Saturday, June 1, 2013

TOGAF 9.1 part 1(Foundation)

I cleared TOGAF 9.1 part 1(Foundation) with a score of 90% yesterday.

Some Background
Around 2-3 weeks of self study with offline webinar sessions from the TOGAF trained instructor. Around 2-3 hours on the daily basis  and around 20 hours during the last  4 days before the exam.
I decided to go with part 1 and part 2 separately even though it is more expensive option.
Part 1 voucher costs $320 in US.

Part 1 is a 40 questions closed book multiple choice test(most of the questions are having 5 choices) for the duration of 1 hour.  Each question has only one right answer though sometimes you have to chose the best option in the right context. One need to score 22 correct answers out of 40 to clear it(passing score is 55%). Part 2 is open book scenarios which I will be taking later.

Now let’s talk about the preparation
The offline webinar sessions were around 7 in number with each almost 2-2.5 hours. The sessions were helpful as in the past I had the TOGAF 9.1 study guides for part 1 and part 2 but every time I will start reading it – I will feel bored. I always used to think that the contents are just too much abstract, theoretical, dry and boring. Till month of March, 2013 – I could never go beyond chapter 4 of the study guide. Somehow I always used to compare it with SCEA5 and other technical books. As one is not doing any real hands on work or applying the knowledge it was feeling quite boredom.
This offline webinars gave some applications of TOGAF. At the same time one of my friends also joined me in the preparation for part 1. Both of us started discussing about TOGAF with real life applications – that way some interest started forming up.
Since 10th of May, 2013 – I started devoting almost 2-3 hours every day while going thru the study guide thoroughly. Depending on the availability I will spend around 4-5 hours on the weekend. Overall I think I spent close to 40-45 hours on the preparation. 
TOGAF part 1 requires a good amount of memorizing capabilities as there are lot of terminologies being mentioned which we might be using in our day to day work without realizing that it maps to that terminology. But one need to relate the concepts and terminologies mentioned in study guide with some real life applications to understand that in the best possible manner.
Essentially TOGAF is all about big picture architecture. It teaches how someone should deal with Enterprise architecture as a whole. The more you relate with your day to day work – better it is.
As getting certified should not be the only motto – what you learnt while preparing for the certification is most important.

What is expected from candidates appearing in TOGAF 9.1 exam:
Individuals certified at Foundation(part 1) level will have demonstrated their understanding of:
• The basic concepts of enterprise architecture and TOGAF
• The core concepts of TOGAF 9
• The key terminology of TOGAF 9
• The ADM cycle and the objectives of each phase, and how to adapt and scope the ADM
• The concept of the Enterprise Continuum; its purpose, and its constituent parts
• How each of the ADM phases contributes to the success of enterprise architecture
• The ADM guidelines and techniques
• How Architecture Governance contributes to the Architecture Development Cycle
• The concepts of views and viewpoints and their role in communicating with stakeholders
• The concept of building blocks
• The key deliverables of the ADM cycle
• The TOGAF reference models
• The TOGAF certification program

Coverage of the exam
The 11 topic areas covered by the examination together with the number of questions per area in the
examination is as follows:
1. Basic Concepts (3 questions)
2. Core Concepts (3 questions)
3. Introduction to the ADM (3 questions)
4. The Enterprise Continuum and Tools (4 questions)
5. ADM Phases (9 questions)
6. ADM Guidelines and Techniques (6 questions)
7. Architecture Governance (4 questions)
8. Architecture Views, Viewpoints, and Stakeholders (2 questions)
9. Building Blocks (2 questions)
10. ADM Deliverables (2 questions)
11. TOGAF Reference Models (2 questions)

