online. However, in-person testing opportunities do exist. You will not be able to access any outside resources at any time throughout the proctored exam.

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.

Preparation for this ITIL exam is one of the best ways to ensure success. How well you do on the test largely depends on how much you study the information. If you are feeling overwhelmed as you prepare yourself to take the exam, here are a few tips that can help:

Take an Exam Prep Course

The instructors for these accredited courses have in-depth familiarity with their respective fields and ITIL concepts. These instructor-led ITIL 4 Foundation training courses are among the most interactive methods of studying for the test.

Create an ITIL 4 Foundation Exam Study Guide

Creating a study guide is one of the most effective ways to prepare yourself whether you have taken an exam prep course or if you are taking the self-study route for your certification. Here are a few things to include in your study guide:

  1. Key service concepts 
  2. ITIL Guiding Principles
  3. Four dimensions of service management
  4. ITIL service value system purpose and components
  5. Service value chain activities and how they interconnect
  6. ITIL practices

Create Flashcards to Review Definitions, Concepts, and Practices

To pass the test, you need to be familiar with the ITIL service lifecycle and its terminology and draw connections between the various stages of the lifecycle and the procedures at the heart of IT service management. Creating flashcards can help break the services and each concept down into easier-to-digest chunks since you need to be familiar with a lot of similar-sounding terms.

Familiarize Yourself with the Exam Format

Knowing what to expect in advance can prevent surprises on test day. Using a mock exam simulator and/or answering practice questions will give you a feel for the exam format.

Take a Practice Exam

One of the best ways to prepare for your exam is to take as many practice tests as possible. Not only will they prepare you for the exam format, but practice tests will also aid you in gauging your level of preparedness and pinpoint areas of weakness to improve upon. Like United Training, many training courses provide practice exams as part of the class.

Other Resources to Help You Prepare

You must choose your study materials with great care to ensure they are ideally suited to your current level of knowledge. There are many credible educational websites that offer outstanding knowledge documentation to help support you in reaching your ITIL 4 Foundation certification goals.

Axelos oversees numerous best practice approaches globally, including ITIL. They have several resources that can help you prepare. Check out their syllabusto assist in creating a study guide and check out PeopleCert to learn more about the ITIL 4 Foundation course.

Tips for Exam Day

The big ITIL exam day can make anyone nervous, from an ITIL newcomer to a seasoned expert refreshing their skills. Here are a few test taking tips to help make the exam go smoother for you:


After you have done everything you can to prepare for the test, the best thing you can do is to take it without unnecessary stress. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but trust that you'll be successful if you've done your homework and know what to anticipate. You can always retake the exam if you don't pass the first time.

Read Each Question Carefully

One common error known to happen during the ITIL exam is for candidates to rush through a question. For example, perhaps you didn’t notice the word "not" in the question asking you to describe which statement does NOT apply. It's important to take your time and read each question thoroughly to avoid losing points due to misunderstandings.

Use the Process of Elimination

Sometimes, reading questions and reviewing the answers can be overwhelming, especially if the question is long, contains a lot of information, or the answers are similar or complex. If a question feels daunting, use the process of elimination to disqualify answers one at a time rather than looking at them as a whole.

Dont Spend Too Much Time on 1 Question

The ITIL exam contains 40 questions that you must answer in 60 minutes. You have approximately 1.5 minutes to answer each question. Getting hung up on one question can burn up precious time. It’s better to use your time wisely and attempt all the questions instead of spending a lot of time figuring out one question and running out of time to answer others.


If you want to pass the ITIL certification, you need to invest time studying for it. Make sure you give yourself enough time to get ready to avoid feeling rushed or stressed. Preparing for a test is a lot easier if you have access to high-quality materials that will help you focus on what matters most in the exam.

Check out United Training's ITIL Foundation training course if you're ready to begin studying for the ITIL Foundation certification and want a thorough education. In addition, United Training provides a variety of training courses to help you get started on your ITIL career path.