The governing board for ISEB software testing certifications, the British Computer Society (BCS), in conjunction with the International Software Testing Standards Board (ISTQB), has issued a revised version of the ISEB / ISTQB Foundation syllabus. The syllabus was made public in March 2010, and is now the basis for both the ISEB Foundation and the ISTQB Foundation (CTFL) exam (as of October 2010).
Summary of Syllabus Changes
The changes to the Foundation syllabus were primarily related to altering the emphasis on certain words and concepts. Although the actual syllabus content was largely unchanged, it is still worth highlighting the specific updates. The specific syllabus changes include the following:
The Learning Objectives (LO) were clarified, some wording was adjusted, and a few items were shifted into different LO categories. Also, a K4 Learning Objective was added. Previously there was only a K1 (remember, recognize, recall), K2 (understand, explain, compare, summarize, etc.), and K3 (apply, use). Now we also have a K4 (analyze).
The terms test strategy and test approach now have more consistent definitions throughout the syllabus and elsewhere.
The idea of traceability between test basis and test cases is now part of Chapter 1.4 of the syllabus.
Concepts involving test objects and test basis are now covered in Chapter 2 of the syllabus.
The term confirmation testing has been superseded by the term re-testing.
Data quality and testing has been added to multiple parts of the syllabus.
Entry Criteria has been added as a subchapter (Chapter 5.2.3).
Chapter 6.1 was shortened.
The nature of the Test Plan and Mater Test Plan documents was clarified.
Code of Ethics information was added (previously this was part of the ISTQB Advanced, or CTAL, level of certification).
Using the New Syllabus to Prepare for Your ISTQB / ISEB Foundation Exam
As you can see, the changes were relatively minor and did not involve altering any concepts. The syllabus was essentially fine-tuned. That being said, if you are getting ready to prepare for your ISEB Foundation / ISTQB Foundation (CTFL) exam, you should ensure that you are using the most up-to-date syllabus. The current version can be downloaded at the BCS website and elsewhere.
Note that studying the syllabus alone is generally not enough to adequately prepare for the exam. At a minimum you must also study the official glossary (also available at the BCS website) and download sample exam questions. Alternatively, you could buy a text book, purchase a self-study course, or attend instructor-led training sessions. The bottom line is that you want to make sure you are adequately prepared, because the exam itself costs a couple hundred dollars and you don't get a refund for a failing grade.
Although relatively minor, the syllabus changes clearly help clarify and enhance the underlying content. This benefits not only the students but also their employers. Expect more syllabus changes in the next few years as the BCS works with the ISTQB to integrate and further align the ISEB and ISTQB software testing certification paths.
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