Overall strategy for the preparation of the exam
·          Study guide is concise and almost 70-80% questions will come from that only.
·          Patterns of the questions in the real exam is very similar to that of practice tests in the study guide.
·          Don’t just think that there are 13 chapters, essentially TOGAF is all about ADM and ADM phases which covers almost 40% of the syllabus.
·          Make sure that you highlight all the important terminologies and the concepts while going thru the study guide. It’s hardly 150-160 pages you have to go thru.
·          The best strategy could be is to go thru the chapters as per your pace, try out to get at least around 75% in the questions at the end of each chapter. May be going thru 10-15 pages per day or 2-3 chapters per day is a good idea.
·          After completing one iteration of the study guide – attempt the practice tests and the bonus tests that came with the study guide. One should definitely try to achieve around 70% in those mock tests.
·          Practice should give you a very good idea about what you need to read in the study guide and what kind of questions are being asked.
·          Now go thru the study guide second iteration and try some other mock tests on the internet.
·          Last 2-3 days of the exam – only read the highlighted text or the text which is relevant as per the exam.
·          Once you have worked thru around 150-200 questions and went thru this study guide and achieving around 70-75% in the mock tests – you are ready to go.

Some General tips for taking the exam:
·         The questions were extremely similar in difficulty to the 40 question practice test
·         Some of the questions in the real exam are as it is coming from the practice tests.
·         Try to remember objectives of each ADM phase, their inputs and outputs etc..
·         Some of the questions in the practice tests and the real test have some real close options – so one need to know the subject in detail.
·         In fact some of the questions in the real exam just requires you to know the one liner from the study guide or the TOGAF specification. You can have around 6-8 questions like that.
·         Try to make use of process of elimination. Some of the options could be just eliminated easily to arrive at the right answer.
·         Read the question well – some 4-6 questions are tricky – if you just went thru them quickly you might have got it wrong and select a wrong answer.
·         Real exam is all about – either you know it or you don’t know it. Most of the people will be done before 25 minutes.
·         It’s better that some of the questions that you doubt about – better to mark it and provide a comment so that you can review them later. Just don’t stick to the difficult questions – you can mark it and skip it to revisit later.
·         Some of the ADM phases – Preliminary Phase and Architect Vision Phase(also Phase E& F and Phase G & H) has some of the objectives, steps, inputs and outputs some what similar or closer. Some questions around 7-8 will test you on these also. Make sure that you go thru the reference card provided at the end of the study guide during the last 2-3 days.
·         Some of the questions only refer the phases with alphabets like Phase E rather than “Opportunities and Solutions”. In my case I made the mental picture of the ADM phases and draw it on the pad provided at the prometric center during the exam to avoid any confusion.
·         View Vs Viewpoints, Architecture compliance, what goes where in Architecture repository etc…one need to know them really well. Try to relate them to real life examples for better understanding.
·         It’s better that you take the color print outs of the reference cards, some of the important diagrams and paste it in your study room while you are preparing for the exam.
·         Try to remember the basic definitions in TOGAF specification. Around 3-4 questions are based on that only.
·         It’s better to spend entire one hour in the prometric exam to review the questions that you have already done it. I spend last 15 minutes reviewing all my questions and corrected around 2 questions at the last minute.
·         In the real exam I was sure that around 29 questions I have done they are correct. Around 4 questions I knew most probably the option I have selected is the best choice. Around 7 questions I was not very sure about and I need to do some intelligent guess work.
·         Before the last 4 days of the real exam – I was scoring almost 85-100% in the practice tests and thus I was very confident before the real exam.
·         There are not significant differences between 9.1 and 9.0
·         Last but not the least try to appear in the exam as soon as possible the moment you think that you are prepared. Good amount of memorizing is required for part 1 – you might forget if you schedule your exam later.

Official study Guide
$60 from open group.
This is a must have and the practice tests questions are very similar to real exam. In fact some 50-60% questions are already been asked in various practice or bonus tests or at the end of each chapter.

Mock tests at:
According to me they are very hard but it’s better to go thru them once.

Some of these blogs:

Best of luck for your TOGAF 9.1 part 1 exam!!!