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How to Pass the CBAP Exam Using BABOK and an Exam Simulator

In a short period between contracts this year I decided to take the IIBA exam to become a Certified Business Analyst Professional.

I am a freelance business analyst and process consultant which means I pay for my own courses. Since a period of classroom-based tutorials would leave me unavailable for fee paying work, I started looking for online training that I could use on demand. I gave myself just over a month to study for, and pass the exam.

The courses I found typically cost in excess of £1500 ($2000) and I questioned how much value I would get from them, bearing in mind my existing business analysis experience and knowledge. All I wanted was to identify knowledge gaps and weaknesses so that I could focus BABOK study in these areas. I decided my best option was to prepare for the exam by combining self study of the BABOK with regular testing using an online exam simulator which provided instant score feedback and knowledgeable customer support.

Study Techniques

I used mind maps, mnemonics and diagrams to help memorise BABOK content. A quick google search will bring up plenty of information on study techniques and I won’t repeat them in this article. However, I give some examples of effective study strategies in my blog at (details at the end of this article) and I will write a further article on BABOK study tips soon.

Exam Simulators

It is important to recognise that knowledge of the BABOK and extensive experience as a business analyst is not enough to guarantee passing the exam. Success demands an understanding of how the questions are usually framed together with practice at selecting the right option from four possible responses, two of which will be very similar. Some question wording is complex and it is helpful to have similarly demanding practice questions to develop your skills in answering them. quiz

The exam is still quite new, the online version launched just two years ago, and the question set used for the actual CBAP exam is strictly protected; hence past exam papers are not available. Although there are some sample questions on the web, most of these are poor quality and are not worth searching for. Creating good practice exam questions is not easy and the suppliers of CBAP exam simulators guard their question sets as valuable pieces of intellectual property. Therefore, the only way to truly prepare for the exam is by buying an exam simulator.

Your choice of exam simulator will strongly influence chances of success. I tried several and soon got test scores of around 90%, suggesting an easy CBAP pass, but raising suspicions in my mind about how closely these questions sets were modelled on the real thing. Unwilling to waste money on options that left me lacking in confidence about my chance of first time success, I discarded them and finally found one that fitted my requirements. Using this simulator, my test scores initially started at around 60%. However I was now satisfied that my knowledge and exam technique were being tested effectively. I felt I was being presented with questions and answer options that accurately reflected the ones I would meet in the actual exam.



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