Your ITIL Foundation Certification Questions Answered

Everything you ever wanted to know about ITIL Foundation training and certification – answered! 

In my day to day work as an ITIL tutor, I see many of the same questions being asked over and over again in forums and discussion groups relating to the ITIL Foundation. In this article, I’ve answered questions about fees, certifications, exam types and more.

If there’s a question missing that you’d like me to add, please comment or contact me via the ITSM Zone site.

I hope you find it useful..

Claire Agutter

What is the ITIL Foundation?

ITIL Foundation is the entry level qualification in the ITIL certification scheme. ITIL is a globally adopted set of best practices for IT service management, and ITIL Foundation certification is seen as valuable by recruiters and companies around the world. Achieving ITIL Foundation certification means that you have an understanding of what ITIL is, where it has come from, key terms and processes, and how it can be used to help an organisation.

Many companies in the public and private sector use ITIL processes to run their IT departments, so they look for ITIL certified staff who can fit in with their existing teams. In 2014 alone, 303,497 people around the world took ITIL exams to help them progress in their careers.  Around the world, more than a million people hold ITIL certifications.

There are two versions of the ITIL Foundation certificate live in 2021:

  • ITIL v3 (2011 edition) Foundation Certificate
  • ITIL 4 Foundation Certificate (released February 11th 2019)

ITIL 4 is the most recent version of ITIL. However, some delegates may still wish to take the ITIL v3 certificate because their job requires it, or because they intend to become an ITIL v3 Expert and take the bridging course to become and ITIL 4 Managing Professional. You can read more about the ITIL 4 certification scheme in our blog.

Update: the ITIL v3 Foundation will be withdrawn on July 1st 2021 – read more in this blog

Who is ITIL Foundation certification for?ITIL4

The ITIL Foundation certificate is suitable for anyone working in (or wanting to work in) IT service management. You don’t need any prior experience to take the course.

Examples of ITIL candidates include:

  • School leavers wanting to work in IT
  • People wanting to move into IT from another career
  • Technical IT staff who want to move into a more service-oriented role
  • IT staff who use ITIL, but want a certification to validate their knowledge
  • IT staff who are looking for a new role

What is the current/latest version of ITIL?

ITIL has evolved as the IT industry has evolved. Version 3 of ITIL was released in 2007, and then updated again in 2011.

ITIL 4, the latest version, dates from February 2019. The ITIL v3 and ITIL 4 training schemes currently run in parallel, but ITIL v3 will be withdrawn through 2021/2022.

Who owns ITIL? Who are the key organizations?

ITIL was originally developed and owned by the UK government’s Cabinet Office. In 2014, a new company called AXELOS purchased the ITIL intellectual property and now owns ITIL, alongside other best practices like PRINCE2 and RESILIA. AXELOS is a joint venture between the Cabinet Office and Capita.

Who else is involved?

AXELOS owns and governs the ITIL certification scheme. It publishes the syllabus and creates exam questions. AXELOS doesn’t sell exams. Instead, it accredits an Examination Institutes (EI) that sell exams on its behalf. The AXELOS EI is Peoplecert.

Peoplecert is responsible for accrediting and managing Accredited Training Organisations (ATOs). For each ATO, Peoplecert will check their management processes and course materials meet the minimum requirements.

ATOs pay fees to use the ITIL intellectual property and should display their accreditation status on their website or marketing material. Unaccredited training organizations selling training are known as ‘grey’ training providers. From a customer’s perspective, you have no guarantee that the material they are using is correct or meets the syllabus requirements. It always wise to buy from an accredited training provider like ITSM Zone. For higher level ITIL certifications, you must attend accredited training in order to take an exam.

How can I prepare for the ITIL Foundation exam?

There are a number of different ways to prepare for your ITIL Foundation exam. The one you choose will depend on your budget, your requirements and your experience. It’s not mandatory to take a course before you take your ITIL Foundation exam.

Study methods include:

Using free material from the internet: there is a lot of free material around, but a lot of it is out of date and inaccurate, so be careful. Download the ITIL Foundation syllabus and free sample exam from the AXELOS website to make sure you’re on track. Be particularly careful about whether you are preparing for the ITIL v3 or ITIL 4 exam.

