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Your Path to CBAP Success

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect the perspectives of IIBA.
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Professional certification is a valuable investment for many professions, and business analysis is no exception. In the world of business analysis certification, the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) continues to set the standard.

If you’re looking to get certified, there’s no better place to start than IIBA. That’s why I chose to pursue the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) certification. Earning the CBAP was far from easy, and it took a lot of hard work, but it was worth it.

By adopting a systematic approach to preparation, I successfully passed the exam on my first try. Before getting into my strategy, let’s look at why certification is a wise career move for aspiring or experienced business analysis professionals alike.

Return on Investment

Preparing for certification requires time, money, and effort. So before you start, ask yourself: Are the benefits worth the investment? You might have a different response, but in my case the answer was a definite yes.

Just by preparing for the exam, I was able to deepen and structure my business analysis skills and knowledge. After passing it, the CBAP certification provided me with recognition in the professional community, flexibility in my career path, and valuable networking opportunities.

Without certification, I wouldn’t be in my current role with a global IT company. From that perspective alone, return on certification investment is very high.

The Ideal Fit

After doing lots of research, I decided that the best option for my career was the CBAP certification.

In 2017, I was working as a senior business analyst for a large international technology company. Our customers were mainly from the US, Canada, and Western Europe, so English curriculum was a priority.

I was looking for a globally recognized, top-rated certificate to match my five years of business analysis experience. The CBAP met all these conditions—and more.

According to IIBA’s 2022 Global State of Business Analysis Report, business analysis professionals who hold a CBAP earn 25% more than non-certified professionals. Though I didn’t know it at the time, that greater earning potential reinforced the wisdom of my decision.

Plus, many of my more experienced colleagues already had their CBAP certification, so it felt like a move in the right direction from the outset. It was an obvious choice in the end, and I’m glad I made it.

Preparation Makes Perfect

Before I even started, I had already read several fundamental books on business analysis. These included A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK Guide) (which I read twice) and Agile Extension to the BABOK Guide. I included this reading in my overall preparation time.  
These books gave me a better understanding of the business analysis context and allowed me to develop professional intuition. I also collected information about the exam and its structure from the IIBA website.  
Next, I took courses from an IIBA-endorsed study provider to get the necessary hours and structure my knowledge. I then purchased a package of exam preparation tools from a reputable provider.  I read the EEP’s textbook once to understand what to expect, before working with the flashcards and tables to structure my knowledge and retain it. These are especially useful for the final curriculum review just before exam day.  
After reading the textbook, I wrote the practice tests at different levels of complexity. Practice tests are critical to successful preparation, so try to spend sufficient time on them.  In total, I devoted about 300 hours to preparation, more than the 100 to 200 that IIBA recommends. By studying more, however, I got better than average results and succeeded on my first try.     

I used a restricted set of tools available on the market. I also took notes and used them to refresh and structure my knowledge of the curriculum. In truth, there are loads of study tools to choose from, so don’t limit yourself to just one.
Find an IIBA Endorsed Education Provider that fits your needs.      

The Big Day

Your behaviour on exam day—and several days before it—plays a major part in your success or failure. If possible, take a one-week vacation before exam day to be fresh and relaxed (or at least a one-day vacation).

Set time aside to relax before the exam. Eat healthy food and stay hydrated. Coffee or energy drinks may also boost your mood on exam day, health permitting. Another important tip is to plan your exam day properly so that you arrive on time. This helps avoid unnecessary stress.

Ultimately, the shortest path to CBAP success involves careful preparation, reputable study resources, and best practices tailored to your specific situation.

Good luck!

For a limited time, members save 20% on IIBA’s full suite of certification exams when they write between November 1 and December 29, 2023. Not an IIBA member? Simply purchase your  membership first  to take advantage of this exam rebate offer.   

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About the Author
Author (1).jpg

Dmytro Lenda has over 15 years of experience in business analysis across different industries and domain areas with a major focus on the finance domain. He currently works for Luxoft USA (a DXC technology company) as a senior business analyst on a project for one of the largest financial organizations globally.

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