ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level (2018 Syllabus)

3 days - from 06-12-21 to 08-12-21
NL - Den Haag


The Foundation Level qualification is aimed at professionals who need to demonstrate practical knowledge of the fundamental concepts of software testing.

Holders of the Foundation Core certificate are eligible to continue on to higher level software testing qualifications, certifying themselves at Core Advanced level, and then at the Expert level.

Chapter 1: Fundamentals of Testing

• The tester learns the basic principles related to testing, the reasons why testing is required, what test objectives are, and the principles of successful testing.

• The tester understands the test process, the major activities, and work products.

Chapter 2: Testing Throughout the Software Development Lifecycle

• The tester learns how testing is incorporated in every step of a software development lifecycle.

• The tester learns about the different test levels, test types, and impact analysis when working with maintenance testing.

Chapter 3: Static Techniques

• The tester learns the various static techniques of testing such as static analysis and reviews (i.e., informal reviews, walkthroughs, technical reviews, and inspections).

• The tester learns how to apply a review technique to a work product to find defects.

Chapter 4: Test Techniques

• The tester learns how to apply test techniques to derive test cases from other software work products.

• Black-box, white-box, and experience-based test techniques are covered.

Chapter 5: Test Management

• Test management is covered from a perspective where the tester can work with test managers, focusing on risk based testing, test execution and defect reporting and handling.

• The tester learns what could be included in the various test documentation work products, such as test plans and reports.

• The tester learns to report defects in a clear and understandable way.

Chapter 6: Tool Support for Testing

• The tester learns to classify tools, the risks and benefits connected with tools, and aspects of selecting and introducing tools.


Business Outcomes

Holders of the ISTQB® CTFL Certificate can…

• Promote efficient and effective communication by using a common vocabulary for software testing

• Understand fundamental concepts of software testing

• Demonstrate understanding of how different development and testing practices, and different constraints on testing, may apply in optimizing testing to different contexts

• Contribute effectively in reviews

• Use established techniques for designing tests at all test levels

• Interpret and execute tests from given test specifications. Report on test results.

• Understand test management principles for resources, strategies, planning, project control and risk management

• Write and communicate clear and understandable defect reports

• Understand the project factors that drive the test priorities and test approach

• Understand the value that software testing brings to stakeholders

• Appreciate how testing activities and work products align with project objectives, measures and targets

• Assist in the selection and implementation process of testing tools

In general, the Foundation Tester has acquired the skills necessary to enable further development in the ISTQB certification scheme.


Main changes in the 2018 Syllabi

The 2018 release has made the following changes:

• Fewer K1 Learning Objectives (LO) in general,

– 15 LO in 2018 compared with 27 LO in 2011.

• Less focus on chapter 5 Test Management,

– 15 LO in 2018 compared with 24 LO in 2011.

• More emphasis on review, a K3 LO has been added to chapter 3.

– Static Analysis by Tools section is removed, and will be covered in other syllabi.

• More emphasis on test techniques in chapter 4.

– Section 4.1 of 2011 moved and merged with section 1.4 of chapter 1.

• Agile is mentioned in the content of the syllabus.

– But not included in the wording of any LO.

• White-box techniques are downgraded.

– K4 and K3 removed – they will be covered in other syllabi.

Additional changes made to the 2018 Foundation Syllabus are:

1. ISO/IEC/IEEE 29119 is now used for reference instead of IEEE Standard 829.

2. ISO/IEC 25010 is now used for reference instead of ISO 9126.

3. ISO/IEC 20246 is now used for reference instead of IEEE 1028.

The Code of Ethics has been moved from chapter one to ISTQB.ORG web site.

Target Audience

The Foundation Level qualification is suitable for anyone who is involved as well as interested in software testing. This includes people in roles such as testers, test analysts, test engineers, test consultants, test managers, user acceptance testers and software developers. This Foundation Level qualification is also appropriate for anyone who wants a basic understanding of software testing, such as project managers, quality managers, software development managers, business analysts, IT directors and management consultants.


The entry criterion for taking the ISTQB Certified Tester Foundation Level Software Testing exam is that candidates have an interest in software testing. However, it is strongly recommended that candidates also:

• Have at least a minimal background in either software development or software testing, such as six months experience as a system or user acceptance tester or as a software developer

• Take a course that has been accredited to ISTQB standards (by one of the ISTQB-recognized member boards).

The ISTQB® Foundation Certificate is a prerequisite for continuing with many of the other ISTQB® certifications.

Download the syllabi for this certification or see sample exams.

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