IIBA® Certification Chat Q&A

Monday, May 11, 2020 10:25 AM | Professional Development IIBA Bluegrass (Administrator)

IIBA® Certification Screen-side Chat Follow-up

On Friday, May 8, 2020, Bluegrass IIBA Chapter hosted their IIBA® Certification Screen-side Chat webinar, in which four chapter members from Vermont presented their journey to become IIBA certified and tips concerning the certification process. You may watch the webinar recording and see the presentation slides here:

Webinar Recording                                   Presentation Slide deck

We had several questions from the audience that we didn't get to during the webinar. You can find your answers here:

Q: What if your direct supervisor who knows your work and they already moved to different companies?

A1: If you are still in touch with them, reach out and ask if they're comfortable. Same with applying for jobs, if they can and will vouch, it doesn't matter where you or they work now.

A2: When applying for IIBA certification you will need to enter an email address or phone number for each of those contacts so as long as you have that information for them you can use them.

Q: Hi, can I use the program coordinator from a program I just completed at school for reference?

A: Yes. They directed your work on the program, you may use them.

Q: So work experience has to be separated into the knowledge areas?

A1: Yes it does need to be separated into the KAs.

A2: Start with just getting your hours, then break the hours out across the KAs, I found it overwhelming to do both at the same time.

Q:  Hi, there are a lot of CBAP prep Udemy courses claiming they give 35 PD's  e.g. https://www.udemy.com/course/certified-business-analysis-professional-cbap-exam-prep/ I have not been able to confirm this by looking at the IIBA accredited educators - can anyone please advise me?

A: We can’t speak to each Udemy course, but look at the IIBA requirements for Professional Development (PD) Hours. If the course meets all those requirements, then it will qualify, for CBAP and CCBA the course must:

  • It must be moderated/facilitated similar to a formal course (i.e., there must be a moderator for the session, or a facilitator/instructor who leads the group/individual through the material).
  • There must be a measurable learning objective (or set of objectives), and those must be directly applicable to the role of the business analyst (i.e., in terms of either changing behavior or improving skills).
  • It cannot simply be a presentation on a specific topic:
  • There must be the opportunity for students to interact with the material (e.g., be able to ask questions, make the learning meaningful)
  • An opportunity to practice the task or objective being presented and, be assessed by the facilitator/moderator.
  • The subject matter must be directly aligned with the BABOK® Guide.
  • To qualify, courses must also be completed by the application submitted date and have a start date within the last four years from the application submitted date.

The requirements for PD Hours for the ECBA certification are more relaxed than the above.

Q: For re-cert what does Bluegrass have that can land me the most CDU's?

A: The Bluegrass IIBA BABOK Study Group offers 35 CDUs if you attend all sessions, including taking the practice tests. Our next session begins June 2, 2020: https://bluegrass.iiba.org/event-3676735

Our Agile Analysis Study Group offers 12.5 CDUs. Our next session begins September 29, 2020: https://bluegrass.iiba.org/event-3830738

All our chapter meetings are good for 1.5 CDUs: https://bluegrass.iiba.org/Events

And you may claim 1.0 CDUs for attending this webinar. 

Q: Is it a good idea to first attempt CCBA instead to directly going CBAP?

A: There is no requirement to take the CCBA before the CBAP. Each has a different requirement for BA work experience. The CCBA requires 3,750 hours of BA work experience in the last 7 years, with at least 900 hours in two Knowledge Areas, or at least 500 hours in four Knowledge Areas. The CBAP requires 7,500 hours of BA work experience, with at least 900 hours in four Knowledge Areas. If you qualify for CBAP, you may apply for that certification. The CBAP exam is harder, more case study questions. If you feel that you are not a good test taker, you may wish to take the CCBA exam first.

Q: Were there a lot of numerical questions? Does the exam provide an online calculator?

A: There are not a lot of questions that will require the use of a calculator, maybe 3 to 6 questions for the whole exam. None of us took the exam online as that is fairly new for the core exams, but we don’t believe you will be allowed to use an online calculator. We assume you will be allowed to use a hand-held calculator (not your cell phone). You most likely will have to show your exam proctor all sides of the calculator to show them you don’t have notes taped to the bottom of the calculator.

Q: Will Bluegrass offer a short 5-6 week session for CDU's?

A: Our Agile Analysis Study Group offers 12.5 CDUs. Our next session begins September 29, 2020. This is a virtual study group open to everyone internationally: https://bluegrass.iiba.org/event-3830738

Q: I have applied for the CCBA; but don't plan to write for a few months. Any tips for keeping up my knowledge prior to my intense exam prep phase?

A: You could attend a webinar on a BA topic every so often. You may open the BABOK or Agile Extension to the BABOK and read a technique and think about that technique and how you could apply it to your particular situation at work.