Using a book: there are a number of different books available to help you pass the ITIL Foundation exam. Make sure they are official licensed products to be sure you are getting correct information. Licensed books include:

Taking a training course: you can train online, in a virtual classroom or face to face in a classroom. Choose your training provider carefully and make sure they are accredited. If you’re studying in a classroom, check that your trainer has experience and knowledge to bring the material to life. If you’re studying online, ask for demo access to the course and find out what support is available for you. For example, ITSM Zone offers 24×7 technical and tutor support to all of our students – as standard.

The ITIL Foundation exam pass rate is approximately 95% across the world. If you’re prepared, the exam should be fairly simple. Use sample exams to gauge your readiness – you can download one for free from the AXELOS website or get them from your accredited training provider. 

How difficult is the ITIL Foundation exam? 

Honestly – as long as you are prepared, it’s not that hard! The exam tests whether you have understood and can recall the new terms, principles and concepts you’ve studied, but it’s not been created to catch you out. This video has some awesome tips from ITIL authors and trainers.

Where/how can I take an exam?

ITIL exams are available online via Peoplecert (using a remote proctor) and via training providers. You may write your exam online, or on paper in a classroom. You can take an ITIL exam in any country in the world.

Who can sell me an exam?

You can purchase exams from an accredited training organisation, from an examination institute, or from a test centre. Some organizations (ITSM Zone included) are accredited exam organizations as well as training organizations. This means we can sell you the exam without you buying a training course from us.

How much does the exam cost?

The exam cost will vary depending on where and how you take it. The cost may be paid separately or bundled into your course. Your training organisation or Peoplecert will be able to give you an up to date price. Prices vary by geographical region.

ITSM Zone offers the ITIL 4 Foundation price for just $249 – view our pricing and package options here.

Do I get a paper certificate?

Paper certificates are available, but you may be charged an extra fee for them. If you want a paper certificate in addition to an electronic certificate, check with the organization that is supplying your exam.

What exam code do I need?

I often see people in forums asking questions about the exam code they need (for example, “do I need the EX0-001/EX0-101/PC001 exam?”). If you’re not sure, the best option is to contact Peoplecert directly.

What happens if I fail the exam?

Remember, the pass rate for the ITIL Foundation is about 95%  so don’t worry too much!  If you are unlucky enough to fail, you can retake the exam as many times as you need to. The fees are normally the same price as your original exam fee.

You can retake the exams as many times as you need to, and you retake as soon as you are ready – there is no waiting period. A top tip for multiple choice exams is to leave your answers alone at the end of the exam.  Many delegates make last minute changes, then wish they hadn’t…

My results didn’t arrive!

If you take an online exam, you will see your provisional result immediately. This will then be verified before being confirmed. You will then be issued with your e-certificate and, where applicable, paper certificate. If you take a paper exam, your results may take a little longer to be processed. If your results don’t arrive and you took your exam with a training company, you should contact them first. If you took the exam directly via Peoplecert, you should contact their customer service team for support.

How do I prove I passed the exam?

If someone asks you to confirm that you have passed the exam, you can:

  • Show them your e-certificate or paper certificate
  • If you’ve lost your certificate, contact Peoplecert to ask them to verify your result or reissue your certificate
  • Direct the person asking to the successful candidate register – please note this can take a few weeks to be updated after an exam


How long is my certification valid for?

The ITIL Foundation certificate doesn’t expire. ITIL V3 Foundation Certificates remain valid even though ITIL 4 now exists.

What certification should I take after the ITIL Foundation?

After the ITIL Foundation certificate, you can take higher level ITIL certifications or expand your knowledge into other areas of IT service management and project management.

The Course Guides at ITSM Zone offer more information on topics including VeriSM, OBASHI, DevOps, RESILIA, ISO20000, Business Relationship Management and COBIT.

Looking for more information about ITIL4? Check out our ITIL4 article for more information about the latest release of ITIL.

Read more about the exclusive ITIL 4 Managing Professional Program from ITSM Zone here. This includes all the courses and exams you need to achieve Managing Professional status. 

Fully Accredited ITIL4 Certification

26 Easy to Absorb Lessons Covering ITIL Terminology, Concepts, Practices and Value

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