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: On the CBAP Application, who would the project contact be then? My manager?
A: It could be your manager, a project manager, sponsor, etc. Basically, list the best person who can vouch for you having performed business analysis on the given project. If that person is no longer with the company, list the next best person. In the worst case, you may have to list an HR person to verify you worked at the company. Explain that or any other extenuating circumstances in in the description field.
Q: What if my projects are implemented over a couple of weeks? Should I group them together?
A: Yes, IIBA wants you to group all related small projects together. Here is what they say in the CBAP Handbook on page 8: “For several small projects within the same year, those projects should be combined into one project. Indicate this on the application under Description.”
Q: There are flashcard apps for other test areas such as A.C.T. or S.A.T. testing. Have you heard any plans of a flashcard type app for CBAP or CCBA testing? or BABOK concepts?
A: We have paper flashcards and audio flashcards for purchase. Visit our site at http://www.watermarklearning.com/cbap to learn more. You can find free online flashcards on the web. I did a quick search and found one resource: http://www.flashcardexchange.com/tag/cbap. This is no endorsement of the online flashcards; try them to see how you like them.
Q: Can you tell me the name of the testing center company again, please?
A: The testing company is called Castle Worldwide. Visit their web site for more information, including a list of their testing centers around the world. You may also want to view and take a sample exam, which I recently just discovered. You can see how their software works before going into your own exam. It’s one more way to reduce test anxiety, a key to passing your exam.
Q: Is the Agile Extension of the BABOK part of the exam as well now?
A: No, not yet. The Agile Extension just finished their review and comment period. I know of no plans to add questions to the CBAP or CCBA exam before BABOK 3.0 comes out next year. There may eventually be a specialty credential for “agile BAs” like PMI offers for PMPs who specialize in scheduling, risk, etc. Let me be among the first to say I’d like to see IIBA offer that.
Q: will we also be able to 1) hear audio at later time, from website? 2) be able to get softcopy of presentation after meeting?
A: A copy of the slideshow was emailed to everyone who registered for the webinar. We have posted a recording for you to watch and listen to. Go to www.watermarklearning.com/Resources, and make sure you register first as a member or else log in if you already are. Scroll down to Webinars and Events and click “View Recorded Webinars.” We have over 10 recordings in our “vault” you can access, in alphabetical order. The one you want to view is “CBAP®/CCBA® Certification: From “What is it?” to “I Did it!”’
Q: How do they validate your hours?
Q: (2nd related question): How is it that approximate hours is acceptable on the application. For example, how will IIBA know if i over estimate a knowledge area such as having 50 hours becoming 100 hours?
A: I assume you mean validate the hours reported on the work experience section of the CBAP or CCBA application. The IIBA doesn’t publish exactly how. I would imagine one way is for them to review the hours for reasonableness. Given an average work year in the US is 2080 hours (52 * 40), reporting that many or more BA hours in a year might be suspect. I recommend you reduce the available hours by 25-30% to account for vacation time, sick days, administrative time, etc. Let’s say that leaves 1500 hours per year. If you do 100% of your work on BA tasks, then it seems plausible that you could work that many hours in a year. More if you put in overtime, which many people do, especially if you are a consultant. (That reminds me to mention if you have detailed records, keep them handy to show IIBA in case they question you.)
Another way of validating hours would be for IIBA to ask your project contacts. They could try and determine if you worked as a BA as much as you listed on your application. Short of these two things I don’t see any other way for IIBA to validate your hours.
In the end, the hours you put down should be as accurate as you can make them. If you have project records or status reports, that will help. IIBA will not know if you over-estimate by a small amount; you must be honest in what you provide. You will sign a code of conduct agreement, which says what you submit is truthful.
Q: Rather than sanctioned CPUs, is there any way I can include the lectures that I give to my BA colleagues on BA techniques and tools.
A: Not for your initial certification. You can claim those types of CDUs for re-certification. The initial CDUs must be for BA professional development training you receive.
Q: Do you know of any resources that would be able to preview an application to look for any gaps before it is submitted?
A: The only service I know of is your local IIBA chapter. They may have a study group you can share your application with. Or, like I have done for the Phoenix chapter, a chapter may hold periodic application workshop sessions. I also gave one of these last year in Nashville to about 50 people.
Q: During the exam, if I happen to skip questions, will I be allowed to return to all sections that I have not fully answered – or am I limited to only certain sections during testing timeframes?
A: Yes, absolutely. You can mark questions for later review. You can also review all you unanswered questions. And, you can browse through every question, answered or unanswered, before you finalize your exam.
Q: Is it true they give a number if you fail? I had heard that only “pass/fail” is given, no numbers?
A: Yes, they give out a number only if you fail. It is based on a score of 500 for passing, and they may give a score of, say, 483. If you pass, then you simply are told “Congratulations, you pass” and you don’t get a number. Probably just as well, since you may not want to know if you barely squeaked by or if you over-prepared and passed by a huge number!
Look for the last installment of the CBAP/CCBA FAQs soon.
• See other CBAP and CCBA FAQs by visiting our web site.
• Visit the IIBA for CBAP Information or CCBA Information. Look in the Quick Links section for each and download the relevant handbook for you.