Passing your BCS Business Analysis Foundation Exam
Of all the certifications we work with, I personally think the BCS Business Analysis is one of the more difficult exams to pass, not because it is particularly hard, but it is pretty unforgiving if you don’t do your pre work and read all the materials thoroughly.
But with proper preparation and a structured approach you can pass first time, and move onto the advanced Business Analysis subjects.
The sample paper that the BCS supply doesn’t really cover the breadth of the questions you are likely to get, so getting 90% of the questions right during your practice paper doesn’t mean you will get a pass mark in the actual exam, so what approach should you take?
Training Bytesize have trained over 5000 students in Business Analysis Foundation, and so we get to see a pattern of those that pass and those that don’t quite get the pass mark required. Here are our top tips to passing your BCS Business Analysis Foundation Course exam.
So lets confirm that we understand the exam structure:
- One Hour
- Multiple Choice (1 out of 4)
- Pass mark is 26 correct or more.
So that means that if you get 25, you can’t ask for a recount and a fail is a fail. Other common remarks are:
“These questions were not covered in the course” – Yes they were and if you read the book fullyyou will have come across the answer.
“None of these questions were on the sample exams” – True, and the BCS regularly change the format so it is luck of the draw which set you get and how hard they are, but as above every question asked has been covered in the syllabus.
“I got 90% in the exam simulator yet I failed the exam” – That’s because you spent all your time mastering the questions rather than the course, and the BCS change the questions regularly, otherwise it would get too easy!
I did everything I could and still failed” – Sometimes that happens, so ask for a breakdown of your results and put a plan together to see what areas were the weakest and plan to pass next time.
So how do we pass the exam?
Firstly we have the three ‘P’s – Plan, Prepare and Practise.
Set the time to do the course, particularly if you are taking our online course, make sure you allocate around 20 hours to the study, and break that up into workable segments. Ideally in blocks of a couple of hours minimum, so you keep fresh, and focussed on your study plan.
If you are attending classroom training, then prepare thoroughly pre-course, even though it may not be a pre-requisite, it will help you focus on re-enforcing the knowledge you have and hopefully join a lot of the dots, as the trainer brings it all together.
As well as doing the course you should purchase a copy of the Business Analysis 3rd Edition Handbook and read it from cover to cover as some questions have quotes directly from the book. We understand that reading the book can be a little tedious, therefore we recommend to read little and often and highlight topics of interest as you go along if it helps!
For our own students we have produced a summary syllabus, scenarios and Question weighting document, as questions only relate to the syllabus, anything not in the syllabus but in the book will not be tested.
Run through our online exam simulator (Over 300 sample questions) or download the free sample paper from the BCS web site with 40 sample questions.
Exams can be tough when you haven’t taken one for a while, but if you have ever studied then the same principles need to be applied to taking the BCS exam. Use the three pass approach, and these times are just guidelines based on our experience:
- Quick pass through and answer all the easy questions first, anything that needs time, skip and come back to. (15minutes)
- Second pass, with questions that require a little more thought, if you get stuck move on. (20 minutes)
- Now the difficult ones, just work through them an if you have no idea then at least guess, anything is better than nothing. (20 minutes)
- Final check, but try not to change anything unless you are really sure it is wrong. Experience shows the first answer is usually the correct one. (5 Minutes)
The exam follows the theory of the manual quite closely, if you are not sure of the answer to a particular question, then eliminate the answers you know are incorrect and guess from the remaining answers.