During a recent webinar I gave on CBAP and CCBA certification, we received a number of questions that we didn’t have time to cover.

I plan to continue answering the questions over time in a series of blog entries over the next few weeks. The questions are taken directly from the chat session and are only edited for spelling and grammar. Look for more updates soon.


Q: I’m still not entirely clear on how this will benefit my career path?

A: First, I believe a credential like the CBAP or CCBA is a long-term proposition. If you are looking for short-term benefits, then you might find other ways to help such as specific training classes. An industry credential like these shows dedication to the BA profession. A panel of CIOs I heard last year at an IIBA PDD in Cincinnati made an interesting point, they were in agreement that getting certified as a CBAP or CCBA impresses them that you are a serious professional and not just job-hopping. From that, they said to expect other benefits such as hiring preference, better projects, and even higher salaries.

Q: How do I claim CDUs for your webinars?

A: Visit for instructions.

Q: Will this presentation be available online to or on a link to reference later?

A: Visit to view the CBAP/CCBA and other webinars at any time.

Q: Question: My application is approved for CBAP. How many hours do I need to allocate per week to get started with this journey. I use the guide and online study exam from Watermark Learning.

A: We advise people to plan for 100 hours of study. That was the average and median amount of time that successful CBAPs spent in a past survey of ours. Given you have 1 year after your application is approved, you need to spend at least 2 hours a week studying.

A better plan in my opinion would be to concentrate your study and not drag it out. You lose momentum if your study is too spread out. (I let my PMP study drag out over 2 years. Not good.) Pick a 3- or 6-month period when you feel you would be able to study and relatively free of work or personal obligations. Let’s say you end up planning on a 20-week period. Then, the 100 hours becomes 5 hours a week, still a manageable number. Thanks, by the way, for purchasing our study guide and online exam!

Q: Question: How are the points calculated? Esp. when you say that you need 500 points to PASS.

A: IIBA does not reveal how they assign points. One of our customers guessed that they assign 5 points per question, so with 150 questions the maximum is 750 points. That may be close, but I doubt that is true, given that people who fail the exam tell us their scores are not multiples of 5 – one recent failing candidate told us he scored 483.

Q: Can you give more information on the exam – types of questions, number of questions, etc.?

A: For both the CCBA and CCBA exams, you will face 150 multiple-choice questions, all of which have 4 possible answers. Fortunately, they do not have answers such as “none of the above” or “answers a and c.” Many questions are still tough, though. (Let me give a shameless commercial plug here. The feedback we sometimes hear about our CBAP Online Study Exam often is that our questions are often tougher than the real exam. We like to think that prepares you better for the exam than if our questions were too easy.)

On the CBAP, you will receive some knowledge-based questions such as “A requirement is best described by which of the following?” or “Which of the following tasks use the prioritized requirements as an input?” You will receive more situational questions, asking you to apply your knowledge to solving a problem or choosing the appropriate response to a scenario. For example: “You are working on a new project that will require an organizational redesign. Your first requirements meeting with your stakeholders did not go well. What is it that you will likely need? “

Q: Can you explain what happens in the case of an audit of the application?

A: My experience was that they audited me after I took my exam. IIBA contacted all my project contacts; they asked to see a copy of my diploma, and a copy of my training certificate to prove my 21 CDU hours. I don’t recall if they contacted my two personal references, but they may well have done that, too. It wasn’t a painful experience. The most important part to remember is to get contacts for your projects who can attest to you having performed business analysis work for the projects you list on your application.

Q: There is no credit card fee for the application fee, just the exam fee.

A: Thanks for the information, Beth. Here is what IIBA says about credit card fees:

  • For the CBAP and CCBA applications, people using a credit card do not get charged the 3.5% fee, but may be charged fees by their bank.
  • For the exam fees through Castle Worldwide, applicants will be charged a 3.5% fee for using the PayPal option. The other options are by cheque, international money order or by wire transfer.

Q: Is the BABOK available for free or only thru membership?

A: A PDF version is free if you are a member of IIBA. Watermark Learning recently began offering a free paper copy of the BABOK when you attend a CBAP or CCBA Preparation class. If you want to buy your own copy, you can buy one on

Q: Can you speak about the 21 hrs. of classroom and what is the difference between earning CDUs and attending 21 hrs. of classrooms? Give examples of these sessions.

A: To qualify for the CBAP or CCBA, you need 21 hours of professional development, i.e., business analysis training. It cannot be reading, webinars, or presentations. You must have an opportunity to interact with the material/instructor, and to practice new skills. Most of us use the term CDU (Continuing Development Units) when talking about certification, but CDUs is really most applicable to re-certification.

Examples of Watermark Learning courses that count toward the 21 hours are: Business Analysis Fundamentals, Requirements Modeling Essentials, and CBAP Certification Preparation. Examples of our courses that don’t count are: Project Management Fundamentals and Software Testing Fundamentals.

Q: Would you mind explaining what these certifications mean and how they differ from each other?

A: We have a concise summary of the certifications and how they differ in our Frequently Asked Questions page. Please visit our FAQs page to see this summary.

Q: I don’t know the full form of these acronyms.

A: CBAP = Certified Business Analysis Professional.  CCBA=Certificate in Competency of Business Analysis.

Q: What about the prep exams? Are they in the IIBA website or do we go to the testing centers?

A: You have to visit an authorized testing center, run by Castle Worldwide. Visit their web site for more information, including a list of their testing centers around the world.


See other CBAP and CCBA FAQs by visiting our web site.

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