Best ISTQB Foundation Test Analyst Study Book

Back in 2006 I studied for the ISTQB Foundation Level testing certificate. Fortunately the company I was working for at that time paid for my course, which included some instructor led training. This training included ISTQB mock exam questions that helped me prepare.

Back then it would of been good to read a few books to help me prepare. There are now quite a few good books available on this topic, which I will review for you today. 

Quick Comparison of ISTQB Study Books


Nowadays, we live in a world where everyone has a tight schedule and we have forgotten to dedicate some time for personal growth, whether you are a working professional or seeking a testing apprenticeship. Just like a healthy balanced diet and exercise are important to our bodies, reading and acquiring knowledge is crucial to our profession.

Therefore, find some time and improve your skills; it will take you to the next level. Don't say you don't have time. Everyone has 24 hours; the difference is how we manage it.

What is the ISTQB Foundation Certification?

ISTQB stands for the International Software Testing Qualification Board.  It is an international software testing organisation with local exam providers.

Each local testing examiner is licensed to issue exams both locally and internationally. A candidate who passes the exam receives an ISTQB certified tester certificate.

ISTQB is found in seventy nations but the names of each Member Board changes from one country to another. For instance, the member board in the United States is known as the American Software Testing Qualification Board (ASTQB) while in India it is Indian Testing Board (ITB). Nevertheless, the exam syllabus, pattern, questions among other details are the same.


Why I Chose ISTQB Certification over other Software Testing Certifications?

Here are some benefits of the ISTQB testing certification:

  • It is an online certification and can be done by anyone
  • It is widely accepted and one of the world's fast-growing software test certifications
  • It improves one's creativity in tackling daily tasks to enhance your testing process
  • You become more marketable; this is because you can demonstrate good mastery of practices and concept in software testing. This sets you apart from others hence increasing the opportunities for better employment or even promotion
  • This certification does not expire like CSTP certification which is valid for only 3 years.
  • It is available online; this means one does not have to take a QA course or attend another software testing training so that they can get the certification. You can also take the exam when in college or in between jobs
  • The exam is easy to follow, intuitive and practical. The questions are in multiple choices
  • There is no experience or requirement needed to sit for the Foundation Level exam

How is the ISTQB Structured?

ISTQB is classified into three levels, as follows:

  1. Foundation level certification
  2. Advance level certification
  3. Expert certification

Note: our interest here is foundation level certification

What Is the Foundation level certification?

It is an entry-level certification and it is designed for individuals who wish to move up the ladder of software testing certification. The main goal of this certification is to ensure you understand key software testing concepts and practices.

Its syllabus covers 6 major topics namely: static techniques such as reviews, black box and white box, test management and testing tools, testing fundamentals, software testing lifecycle.

How to enrol for ISTQB Foundation Certification exam

This is how to enrol for the ISTQB Foundation Certification exam. You will agree with me it is an intuitive, simple and short procedure:

  • Visit ISTQB official website and click the 'Enrolment'' tab
  • Choose Foundation exam level
  • This will lead you to the Login page. You can either sign in or sign up. If you are registering for the first time, click the "New Registration" link. You will be required to provide basic information such as your name, postal address, and permanent address
  • After you are done with registration, you will receive an email with details about your username, password, and registration number
  • Then pay using demand drafts (DD). To know where to send the DD hit the ''Contact Us'' link. Also, make sure you keep a photocopy of the DD for future reference
  • Then you will be given information about the examination dates after one week.

How to Prepare for ISTQB Foundation Certification exam: Tips

  1. The first thing is get the latest syllabus on the ISTQB website and read it. Make sure you take the information written in this material as it is. Most of us have experience in software testing and have learnt where specific terminologies are used
  2. Attempt mock exams from sample papers. Do as many tests as possible and be keen on frequently used definitions and terms
    Also, try to see the number of correct answers you have given in the mock tests. You have to get at least 26 questions correct out of 40 question in order to pass the exam.
  3. Prepare in groups: Below is a video on ISTQB exam preparation.
    The purpose of the video is to help viewers understand what it takes to pass an ISTQB Foundation exam. It has 6 sections; there are questions at the end each section. These questions are similar to those found in an actual exam.

    The Certified software tester tells about his experience. According to him, the ISTQB certification has helped him move up the ladder in his career. It also gives both you and your employee confidence.
    There are no minimum requirements to become a tester. As long as you are open-minded and have good communication skills, and the ability to read and write well you are good to go. 


My Best ISTQB Foundation Test Analyst Book Choices:

01.Foundation of Software Testing ISTQB Certification


Foundation of Software Testing ISTQB Certification is a good guide to software testing and qualification. This is because covers the fundamental principles as well as syllabus in depth. It also comes with many learning aids.

Pros 

  • It is very easy to read and it supports ISTQB Foundation Syllabus 2011 which is the backbone of CTFL,
  • This book is completely updated (now in the 3rd edition) and includes all the 2011 syllabus changes like the learning objectives
  • The book is well structured; divided into 7 seven chapters. The first 6 chapters cover a chapter each and have sample exam questions. The seventh chapter, on the other hand, offers general advice on how to go about the exam and comes with a 40-question mock paper (just like the real exam)
  • This text is also an important reference book for anyone studying general software testing
  • Comes with other pedagogical features such as a new and updated glossary, several worked examples, pointers and references that are crucial for further reading
    Cons
  • The only problem I have with this book is the definition of terms. For instance, the term functionality testing is defined as the testing process that determines software functionality. I remember back in the day in Grade 2 being taught you cannot define a term with the same word.

