Have you been dreaming of having CBAP next to your name from some time now? Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) certification is the most sought-after for business analysts to excel in the corporate world.
CBAP is a certification for senior business analysts and gives proven results in terms of salary benefits, career growth and opening up new opportunities in the global markets.
Though work experience is one of the requirements of CBAP as a prerequisite, the CBAP certification examination needs a good amount of practical knowledge of the business analysis concepts and the ability to relate the knowledge to a practical scenario/case.
Preparing for the CBAP certification exam can be a daunting task but following our recommended approach and tips shared by our expert faculties will give you sure shot success.
Here is a simple infographic on the CBAP certification approach:
Commitment to the certification goal.
If you are committed to the CBAP certification goal and ready to put in about 200 hours of effort towards the same then this is an achievable target. A practical approach will be to take up a target date between 10 to 12 weeks’ timeframe and work backward. Set up a plan towards the target, please take into account your family and work commitments while chalking out the plan.
Learn from the masters.
Consider the value of your time and the consequences of not being successful in the certification while choosing your training partner. The class should give you clarity of concepts related to BABoK in such a way that it not only makes the CBAP certification exam easier for you but also makes you a better BA in your day job also. Hence choosing the right trainer or mentor is very important for this task. You need someone:
- Who understands BABoK really well
- Can relate the concepts to real-life examples
- Can break the knowledge area into smaller tasks
- Give you examples from real life
- Create a mind map for you among the tasks and techniques recommended by BABoK
- Apply the tasks and techniques to a real-life case and make it crystal clear to you
Do not start with BABoK.
BABoK is the mandated book and curriculum for CBAP certification, however making one comfortable with BABoK can be quite a steep target given the content, subject, and complexity of the subject. Pick up a CBAP study guide which explains BABoK in a simplified manner. The study guide should break the jargons and terms to simpler words, capture the concepts in a logical manner and at the same time should be concise. Start your preparation with the study guide, understand the concept well and then move to BABoK for preparation. Starting with BABoK may get little challenging.
CBAP Application Filing, Get it off your back.
Then comes the task of the CBAP application filing, this can get a bit confusing since one needs to gather experience across the knowledge areas over the last 10 years. Pick up a CBAP application filing template that simulates the IIBA application filing format and helps you gather the experience throughout the Knowledge areas and guides you with the expectations of IIBA.
Here is a detailed video on how to fill the CBAP application form
Learn to correlate tasks and techniques.
Understanding of core concepts is very vital for clearing the CBAP certification examination since the questions are case and scenario-based which requires a deep understanding of the concepts. Hence please make sure you study tasks in connection with their techniques. Prioritize this as you prepare for CBAP. You need to understand the techniques, identify the best appropriate technique for particular situations and tasks at hand. Knowledge of technique description, advantages, and disadvantages will also help here. Just understand the techniques well and ensure that you are able to recall their key areas of application. Understand the tasks and how information flows through the tasks, that is, inputs and outputs. Be able to identify the name of a task given its description and also be able to tell what follows that task.
Practice a sufficient number of exam questions.
No amount of studying and practice is enough unless you test your knowledge. Study each chapter thoroughly and take the chapter-based test of concepts and then gradually move to case-based questions on the chapter. Each time you make a mistake go back to concepts, read it again and verify with the answer and try to relate to the concept. Take a CBAP question bank which gives you real exam pattern questions and simulators. The more questions you solve, the better prepared you are for the real CBAP exam. Once you are comfortable with the chapter-based questions then move to simulators. The simulators give you real exam experience with 120 questions (mix of case and scenario-based) to be solved in 3 hours. Monitor your performance in the simulators, go back to all those questions where you were wrong and then move to the next simulator, take up simulators till you score around 85% consistently.
Utilize your travel time to study BABoK.
All of us spend a significant amount of time traveling to and from work. Utilize this time to brush up your knowledge by listening to CBAP audiobook that helps in refreshing the memory and concepts. This helps in memorizing the terms and tasks as well as input, output etc.
Choose the right date to take the exam.
No amount of study will be enough if you don’t set a deadline and work backward. Set up the exam date preferably after a weekend or if not then on Sunday. Don’t go for the exam after a week of work, that doesn’t let your brain relax. One needs to stay cool and have good rest before the exam since the exam is quite exhaustive. Once you have set up the exam dates then do at least 2 times revision of the study guide and the question bank. Brush through your notes and tips.
Stay composed during exam and time management.
- Visit the exam center once before the exam
- Take something to eat and drink
- Reach the exam half an hour early
- Carry one government-approved id card
- Relax and read the instructions carefully
- Target to clear 40 questions per hour. This will give you about 30 minutes to handle those that you may have marked for review. Pay close attention to the number of questions answered and remaining, and the countdown of time remaining.
- Don’t spend more than 2 minutes on one question
- Never leave a question unanswered. Select the best answer and mark it for review and revisit it at the end.
- Make use of the highlight and strike-through features of the exam software.
- Attempt the calculation-based questions first, there is on-screen calculator available, make use of that.
- Case-based questions take the maximum amount of time, glance through the case on the first read and move to the questions and then come back to the case since there is a lot of extra information which is not needed to answer the questions. Try to make use of the highlight feature. It will help you in long cases when you highlight the important parts of the case
- Take a break if you feel your mind is tired and blank in the exam
- In CBAP Training, understanding the situation and question are very important. Read the question slowly and twice if required to understand correctly.
- In case of confusion read the question again, there is a good knowledge of English needed to understand the question
- Be extra careful with the use of words like "Always", "Never"
Stay focused on your goal.
At the end of all this, the most important point is to stay focused all throughout the journey. Keep a target for yourself and work towards it, make some progress every day. Keep some time marked for prep every day and make use of the weekends more effectively.
Hopefully by following these steps you are able to achieve your goal of getting CBAP certified in the first attempt.
- Practice enough of CBAP v3 questions (Case-based questions as per BABoK v3 competency-based exam pattern)
- Do not by heart BABoK
- Do not expect direct questions from BABoK
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