22nd May 2017

TOGAF Exams!


I get really nervous taking exams.  I never feel prepared enough to sit the exam and unless I have a hard deadline I will always procrastinate and avoid revising. That was part of my strategy for booking TOGAF with just two weeks of revision time.  Nothing seems to focus my mind more than a tight dealing and a bit of pressure.

So drum roll please….

I passed 🙂

In the end it wasn’t even close, despite my reservations.  The passing mark for the part one exam was 55% I scored 87% and the passing mark for part two was 60% and I scored 90%.

Revision resources

The best of the revision resources with little doubt for me was TOGAF 9 Foundation Exam Study Guide: For busy architects who need to learn TOGAF 9 quickly.

As a resource it was fantastic.  The best part of it was the ease of the text in comparison to the TOGAF Version 9.1 official text.  The format groups chapters and learning topics by sections of the framework and provides additional examination questions at the end of each chapter.

Practice exams via  these tests where good at the start of my revision learning.  however the question set is limited and you need to use the resource correctly.  By that I mean it is no good repeating these exams too frequently, as you may find yourself not learning the content but in fact learning the sequence.  It should be stated that only exam three provides any feedback to your answers and explains the correct answer. The other two at the time of writing give no feedback, which isn’t a problem but it does make it a little harder to maximize value.

QA course notes.  I found the QA course notes of limited value.  What I did refer to extensively were the diagrams and I made use of the 100 bonus questions in the exam study guide.  That where a very close approximation of the question format I encountered, a quality level above

Exam technique

I’m terrible for rushing through content in exams and with the wordy nature of the framework I cannot emphasize enough the importance of reading the question properly! To help me accomplish this when I arrived at the examination center I asked if there was a booth or a partitioned desk available so that I might quietly read the questions aloud.  Reading the question aloud helped me to hear any meaning that I might have skipped over in my haste.

Booth secured the very first thing I did upon starting the exam was to draw three things.

The ADM Cycle for reference;

A simplified version of the TOGAF Capability Framework;

My version of this basically drew, named and numbered the coloured parts of the above diagram.

And what I could remember of the Consistent, Compliant and Conformant diagrams, leaving out the top one and bottom two as they are self explanatory;

This took about ten minutes.  I then answered the questions, all 40 of them.  I was prepared to skip some if I got stuck, but that situation didn’t arise for me.  I still had 30 mins to run in the exam by the time I’d finished the first run through.  So I went through once more, marking myself as I went.  This way I was able to spot at least three silly mistakes where I’d skipped a word or missed a trick in the phraseology. Happy that I thought I secured the 22 marks to pass I submitted my paper and moved to section two.

Section two was more intense than I thought possible.  I prepared a bit less for this section, relying on my knowledge from section one and common sense to see me through.  With all of the practice exams that I sat for this exam never did I feel the need to refer to the framework.  However, boy was I pleased it was there today.  In order to gain good marks for this you have to know more detail than you might think.  The scenarios that are set are more complex than I’d encountered in practice exams.  That coupled with the very particular language of TOGAF meant that I felt pressure to really read every question in detail and view all answers from the perspective of the scenarios.

Having drawn and numbered the capability framework, this really helped me to navigate the open book text and maximize my thinking time.  Something I was immensely grateful of.  I know that being able to find the correct sections in the text scored me full marks on at least three questions.

I never felt rushed, and thanks to the revision I put in I felt well prepared for the exam.  However, having now sat it, I can defiantly understand why some people have real issues passing this exam.