Q: Somebody told me CBAP has mostly scenario-based question is it true?

A1: There are small scenarios of a paragraph 50% and longer ones that go up to 2-3 pages 15%.

A2: Let’s clarify terminology, scenario-based questions put a BA in a scenario and asks how the BA should handle that scenario. The scenario may be short enough to be the question itself, or slightly longer (about ½ page text) and will be a pop-up window within the question. I would say the CBAP exam is at least 75% scenario-based, and CCBA is 80-100% scenario-based. Case Study questions take 1 to 3 pages to describe the scenario and the next two to five questions will be based on that case study. These case studies may have multiple diagrams in them, which is why some of them may take 3 pages. The CBAP is maybe 10-20% case study-based, and there are no case study questions on the CCBA.

Q: I already paid CCBA application fee but not completed my application can I change it now to CBAP?

A: I would email Certification@iiba.org and ask them.

Q:  Did you feel like you needed the full 3 1/2 hours to complete the test, or is this more time than is reasonably needed?

A: It is not required that you take the full 3 1/2 hours to complete the exam. The panelists described different experiences from taking 2 hours to finishing with 10 to 20 minutes left to go. Please remember that there are no points for finishing early. Take the entire time if you feel you need it. Make sure you have an answer on every question; if it is not answered it is wrong. If you answer it (when you don’t know the answer) you have a 25% chance of getting it right.

Q: CBAP required hours in 4 knowledge areas but it didn’t say anything about techniques, what about a non-IT person to coup with IT related techniques:  state modelling, sequence diagram, data modelling etc. 

A: Read the technique in the BABOK and attempt to understand it. You can google those models to see examples of what the diagram looks like. Find an IT person, perhaps in your organization, and ask them how they use the technique and if they have examples of the models they have used.

Q: How soon after I take the ECBA exam can i sit for the CBAP? I am new to the profession and I want to start with ECBA. Must I have work experience or can learning hours stand in for on the job experience?

A: Work experience cannot be used as Professional Development (PD) hours. PD Hours is training in the profession, and must be a formal, classroom or virtual, training course. The ECBA does not require work experience, but requires 21 PD hours, and a lot more activities qualify for PD hours for ECBA than CCBA or CBAP. After obtaining the ECBA or CCBA, you may sit for the CBAP exam as soon as you qualify for it. If you with to get the ECBA, CCBA and CBAP on successive days, or the same day, you can do that as long as you have the work experience and PD Hours to qualify for each. You may re-use work experience and PD Hours to qualify for each certification.

Q: When you mentioned, CCBA is multiple-choice questions, what does CBAP looks like? Is it not multiple-choice questions?

A1: CBAP is multiple choice questions too. But many of the questions are scenario-based and case study-based, where you read the scenario and then answer multiple questions about it.

A2: All IIBA certification exams are multiple-choice questions with four answer options for each question. No fill in the blanks, no match item to its definition, strictly multiple-choice questions. The difference between the exams are focus and competency level. The specialized certifications, such as Agile Analysis, Data Analytics and Cybersecurity Analysis, focus on those contexts. The core certifications focus on business analysis in general. The ECBA tests people that are new to the profession and therefore don’t have in-depth knowledge of the techniques and competencies of doing business analysis. The CBAP tests people on broad and in-depth knowledge of the techniques and competencies of doing business analysis.

Q: What would be considered as qualified past experience that would count to your CBAP certification?

A: If it is a task or technique in the BABOK that is business analysis work and qualifies as work experience to count toward IIBA core certification. You can go back 10 years to get 7,500 hours of BA experience for CBAP, and you can go back 7 years in the past to get 3,750 hours of BA experience for the CCBA.

Q: Is there a possibility that your title is BA, but you were not actually doing BA work? I always doubt myself in this way although I am BA for 8 years now. Because I was not formally trained for this job and I don't know if I am qualified?

A: It is certainly possible that you have a BA job title, but you are not actually doing BA work. Aaron noted his first experience of working with a BA was when they got the BA on their team involved in a project to verify the quality of the product being developed before it went into production. Today, that is the Quality Assurance Tester role. What is BA work is defined in the BABOK and Agile Extension to the BABOK Guide. If it is a task or technique in either of those books, that is BA work. In general, if you work with stakeholders to define and understand the business need and then help a team develop a solution for that business need you are doing business analysis work. If you would like to study the BABOK, with additional study material, please join our BABOK Study Group beginning in June: https://bluegrass.iiba.org/event-3676735


Based in Lexington, Kentucky and serving all interested Kentucky Business Analysts    

Mailing address:  Bluegrass IIBA Chapter | 1588 Leestown Road, Suite 130-111 | Lexington, KY  40511

Email: info@bluegrass.iiba.org


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