Cracking the COBIT Foundation exam requires just 3 days of dedicated focus
COBIT stands for Control OBjectives for
Information and related Technology. COBIT was developed by the IT Governance
Institute (http://www.itgi.org/) which itself was established by ISACA (http://www.isaca.org/).
Firstly, let us try to quickly list down
the IT challenges faced in any organization.
Businesses are unable to
map IT costs to business value generated
The technology landscape
continues to change rapidly
Yesterday’s key technology
based business differentiator may become today’s disadvantage
Most CEO’s and CIO’s
accept the fact that their organizations are vulnerable to technological
IT continues to be one of
the key operational levers for generating competitive advantage
All in all, the need for IT governance is
COBIT is a control framework primarily
aimed at establishing IT governance.
The advantages that COBIT provides are:
- It closely aligns IT with
- It is detailed and
- It offers mappings to all
other standards and practices. COBIT mappings are available for ITIL V3, PMBOK,
SEI’s CMM for Software, TOGAF 8.1, PRINCE2,etc
COBIT 4.1 Foundation exam gets you acquainted with the fundamentals and exposes
you to this line of thinking.
the 3 day training
The first 2 days of the training will
primarily focus on the subject matter that needs to be mastered to clear the
exam. The course also consists of case studies and assignments which lend a
strong practical aspect to the knowledge gained. An introduction to the Val IT framework
is also covered as part of the course.
The 3rd day would mainly focus
on lighter topics and exam preparation tips. You have the option of appearing
for the exam in the 2nd half of the 3rd day itself. From
practical experience I would strongly recommend that you appear for the exam
and clear it on the 3rd day itself, unmindful of the stress and
the 3 day training
Certain key activities which will help you:
On the evenings of the 1st
and 2nd days, please make sure you read and understand all the
subject matter covered during the day no matter how stressed you are.
Prepare your mind maps as
you go through the subject matter. The COBIT standard itself provides very good
illustrative diagrams which can serve as mind maps for the exam.
Actively participate in
the class assignments and clarify doubts. Remember this is indirect / disguised
Use the lunch and tea
breaks to interact and network with the other participants. This will give you
first-hand information about where and how COBIT is being adopted in other
organizations and countries and the overall acceptance of the standard.
Sometimes, this can also lead to unexpected opportunities.
If you stay close to the
location where the training is being conducted you have a distinct advantage
since you do not lose much time in travelling.
the right trainer
This is indeed a difficult challenge mainly
due to the following reasons:
- It is difficult to find a
trainer who has actually implemented COBIT
Ideally the trainer should
bring the right blend of knowledge and experience to the table. But such
trainers are difficult to locate.
At the most you will be
able to find trainers who have acted as consultants to organizations.
Potential sources of
information in this regard are active ISACA members who regularly attend chapter
programs. Look out for the people who have completed CISA, CISM, CGEIT – they
should be able to point you in the right direction
last mile preparation
By the morning of the 3rd
training day, you should have completed reading the entire subject matter and
mastered all the mind maps. You cannot clear the exam on the 3rd day
without having done this. This obviously means that you may need to sit through
most of the night on the 2nd day to complete your exam preparation.
You will be asked to attempt a mock test of
40 questions on the 3rd day. Use this test to measure your state of
preparation for the exam. Inevitably, you will discover some areas in which
your knowledge / conceptual understanding is a little weak. After the mock test
completion you can revisit these areas in the study material to close the gaps
identified. This small act itself may actually make all the difference between
clearing or failing to clear the exam.
The exam consists of 40 multiple choice questions
out of which you have to answer a minimum of 28 questions correctly. There is
no negative marking, so please ensure that you attempt every question.
Take your time to carefully answer each
question, there is no shortage of time. Some smart Alecs will inevitably manage
to complete the exam quickly – do not allow this to distract you. Remember your
goal in attempting this exam and maintain your focus.
pitfalls to avoid
Do not delay in appearing for
the exam beyond 1 week of the training program, the best thing to do is to
clear the exam in the 2nd half of the 3rd day of training
when the momentum is in your favour.
I call procrastination the “slow death”
because it starves action to death rather than dealing it one fatal blow.
Quoted from “You,Inc.” by Burke
Enjoy you moment of victory after clearing
the exam. But remember, the IT governance journey has just begun for you.
Further advanced certifications are available in COBIT. For others who are
interested in raising their knowledge to advance on the CIO (Chief Information
Officer) or CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) track more advanced
certifications like CGEIT (Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT), CISM
(Certified Information Security Manager) and CISA (Certified Information
Systems Auditor) are available.