2013-03-17

TOGAF 9 certification preparation advices & exam tips

I have passed TOGAF 9 level 1 foundation, and level 2 certification on Mar-2013 and would like to share the experience with everyone. The following is the recommended steps from my prospective to prepare and pass the exam:

1- Watch tutorial video
You need to know what is Enterprise Architect? What is TOGAF? Overview of the framework so you can decide if you will benefit from this certification. A good introduction is offered here.

2- Get a quick look to TOGAF 9.1 specs
The specification is shared online here, please have a look at the content; no need to get into deep details in this stage. 

3- Attend TOGAF course
TOGAF doesn't necessitate that you get a course to attend the exam, but I think you will benefit from the course very much for the following reasons:
    a- Course takes 5 days, you will find the first two days, you just need to switch your mind to think the TOGAF way, even if you have previous architecture experience. Having someone answering your question will be of great help.
    b- Course offers TOGAF slides, exam material, template that you will really benefit from.
    c- You will benefit from instructor if he has past experience in implementing TOGAF.
    d- Most people attending such course have considerable long experience in IT in general, seeking excellence in their work, you will really enjoy the talk and you will benefit from expanding your professional network as well.
TOGAF has accredited course calendar listed here. I prefer if you select 5 days course for level 1 & 2 as course is already long and 4 days won't be sufficient.

4- Stick to a study schedule
I have prepared a study schedule using Microsoft Project 2010 shared here (For Microsoft Project 2007 shared here). It has specific study calendar “TOGAF Study Calendar” of 4hrs/day, 5 days/week. I encourage using it and modifying the project calendar to suite your availability. This link provides a detailed explanation of how to change the calendar in Microsoft Project 2010. I think 2 weeks after the course will be enough to take level 1 exam.

5- Solving exam questions
You need to solve exam questions before showing for the exam. If you attended a course, usually you will get exam material for your preparation. Others are available as below:
•    The Open Arch.
•    Technology trend analysis practice test.
•    TOGAF free quiz.
•    TOGAF 9 class.
The above are just samples, you can search and find lots more.

6- Exam level 1 foundation advices

a- ESL: You can have extended time for the exam by selecting English as Second Language (ESL).

b- After tutorial and before starting the exam: Draw ADM, as you will get questions asking you with phase letter.

c- Method of elimination is best used for exam, for tough questions, pick any answer from what you think are probably correct before marking the question for review; i.e. never leave a question without an answer.

d- Level 1 is not covering all topics, it is highlighted in study schedule with yellow color, and also indicated as (Level 1).


7- Exam level 2 certified advices (Specs open book)

a- ESL: You can have extended time for the exam by selecting English as Second Language (ESL).

b- A MUST topics for exam (ADM processes & guidelines & techniques - Transition planning techniques - Architecture Capability Framework - Iteration to ADM - Example set of architecture principals specs section 23.6 - Architectural artifacts ch 35).

c- I recommend reading the scenario twice to determine (State of EA office, Management direction, stakeholders concerns, current phase you are dealing with).

d- When you know the phase you are in, you can check the process guidelines, approach, or steps to guide your answer.

e- In answering questions that you should address concerns, or select best architecture artifacts for stakeholders, I recommend using below table as follows:
    i- While reading the statement of the question, write the concerns from multiple stakeholders in the columns.
    ii- Write multiple options in rows.
    iii- For each option, check if it satisfies the concern raised or not and add a mark X or √.
    iv- Select choice that best suites the question & have √ on all columns.

Concern / stakeholder 1 Concern / stakeholder 2 Concern / stakeholder 3 Concern / stakeholder 4
Option A X X
Option B
Option C X
Option D X X X X

I hope this will help someone there.