Mastering ITIL 4 Foundation: Tips and Strategies for Success

Taylor Karl
/ Categories: Resources, ITIL
Mastering ITIL 4 Foundation: Tips and Strategies for Success 1446 0

ITIL 4 Foundation is a certification for technology professionals or anyone who needs to understand the key concepts of IT and digital service delivery and is interested in helping their organization embrace a new service management culture. ITIL 4 Foundation is for professionals at the start of their ITIL 4 journey or people looking to update their existing ITIL knowledge.

The concepts and skills learned in this course reflect the fast-paced and complex environment in which we live and work. Learning the ins and outs of the ITSM framework can be helpful for service development and customer support by acting as a stepping stone to advancing their careers. More companies recognize the ITIL methodology's value and require entire teams and departments to become certified in ITIL 4 Foundation. It's an excellent way to boost productivity, collaboration, and communication, ensuring digital transformation success and continual service improvement.

This article will explain ITIL 4 Foundation, why IT professionals should earn this certification, and walk through tips and strategies to pass the exam.

Understanding ITIL 4 Foundation

The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) certifications demonstrate a technology professional’s expertise in IT service management (ITSM). ITIL 4 Foundation an entry-level certification that introduces the basic concepts of ITIL 4, including how businesses manage risk, strengthen customer relations, establish cost-effective practices, and build a stable IT environment that allows for growth, scale, and change.

By mastering ITIL 4 Foundation, you will become an expert in key digital service delivery concepts, including:

  • The Service Value System
  • The Service Value Chain
  • The Seven Guiding Principles
  • The Four Dimensions of Service Management
  • Key concepts of Lean, Agile, and DevOps.

Why Obtain an ITIL 4 Foundation Certification?

ITIL 4 Foundation is the first certification IT professionals will need within the framework. With ITIL 4 Foundation, you learn commonly used service management terms and concepts and how to examine operations in modern IT and digital service organizations. ITIL 4 Foundation teaches candidates how to reduce their organization's IT costs, better define and formalize operational processes, and improve overall customer satisfaction.

This certification is the key starting point for current or aspiring IT professionals because it teaches the ITIL framework's guiding principles, dimensions, and practices. ITIL 4 Foundation is often a prerequisite for employment with an IT organization and introduces new career opportunities and growth. An ITIL certification is a worthwhile investment in your future livelihood. Professionals with ITIL 4 Foundation and IT service management (ITSM) certifications earn an average salary of $98,212.

Over 90 percent of companies are estimated to use IT Service Management (ITSM) frameworks. An international survey of 491 firms revealed that the number of realized benefits increases as an ITSM framework matures in an organization. That's why well-regarded organizations such as CITI Bank, Bank of America, Microsoft, Boeing, British Telecom, and Walmart have adopted ITIL. All these businesses and thousands more worldwide have implemented ITIL and continue to hire ITIL-certified individuals.

Eligibility and Requirements for ITIL 4 Foundation

Because ITIL 4 Foundation is an entry-level certification, there are no prerequisites. You must complete the ITIL 4 Foundation exam to earn the certificate and can take one of two options to prepare:

  • Complete a training course with an accredited organization, such as New Horizons, which earns you 14 PDUs and a voucher for taking the exam.
  • Self-study using the core manual, then book an exam directly with a certified provider.

The course with New Horizons takes place over the course of three days. We have designed this course for anyone who needs an understanding of IT Service Management to help deliver better customer value. It is appropriate for all IT staff, management, and customers who work closely with IT to support business requirements.

Step-by-step Guide to Obtaining ITIL 4 Foundation Certification

The exam will test your ability to recall the ITIL framework. It has 40 multiple-choice questions (MCQ) totaling 40 marks. To pass the exam, candidates must score at least 26 marks (65%). The US exam fee is about $495 but will vary based on country.

Preparations and Self-Assessment: Familiarize yourself with the ITIL framework and review the official ITIL 4 Foundation study guide. Complete a practice exam to determine which areas you need to focus your study before taking the official test.

Enroll in New Horizons ITIL 4 Foundation course: New Horizons is an Axelos Accredited Training Provider. Our courses, which we updated as recently as 2022, are developed by ITIL professionals. Visit our course page for more information on enrolling.

Studying for the Exam: There is a wealth of third-party ITIL 4 Foundations prep materials for those who desire more than the standard class offering. However, students of a Foundations course will have all of the required study materials to prepare for the exam and two full "sample papers." We also recommend studying Axelos' ITIL eBook: Future Proof Your Career with ITIL 4 and Axelos’ ITIL Job Hunting guide.

Booking the Exam: PeopleCert is the sole owner of ITIL intellectual property. You can visit the PeopleCert website to schedule your exam.

Taking the Exam: The exam is one hour long. If you take the exam in a language other than your native language, you may be granted an additional 15 minutes of examination time. The examination is a "closed book," and no additional materials are allowed.

