How to pass your Business Analysis Foundation exam 1st time


The BCS Business Analysis Foundation exam is one of the more difficult exams to pass

This isn’t because it’s particularly hard, it’s because it’s pretty unforgiving. So if you don’t do thorough preparation and read all the materials, you will struggle.

However, 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 on your practice paper doesn’t mean you will get a pass mark in the actual exam.

So what approach should you take?

Here at Training Bytesize, we have trained over 5,000 students in BA and helped them pass the Business Analysis Foundation exam. This has enabled us to identify a pattern of those that pass, and those that don’t quite get there.

So I’m going to share our learnings and top tips to help you pass the BCS Business Analysis Foundation exam first time.

Before we go any further, lets confirm the structure of the Business Analysis Foundation exam:

  • It is one hour
  • It is multiple choice – there are four options for each question
  • To pass, you need to correctly answer 26 questions or more – so that means that if you get 25, you can’t ask for a recount and you will have failed

When people have failed the exam, these are some of the common remarks we get are:

“These questions were not covered in the course” – This isn’t true. Everything is covered in the course material and if you read the book thoroughly, you will have come across the answer.

“None of these questions were on the sample exams” – That’s correct. The BCS regularly change the format so it’s luck of the draw which set you get and how hard they are, but like I just said, every question you will be asked will have 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, so again you need to master the course material.

“I did everything I could and still failed” – Sadly that can happen. However, if you have taken the paper exam you can ask BCS for feedback on your results to identify your weakest areas; this will help you focus your revision and pass next time. Sadly this option is not available if you have taken the exam online.

Every time you take an exam and fail, it impacts on our average pass rate. Therefore, it’s in our best interest to ensure you pass first time, which is why we offer all our students excellent learning materials and provide top tips just like this.

So here’s the important part – how do you pass your Business Analysis Foundation exam?

We suggest the three ‘P’s  – Plan, Prepare and Practise.

The planning part

Set yourself time to do the course, particularly if you are taking our online course.  Make sure you allocate around 20 hours, and break that up into workable segments – ideally in blocks of a couple of hours so you keep fresh and focused 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 as the trainer goes through the course it will hopefully join a lot of the dots.

The second P is prepare

As well as doing the course, you should also purchase a copy of the Business Analysis 3rd Edition Handbook.  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 you read little and often, and highlight topics of interest as you go along.

If you are studying for the Business Analysis Foundation exam with Training ByteSize, you will receive our summary syllabus, scenarios and a question weighted document.  This is designed to help you because the exam questions only relate to the syllabus – so even if it’s in the book, if it’s not in the syllabus it will not be tested.

The final P is practice

Taking an exam can be tough, especially when you haven’t taken one for a while, so practising is key.

As a Training ByteSize student you will have unique access our online exam simulator which has over 300 sample questions, plus you can also download the free sample paper from the BCS website which has 40 sample questions.

When it comes to seeing the Business Analysis Foundation exam paper for the first time, we recommend using the three pass approach. 

I’ll go through these now with some suggested times based on our experience, helping you to make the most of your time during the Business Analysis Foundation exam:

  1. The quick pass – this is where you go through and answer all the easy questions first. Anything that needs time, just skip and go back to. This should take you around 15 minutes.
  2. The second pass – this is where you answer the questions that require a little more thought, if you get stuck move on. This should take you around 20 minutes.
  3. The third pass – this is when you tackle the difficult ones. RTQ – read the question thoroughly!  And if you really have no idea then at least guess, answering something is better than nothing.  You should spend about 20 minutes doing this.
  4. This leaves you with five minutes to do a final check. Try not to change anything unless you are really sure it is wrong.  Our experience has shown us that the first answer is usually the correct one.

Finally, I just want to reiterate that the exam follows the theory of the manual quite closely.  So if you are not sure of the answer to a particular question, you can eliminate the answers you know are incorrect and guess from the remaining answers.

See the training options we offer for the BCS Business Analysis Foundation

You or your team can study for this qualification in two ways. We can come to you and run the course on-site over 3 days or you can complete our online course. Plus when you pass your exam, you will receive one year’s Associate Membership from the BCS worth £90.

As you progress through our quality interactive e-learning, you will be tested after each section to ensure you are absorbing the information effectively. The online learning is engaging, using animation and audio, plus the mock exam simulator contains hundreds of past exam questions.

Here at Training ByteSize, we are proud to have been the first training company to develop an online training course for the Foundation qualification and today over 95% of our students pass first time. This proven track record means that more people choose us than anyone else.

Buying your Business Analysis Foundation course from us is easy with our online payment system and you can get access to the learning materials the same working day. Or if you are looking to purchase through a company, we can invoice you and incentives are available for group bookings. We are also able to offer staged payments to help with the purchase.

We’re here to help at Training ByteSize, so please get in touch. Chat to us now using the link in the bottom right of the page, email us at [email protected], or call us on +44 (0)1270 626330.

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