Today I took the exam for my ISTQB Advanced Level – Testmanager certification. I finished the wearisome online training course weeks ago, and because I felt I needed more preparation than that, I went through the official ISTQB syllabi again to fresh up my memory. But even with those I was absolutely unsure whether I would pass the exam when my mouse cursor hovered over the final Submit button. Well, I did, thankfully. Many of the other participants weren’t as lucky – judging from what the trainer said, quite a large percentage even. That at least made me feel better about my score.
The questions were pretty tough, and some of those who failed the exam might get lucky as the German Testing Board wants to review some of them. Not all use a consistent glossary or have absolutely unambiguous answers. I also wondered how they will deal with newer versions of the advanced syllabus, when the exams also contain questions from the foundation syllabus, which has been updated this year. Keeping it fair for people who took their foundation exams in 2007 or earlier, but who soon will have to take the 2010-version of the advanced exam – how will that work? The certification people didn’t know but asked me to email them, so I guess I will.
If anything I took three things out of the whole ordeal. One, go to a real class next time. Or at least book an online course with a money-back guarantee. Two, when the trainer tells you it would be wise to go to the restroom once more before the exam starts, do it. You are not allowed to leave the room until the three hours are up or you turn in your paper. D’oh. And three, test management is (still?) a domain dominated by men. Of the 10 (12?) participants, all of them were male. Why is that? IT has always been a male-focused business, but it has changed a bit lately and testing in particular is a field of work which could benefit greatly from more diversity – if you asked me.