Clearing TOGAF 9 Level 1 and Level 2 Certification Exam
Hi Guys , A few weeks back I passed my TOGAF 9 combined Level 1 and 2 Enterprise Architecture Certification and I thought it would be useful to share my experience of the exam and hopefully it will help you in your preparation if/when you decide to go that way.
Please be aware that the information provided in this article purely reflects my point of vew with regard to preparation for the TOGAF 9 certification.
About the Exam
If you decide to do both Level 1 and Level 2 combined , there are 2 parts to the certification exam. Both parts must be cleared to pass the certification exam.
Part 1 is simple multiple choice format : Pass mark 55% (22 or more points out of a maximum of 40)
Part 2 comprises of 8 complex scenario questions, with gradient scoring : Pass mark 60% (24 or more points out of a maximum of 40) . For each scenario based question there are 4 choices. The correct answer scores 5 points, the second best answer 3 points, the third best answer 1 point. The incorrect scores 0 points.
For more information on the exam format visit the official open group website : http://www.opengroup.org/togaf9/cert/docs/indiv.tpl
Preparing for the Exam
The official guide book covering the complete TOGAF specification could be downloaded from The Open Group website : https://www2.opengroup.org/ogsys/jsp/publications/PublicationDetails.jsp?publicationid=12444
There could be later versions than G091 for the guide in which case you could download that from Open Group website.
There are two ways to approach the TOGAF 9 certification exam :
- You could attend a certified TOGAF 4-day training course and then give the exam. I did this as my company paid for the course. The training company provides their own PPTs ( which is all from the official guide book but presented differently). They also give a Pocket Guide which can be quite useful in the preparation( you can also buy this pocket guide online and its not very expensive) and some other referential TOGAF documents which I didn't get time to do. I found the course useful but I woun't really call it brilliant. The list of Accredited training courses can be found on http://www.opengroup.org/togaf9/cert/showcase/training-calendar/
- Self-study and then appear for the certification exam. This is definitely an option if you do not have your company paying for your 4-day TOGAF 9 training course. This, however, can be a little daunting as well as the TOGAF preparation material can seem very dry and a lot to go through( Specially the guide book).
Once you are done with the course (and even otherwise) its slightly tough to decide where to begin from. Every body prepares differently but my suggestion is as follows :-
- Before you start with the in-depth preparation its important to understand a very high level picture of what TOGAF actually is otherwise it would be easy to get overwhelmed when you are going through the detailed chapters. This could be recalling basics from your own course or may be see this 10- part youtube video few times which I found very useful . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3M4NKwoaLk4
- Next would be to read chapter 1 & 2 from the guide book few times to get overall picture clarity in your mind. Make yourself a picture or keep a printout of a high-level diagram from Chapter 1 and when later on you read each chapter remind yourself which area in the overall picture is this chapter related to.
- Now at this time when you are ready to take a deep-dive , keep handy a printout for the chapter 7 for the official conformance requirements guide ( link below ). Read 7.1 to understand the format of entries later and then 7.2 section goes in great detail whether a section in a chapter in official TOGAF Guide book( G091) is covered in Level 1 ( closed book simple multiple choice test ) or Level 2 ( Open Book complex scenario questions ). This detailed information is available for all the 52 chapters in the official guide book. Keep referring to this 7.2 chapter in conformance requirement whilst going through the study guide. This way you can easily eliminate what's definitely not covered in the exam.
For the sections from each chapters which are covered in Level 1 you need to remember the information( bullet points etc) as it will be covered in the closed-book multiple choice exam
For the sections from each chapters which are covered in Level 2 you should just be fully aware of the information in the topic and not necessarily remember the tables, Diagrams, bullet points etc as this information will be included in a scenario based open book exam. Open book means you get an electronic copy of the TOGAF Specifications guide book (G091). However, i thought that the electronic pdf provided was very poor quality and can be really a pain to search in during the exam. So for the purpose of open book exam it would be useful to be really aware which information roughly resides in which section of the Guide book.a
The Sections which are not covered in Level 1 and Level 2 can be easily left alone for the purpose of the certification examination.
Another very helpful source to keep handy for revision is the pocket guide. In fact everything that will be asked in Level 1 is roughly covered or mentioned in the pocket guide so it's a decent source of Level 1 test preparation if you are short on time. If you want to buy the Pocket guide https://www2.opengroup.org/ogsys/jsp/publications/PublicationDetails.jsp?publicationid=12445
Booking for the Exam
You could book for the exam using the following prometric site.
On the exam Day
On the exam day , needless to say you need to be there before time. You MUST Have two forms of identification with the exact name with which you booked the exam. One of them must be a photo identification. Only after verifications of these 2 Ids would you be allowed to sit the exam. I carried my UK DL + Residence Card.
After the sign-in process you will have to keep everything in a locker( if the center has lockers) as you won't be allowed to take anything inside the examination hall.
Once you are on the seat , you can take a small mock test for 10-15 minutes to familiarise yourself to the system. The first part of the exam will be the closed-book simple multiple choice as mentioned earlier and you will have 60 minutes for the test. When you think you have answered all the questions as you wanted to you can finish the 1st Part but I suggest that you can take the full 60 minutes available to you so that you can get some rest before part 2. AS soon as you finish part 1 , part 2 will start automatically so you wont have time to relax.
In Part 2, as I mentioned before, you get a soft copy of guide book and you have 8 complex scenario questions . You will get 90 minutes to answer these 8 questions. You could also search ( although it wont be easy) the guide book in search of answers once you have read the question and the provided choices. I made the mistake of spending too long on the first question and was almost short on time to attempt all questions properly. So its important to manage the time that you have.
Each question will have few paragraphs to explain the scenario for a company and then explain what needs to be achieved. Then the answer is on the lines of "you are a lead Architect ...... what do you recommended to do from the available options...." You need to choose the most correct answer. Even the answers can be quite long and a little complex to read so again time management is important . I would recommend to first attend all the questions you are confident on and then come back to the ones you weren't sure about.
When you finish part 2 , immediately your result will be shown on the screen. If you passed, CONGRATULATIONS you are now TOGAF 9 Certified.
You need to make you way back to the reception and they will give you a prinout of the result. The result will then be passed to Open Group as well and you should receive an email within few weeks to complete your registration and then your name would be registered in the list of TOGAF Certified Directory which you can also see online @ http://www.opengroup.org/togaf9/cert/cert_archlist-short.tpl#togaf9
After the Success..
Congrats you are TOGAF 9 certified now. To be honest merely getting the certification doesn't necessarily make one an expert to do an Enterprise Architect role unless its backed by a fair amount of relevant work experience as well as an Architect.
I personally feel for those of us who are not already in Architect positions the experience will happen overtime with the right effort and a bit of luck. In the mean time the best way to learn further is to try to put in practice the various things and techniques you learnt in TOGAF in your current job profile until you get your break to work as an Architect. Once you are working as an Architect it would be a good to start putting the relevant bits from TOGAF into practice more and more and gain good experience and expertise for future senior roles.