Getting certified in TOGAF is an excellent way to learn about enterprise architecture. Granted, understanding the required techniques and skills takes plenty of practice and experience, especially if you expect to become an expert in your field. Of course, to earn certification in TOGAF, you need to get through both levels of the TOGAF exam.

Here are my top ten tips for passing the TOGAF Level 1 and Level 2 exams:

1. Pace Yourself

There is a fixed amount of time to complete the exam – 60 minutes for 40 multiple choice answers for Level 1, and a further 90 minutes to answer 8 scenario questions for Level 2. Once you start, the clock can’t be stopped.

Keep an eye on the time (the remaining time is shown at the top of the screen throughout). If you are not a native English speaker then you can select the ‘English as a Second Language (ESL)’ option to get extra time (for a total of 135 minutes).

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When you complete Level 1 you can choose to move on to Level 2. If the time for Level 1 runs out, Level 2 will start automatically. Remember, once you move on to Level 2 you can’t go back to Level 1! So work at a steady pace and keep an eye on the clock.

2. Answer Questions You Know First

Level 1 consists of 40 multiple-choice questions, and you need to answer 55% correctly (22 questions). It is best to answer the ones you know first. This will leave more time for the other questions. If you know 22 correct answers, then you’ve already passed! If you are not sure of an answer, then you can mark it for review.

After the last question you will be given a summary page that lists your answers, tells you which questions are still unanswered, and shows you which questions you marked for review. Take this time to go back to questions that you stand the best chance of getting right.

3. Eliminate “Wrong” Answers

Level 2 consists of eight scenarios. You have to choose the response you think is most appropriate for each scenario from four options. Answers are graded with five points for the correct answer, three for next closest, then one and 0. Eight correct answers would get you 40 points, but you only need to get 24 to pass (60%).

Start by reading the scenario carefully to figure out what it is about. Consider which phases of the ADM are relevant, along with the concerns of stakeholders and how well each option meets their needs. Then eliminate any obviously wrong answers, reducing your choices to those you think are right.

Remember that for the Level 2 exam, you will have access to the TOGAF documentation in PDF format. Use the reference materials to assess scenarios, but be smart with your searches.

4. Learn the Language of TOGAF

Questions and answers are all carefully worded using the same language found in the official TOGAF documentation.

So make sure that you know the key terms and their definitions!

5. According to TOGAF…

This tip is especially useful if you are already an experienced architect. If you know your stuff, it is easy to be critical of TOGAF.

However, if you want to pass the exam, you should remember that you are being tested on the gospel according to TOGAF, not your interpretation or criticism of it!

6. Know What’s in TOGAF

Get to know how TOGAF is structured. It will help you take advantage of the open book in the Level 2 exam. It’s also useful to go through the document and ask yourself what makes sense to you and, more importantly, what you don’t get.

For things you don’t understand, ask yourself why it’s included, how it can be used, and which stakeholders it supports. Relate things that are difficult to other bits that make more sense. And if you are struggling on your own, try learning with others or seeking support from tutors.

7. Know the PDF Open Book

Using the PDF open book in the exam is far from ideal! Even so, it may be useful to become familiar with its structure before the exam. Practice searching keywords to find the sections you need.

8. Draw the ADM Diagram

The ADM is at the heart of TOGAF,so learn it by heart! You are given a pencil and paper for the exam, so quickly draw the diagram before you get started.

9. Practice the Exam

Study example questions, especially from Level 2, to get a feeling for the structure and conditions of the exam. Your TOGAF course should come with practice exam questions from a previous year.

10. Think like an Architect

Finally, remember that this is about being an enterprise architect – so put your architect hat on and think like one!

TOGAF has strict rules about keeping the actual exam material confidential, so I can’t give you any specific questions to remember. But if you follow my top ten tips, it should give you a head start in passing the exams!

TOGAF Essentials 2018

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Roger has been working as an Enterprise Architect since 1984, and over the years has been in involved in some of the most advanced, innovative and challenging Enterprise Architecture projects. He has extensive experience in applying all of the key EA approaches, including Zachman, TOGAF and Information FrameWork (IFW) and has been involved in establishing and embedding Enterprise Architecture Programmes that delivered strategic business results in organisations all around the world. Roger now works as a trainer, mentor and coach, specialising in developing individual and organisational capability in using Enterprise Architecture techniques and tools.