I’ve recently passed my TOGAF9.1 Certified exam and wanted to share my experience of preparing for the Foundation and Certified exams.
TOGAF (The Open Group Architecture Framework) is a Framework for Enterprise Architecture. To become TOGAF Certified, you need to pass two exams, Foundation and Certified.
- Foundation is simpler, 40 multiple-choice questions; requires 55% to pass.
- Certified is much more difficult with only eight questions, but they require the review of a case study and it’s open book. 60% is enough to pass the Certified exam.
- You must pass both, in sequence.
- You can do both on the same day
- You can test at Prometric Exam Centres
- They’re around £200 each so it’s worth studying to ensure you pass.
How TOGAF can benefit you
Getting certified just for the sake of it (or to boost your salary) is pretty pointless. I found that TOGAF helped my day-to-day engagement with Enterprise Architects and it’s allowed me to add value for clients by bringing TOGAF concepts or techniques to bear. It can greatly expand your toolbox and act as a great source of reference material.
A few specific examples:
- I was able to use the Architecture Review process and check-list approach to create a review standard where none previously existed for one client
- I used the Risk Management framework to catalogue and prioritize architecture risks
I bought the full study guide from the Open Group website. It cost around $60usd and for you money you get Foundation and Certified study guides.
You will also want to familiarize yourself with the full online TOGAF reference. It’s dry stuff to begin with, but I’ve found that as I become more familiar with it, it has become incredibly useful. You can buy this, but I don’t see why you would.
Foundation is rote memorization so I used a number of techniques to aid memorization.
- Created vocabulary lists on Quizlet
- Created practice questions in this downloadable excel (can be very useful unless you setup your own Moodle server, else a bit difficult to use)
- Used Flashcard software (Repetitions for iPhone) to bang lists and concepts into my head. You can download my flashcards but you’ll need repetitions of Mnemosyne to use them.
All three were useful and I’m not sure I would have passed without doing them. I found that I could not stare at the study guide and absorb the content, so using active tools helped hammer the content home.
For certified, I did the various practice questions (study pack and the few ones on the Internet).
I definitely studied far more than I needed to pass the exams, but I didn’t do TOGAF just for the certification. If you just want to pass, you can probably get away without the Flashcard stuff.
If you get the self-study guide, the exams are pretty much identical in nature to the included practice tests. I won’t / can’t talk about the questions themselves. If you can pass the practice test for foundation comfortably, you’ll probably be fine for the actual exam.
For Certified, I found myself wanting more practice questions but there aren’t many (legit ones anyways). What I did was create a process for answering questions and followed this rigorously.
The question format of questions in the study guide is pretty much:
- Problem / Concern
- Question: What is the best approach to X according to TOGAF? (or similar)
- Write down the requirements that must be satisfied (usually more than one)
- Write down what TOGAF says about X (usually between 5-10 things)
- Write down the 4-5 suggestions aligned to each answer A,B,C,D
- Match to see which of A,B,C,D best meets the concerns AND is aligned to TOGAF
I passed comfortably. If you’ve read the study guide and understand the concepts, this approach is pretty fail safe.
Exams are done at Prometric test centres. The Certified exam is open book and so includes a PDF reader inside the exam. The reader is not as good as Adobe PDF, but it’s good enough.
You can find links to sample exam questions below