After the Exam: To pass the exam, you must get 26 questions correct (65%). After you complete and pass the exam, your ITIL 4 Foundation certification will allow you to progress to higher levels within the ITIL 4 certification scheme. An ITIL 4 Foundation Certified will also increase your eligibility for various organizational job roles, including IT manager, IT director, IT project manager, Chief Information Officer, and VP of Information Technology. ITIL 4 Foundation certification doesn't expire and does not require continuing education to maintain.

Tips for Success in Your ITIL 4 Foundation Journey

At New Horizons, we’re lucky to have access to experienced ITIL professionals and instructors. We asked them for their best study tips and exam strategies to help you prepare. Check them out below!

  • Answer the sentence that ends with a question mark. It seems simple, but concentrating on the specific question sentence helps to filter out \"Noise.\"
  • Concentrate on the actual question sentence, but carefully read the entire question and all answers. When you take practice exams, you will miss questions for which you know the correct answer. Most of the time, you will realize that the root cause of these misses is failure to read carefully.
  • Pace yourself. Know how many questions you have and how much time total. There is a clock on the exam screen with your time remaining, so monitoring your status is pretty easy. Make sure you are on pace so you do not need to guess at the end, but also make sure you are not going too fast, as this leads to misses, as described previously.
  • I never mark questions for review. Either answer a question or don't. Putting in an answer and reviewing it later leads to buyer's remorse, as candidates will guess and second-guess their answer, often leading to an incorrect correction. If your answer is an educated guess, stick with your first guess. It is my opinion that you should never change a guess.
  • Do change an answer if you realize you made a mistake, had the "Ah-Hah" moment, or if a question answers a previous question. Don't think it is a trick if a question answers another question. Just take the free correct answer and move along.
  • If you cannot choose between two alternatives, imagine each one as the correct answer. If you are like most people, you will often "feel" that one of the answers is wrong. Trust this feeling -- research suggests that feelings are frequently accessible even when recall is poor (e.g., we can still know how we feel about a person even if we can't remember the person's name). Although this tip is not infallible, many students find it useful.
  • Grind out every exam question, especially the ones where you do not know the correct answer immediately. Some people throw up their hands and guess randomly, but don't do that! Look for grammatical and linguistic cues to help answer tough questions.
  • Eliminate incorrect answers. The goal is to know all the correct answers, but an educated guess made after eliminating the bad still counts towards an exam pass if you guess correctly.
  • If at least two answers make sense and there is an option for it, \"All of the Above\" is a strong possibility. The ITIL exam does not have an aversion to \"All\" or \"None\" of the above.
  • Schedule a break during the exam. You will know if you have time for a break if you manage your time properly.
  • Spaced practice and study are better than studying en masse. It's hard to read an ITIL book for over an hour without a break. Give your brain time to absorb what you've learned.
  • If you think an item is a trick question, think again. If you suspect a question is a trick item, ensure you're not reading too much into the question, and try to avoid imagining detailed scenarios in which the answer could be true. In most cases, "trick questions" are tricky because candidates don't take them at face value. Do not introduce facts without evidence, and avoid assumptions. Another instructor once advised me that if you need to go down the street, around the corner, and up the block to make an answer correct, it’s not correct.
  • "Funny" responses are usually wrong.
  • If you struggle with a question, try to pose each option as a true-or-false question. Options that are not true or that you need to work to make true are likely not the correct answer.
  • Try reading and answering the questions before looking at any of the choices. If one of the choices matches your response closely, it is probably correct.
  • It is highly unlikely that a candidate will answer all questions correctly. Remember that a grade of 75% on a test, which is evidence of a good grasp of the subject matter, means that 25% of the questions were answered incorrectly. ITIL requires you to achieve a 65/70% to pass! So, don't panic if you see a question you did not anticipate or prepare for. Use everything you know about the content of the course and your reasoning ability to analyze the question and identify a logical answer.
  • If two responses are equally correct, eliminate the response that appears to be least related to the question. Remember, you are looking for the best answer, not only a correct one. Some responses may be correct but are not directly related to the question.
  • Beware of distractors, which are answers listed on a multiple-choice test designed to distract you from the correct answer. For example, if you don’t remember ever seeing a term used in one of the answers listed, that is probably a distractor.
  • Don't worry about the pattern of the answers. You might be right if you answer B to four questions in a row.

Pitfalls to avoid during the preparation process

Each ITIL 4 Exam maps to one of the ITIL 4 Publications, so the Foundation exam maps to the ITIL 4 Foundation Publication. But, there is a significant amount of information in the publication that is \"not examinable\" or outside the scope of the exam. Studying accredited courseware geared towards the exam learning objectives is the best way to avoid spending too much time studying \"non-examinable\" material.


If you're ready to begin your journey toward the ITIL 4 Foundation certification, it's time to enroll in a training course. You can complete the exam once you have completed the course and are comfortable with the material. Adequate preparation is important. Too often, aspiring candidates use a book to study on their own and are disappointed when they fail the exam.

By passing the exam, you show employers your comprehension of ITIL terminology, structure, and the essential concepts of the ITIL approach for Service Management. Remember, ITIL-certified IT professionals earn an average of 10% more than their non-certified colleagues. This certification is a great way to jump-start your career while acquiring in-demand skills and knowledge.