2.An ISTQB-BCS certified Foundation Guide, Third Edition


The Software Testing: An ISTQB-BCS Certified Tester Foundation guide is another ISTQB foundation test analyst study book with basic steps of software testing. It also explains how to do tests effectively. This is because offers an overview of several dynamic and static techniques.

Pros 

  • It is the first official ISTQB-BSC certified tester foundation level textbook that comes with guidance notes, self-assessment exercises and sample exam questions
  • The 3rd edition has exercise and examples that reflect the latest technology and applications like open source software, mobile devices application building, and component-based as well as agile development
  • It is ideal for individuals with little software testing knowledge and testing
  • Its authors (Angelina Samaroo and Geoff Thompson) are BSC exam setters and markets who are very knowledgeable about ISTQB syllabus. The editor, Brain Hambling also has a 30-year software development experience where he has been a developer, project manager, and quality manager
  • All chapters are well written and have a test at the end that checks whether you have understood what you have been reading
  • Its final mock (which is found at the end of the book) is useful because it helps you know whether you are ready for the real exam or not.

Cons 

  • One thing that caught me by surprise is the fact that the book has not included learning objectives in all exam questions in the book as per the real exam. I understand there are learning objectives at the beginning of each chapter but it does not include the real learning objective number. This makes verifying whether all the objectives are covered difficult.

03. Software Testing Foundation, 4th Edition by Andreas Spiller, Hans Schaefer and Tilo Linz

Approximately 300,000 people have done the ISTQB certification examinations. Thanks to contributions of experienced authors like Andreas Spiller, Hans Schaefer, and Tilo Linz with the Software Testing Foundation book

Andreas Spiller is a computer science professor at Hochschule University where he teaches programming, software engineering, and quality assurance. Tito Linz is the founder and chairman of imbus AG, a big player in the software quality assurance industry. While Hans Schaefer is a consultant who has been teaching and consulting software testing techniques since 1984.

This revised edition covers the entry-level and important software testing techniques. It covers topics like fundamentals of testing, test tools, test management, static and dynamic testing techniques, and testing and software lifecycle. 

Pros

  • This book is designed for independent study and is easy to read
  • In the latest and revised edition, technical terms have been stated as per the updated 2015 ISTQB glossary

Cons 

  • Does not have sample test questions
  • Although it has exercises, they don't have corresponding answers

4.Agile Testing Foundations Guide: An ISTQB 

The Agile Testing Foundations: An ISTQB Foundation Level Agile Tester guide is specifically for the Agile extended certification. It is a simple software development approach that is quickly gaining popularity in the information technology industry. It has many benefits such as offering a wider flexibility scope and enhancing the overall product quality. Back to the ISTQB Foundation level syllabus, this book covers Agile basic principles, techniques, and tools crucial in software testing. 

Rex Black, the editor has more than 30 years of software and system engineering experience. He is the former president of ASTQB and ISTQB and a co-author of numerous ISTQB syllabi. 

Pros

  • Ideal for software testers with interest in Agile testing or those taking the ISTQB Foundation level Agile tester examination
  • The concepts in the syllabus are well explained and have good related samples

Cons 

  • Expensive

ISTQB Foundation Exam Sample Question Papers Book by Katie Graner 

The ISTQB Foundation Exam Sample Question Papers by Katie Graner is another important study tool, it has very many challenging questions.

Pros

  • This book comes with tips on how to solve questions based on boundary value and equivalence partitioning analysis. This means by the time you are done completing the sample questions you will be confident enough to take the real exam
  • It has 5 sample question papers with over 200 questions that highlight the exam's difficult parts
  • Highlights easy tips to pass the exam
  • There are regular question updates
  • The book also has additional questions in all chapters as required by the ISTQB syllabus

Cons 

  • I was really disappointed by the fact that there no explanations for answers given in this book. For instance, in question 36 of the sample question paper 1: Which of the following gives the order in which tests should be done? A) Test B) test design specification C) test procedure specification D) test case specification. I choose "A'' but the answer is "C''. I was certain the test procedure specification is the order of actions for performing a test. This is just one of the many questions where the answer given is questionable and does not have an explanation. 

Conclusion 

I have researched many books on software testing and for an entry-level person, I found some too hard to read and with a lot of jargon. This was not until a good friend of mine recommended Foundation of Software Testing. This book covers all software testing areas without using hard language that would make reading hard.

Foundation of Software Testing is a very important book in both software testing and qualification. Currently, in the third edition, the book is completely updated and it includes the latest changes in the ISTQB Foundation syllabus. It also adopts a hand-on and practical approach and covers all important topics that you should know as a software and system tester. 

Its authors are developers of the syllabus. They are also renowned and experienced international authors, teachers, authorities and exam setters and markets in software testing field.

All the best in your exams! 

Talented Tester Support
 

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