What to do after one fails in the CBAP certification examination

CBAP is a pretty sought-after business analysis certification. Professionals prepare for months to go for the examination. Failing in the CBAP examination can be a pretty traumatic experience. Here is what I received from one of our past participants.

“I am very sad with the outcome. I was pretty confident of clearing the exam.”

“This is the very first test I failed in my life.”

What should one do after the failed attempt?

Let’s remember that failing in CBAP certification is a high probability. As per discussion with IIBA officials, roughly 30% of professionals who took the exam in 2018 failed. From Adaptive alone, more than 100 participants completed CBAP in 2018. Taking a 10% market share for Adaptive, over 1000 participants completed CBAP in 2018. This also means close to 500 professionals could not complete CBAP in their first attempt. This means you are not alone.

A failure is a temporary setback in life, not the dead end.

One who is determined, will overcome failure and be successful. We had participants who were unsuccessful 2 or 3 times but continued their effort and finally be successful.

How should one prepare?

#1 First and foremost – A failure in a specific examination does NOT make you a failure.

There are many aspects which are beyond our control but can contribute to our failure. Sometimes, questions can be relatively harder, we could be going through a health issue or one simply not being in the best frame of mind. I know cases, where one scored 497 when the pass criteria was 500.

Do not over analyze failure and brood over it. At the same time, it is imperative that we learn from our failures.

#2 Analyze past preparedness and ensure better preparations for the retest.

Analyze areas where you did not perform well.

Did you understand BABoK concepts well?

If there are any concepts which were not clear, did you go back to your faculty?

Did you read BABoK at least 3 times?

BABoK is a pretty complex document and one must read it 3 times before appearing for the exam.

Did you practice enough model questions?

Again, ensure you leverage the question banks at your disposal. It may make sense to practice model questions from multiple training organizations.

#3 Analyze your test-taking approach

Could you attempt all the questions in the test?

Did you monitor your progress during the test?

Were you calm enough during the test?

Follow proven test-taking techniques to ensure you perform best during the test.

I believe following these 3 important aspects, you will be able to complete CBAP in your next attempt.

FYI, Adaptive US offers success guaranteed CBAP training which allows you to take the CBAP retest at no additional cost.

I would be quite happy to receive feedback from other CBAPs as to what they found worth-while to remember for their certification examination.