7 Useful Tips for Clearing CCBA/CBAP in your First attempt

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The Certified Business Analysis Professional, or CBAP, is one of the most recognized professional certifications for the Business Analysts. To achieve this certification, business analysts are required to have extensive experience (a minimum of 7500 hours), and pass CBAP exam conducted by The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). As per IIBA Certification Registry, as of July 2020 there are 10021 CBAP certified professionals and 1377 CCBA certified professionals.

Here are 7 tips to help you prepare for and pass the exam, based on interactions with Business Analysts who recently took the CBAP Training and passed.

1) Know the difference between Knowledge based and Competency based Certifications: Knowledge-based certifications focus on content and learning objectives – if you have studied the materials and have some knowledge you can clear it, whereas, competency-based testing focuses on outcomes, competencies, skills and performance and the scenario and case-study exam questions are designed to validate your proficiency level to prove you have the competencies required. CBAP/CCBA are competency based certifications, wherein you need to understand most of the BABOK concepts.

Feedback from our students found the exam harder than they expected.

2) Reading BABOK 4-5 times is enough to clear? This is a Myth, don’t cram the book. The key is to understand the concepts of knowledge areas  to enough detail that these concepts can be applied to whatever context you are presented with like scenario based questions or case studies. Once you get register for CBAP Training, you will be actually explained how to study BABOK.

There are numerous questions on, “What would you do next in this situation? So you should be able to connect all the dots when you read BABOK !

3) Consider Classroom Training – If you cannot devote time for reading BABOK, then enroll for class room training. Classroom setup advantages will be better understanding of Knowledge areas from the BA mentor, Query resolution, Interactive environment wherein you can learn from fellow students about the BA practices they follow in their organization etc.

Attending training can help you to prepare faster and also in a streamlined manner.

4) Don’t fall into the TRAP – Most of the BA with 8+ years experience aren’t able to clear the CBAP in their first attempt? Reason – Overconfidence + answering situational scenario based questions with their Real world experience. This will not work in CBAP, IIBA always wants you to choose the best answer to the situation based on the BABOK concepts only.

Figure out the essence of the question, introspect it with BABOK Knowledge areas, and then eliminate wrong options which are not mentioned in BABOK.

5) Practice makes it Perfect – A great way to test your BABOK knowledge is by giving mock simulation exams. Most of the Question banks provide 120-question practice tests that are timed and familiarize a candidate with the format and difficulty level of questions. Subscribe only for the question banks which are close to IIBA’s standard.

If you can score around 70-80% in your mock exam consistently, you can book your main exam with confidence!

6) Approach for Case Study based questions – Most time consuming section, wherein you need to skim through some 1-2 pages for 4-5 questions. Best approach is to read the question first, and ascertain if you can answer it based on the options. So in that case, you can save some time.

Read all the answers to the question, avoid impulse of selecting the first option which you assume to be correct and ignoring the rest.

7) Memory Dump – You get some 15 minutes before the actual test when you opt for Prometric Demo. Make use of that time to write down all inputs, outputs, or the mnemonics which you had practiced earlier. This can help you in saving time as you can refer the notes if needed to avoid any ambiguity related to inputs and tasks.

Don’t take more than 2 minutes for any question. Save last 30 minutes for reviewing all 120 answers again.

Good luck on your CCBA/CBAP journey. And if you’ve any questions, we’d love to hear it in the comments below!


Satheesh Sathyaseelan 

CBAP Certified Business Analyst with around 10 years of experience working on large system Implementation projects across verticals – Core Banking (SAP),Telecommunication, Global Mobility Solutions and Software License Management and experience dabbling in all happening technologies (CRM, SAP, Datawarehousing, Mobility et al.).

He has worked with multiple Fortune 500 Clients and has exceptional interest and knowledge in business processes and possess the ability to understand the chain of events both on a process level as well as on a technical level.

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