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ITIL 4 Certification: Advanced IT Service Management Path

ITIL 4 Certification: Advanced IT Service Management Path

In the ever-evolving landscape of IT, the ITIL 4 Certification stands as a beacon for professionals aiming to master the art of IT Service Management. ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library and was first developed by the UK government in the 1980s. It has since evolved into a globally recognized framework for managing IT services. The framework is based on best practices collected from various organizations worldwide.

ITIL is a popular IT Service Management framework. It offers guidance for quality service delivery. Recently, ITIL 4, introduced in 2019, added Agile, DevOps, and Lean methodologies to its foundation. Professionals in the IT industry highly seek ITIL Certification, as it demonstrates their understanding and ability to implement ITIL practices within an organization.

This comprehensive guide delves into the nuances of ITIL 4, offering insights, strategies, and practical advice to pass the certification and implement its principles in real-world scenarios. Whether you are a seasoned IT professional or just starting your career, the ITIL 4 Certification will equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to stay competitive in an ever-growing field.


The ITIL framework provides ITSM implementation guidelines. It aims to enhance IT services by focusing on people, processes, and resources. The ITIL 4 foundation qualification is a prerequisite for the ITIL 4 higher-level qualifications, which assess the ability to apply concepts from the relevant parts of the ITIL framework.

 ITIL 4 foundation qualification

ITIL 4 certification targets digital transformation, providing a clear career path. Moreover, organizations need robust IT management and practices for optimal service delivery. Let’s explore the new aspects of version 4 of ITIL, the modified future path to ITIL master, the characteristics of the ITIL foundation exam, the distinctive of the ITIL foundation exam, and the main topics of the ITIL 4 foundation path. 

 ITIL foundation exam

What is ITIL 4 Certification?

ITIL 4 Certification is a credential that signifies an understanding of the ITIL 4 framework, the latest version of the IT Infrastructure Library that guides individuals and organizations in managing IT services effectively. This certification emphasizes a holistic approach to IT service management, integrating concepts from Agile, DevOps, and Lean, and focuses on delivering value through collaborative and adaptable practices. It is designed for IT professionals seeking to stay current with industry best practices and enhance their ability to manage and optimize IT services in a rapidly evolving digital environment.

Graphic banner featuring a globe symbol representing international reach, a gear symbol indicating process and mechanics, and a diverse group of professional figures symbolizing community and collaboration, all encircled by vibrant purple and pink rings. The logo for '591Lab' is displayed in the bottom right corner, with the tagline 'Achieving Success' beneath it. It is designed for IT professionals seeking to stay current with industry best practices and enhance their ability to manage and optimize IT services in a rapidly evolving digital environment.

The Evolution and Community of ITIL

ITIL is recognized globally as the most prevalent service management framework, specifically under the banner of Information Technology Service Management (ITSM). Historically, ITIL stood for Information Technology Infrastructure Library, a title maintained through its third iteration. With the advent of ITIL 4, the framework has shed its original acronym to become ITIL. This change reflects its expansion beyond the confines of a mere infrastructure library. ITIL 4 has become a community-driven, industry-led initiative bolstered by a worldwide consortium of over 150 industry experts, including content writers, reviewers, and contributors from across the IT sector. The establishment of the ITIL Development Group, which boasts over 2,000 members, has been instrumental in guiding the evolution of ITIL 4 certification and promises to continue shaping its future. The initial release of ITIL 4 introduces the foundation level and its corresponding exam, setting the stage for further advancements slated for late 2019.

ITIL 4: Enhancing IT and Digital Shifts

Information technology is the linchpin of operational success in the contemporary business landscape. ITIL 4 is crafted to mirror the dynamic and intricate nature of the modern business environment, incorporating new methodologies and emerging practices. These innovations are crucial not only for IT service management professionals but also for a broader audience involved in digital transformation initiatives. ITIL’s core objective is to furnish organizations with exhaustive guidelines for IT management within the modern service economy. Through ITIL 4 certification, a comprehensive IT digital operating model is envisioned, encompassing the entirety of tech-enabled product and service delivery and maintenance. This model aims to guide organizations in how IT can not only align with but also drive broader business strategies, marking a significant leap forward in the integration of IT and business objectives.

Informative illustration with a central theme of ITIL 4 development. On the left, a laptop displays a pattern of yellow dots, signifying the initial release of ITIL 4's Foundation level with additional levels expected in late 2019. To the right, a circle with a diverse group of happy professionals represents the ITIL Development Group, which has surpassed 2,000 members, contributing to the guidance of ITIL version 4. The bottom right corner features the '591Lab' logo with its slogan 'Achieving Success'.

The ITIL Certification Scheme

The ITIL 4 Certification Scheme is a structured program designed to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills to understand and apply the ITIL framework in managing and optimizing IT services within an organization. This scheme is tiered, offering various levels of certification that cater to different stages of a professional’s career, from foundational knowledge to advanced mastery of ITIL principles.

Visual representation of the ITIL® Certification Scheme as a stacked pyramid with five levels. From bottom to top: 5. ITIL® Foundation in yellow, 4. ITIL® Specialist (3) in orange, 3. ITIL® Strategist in pink, 2. ITIL® Leader in purple, and 1. ITIL® Master in blue. Each level is connected by arrows indicating the progression path. The 591Lab logo is displayed in the bottom right corner, signifying the company's role in ITIL training and certification.

The ITIL 4 scheme now splits into ITIL MP and ITIL SL streams. These streams aim to enhance IT professionals’ service management and strategy knowledge, aiding career growth. Together, MP and SL include five modules, with ITIL Strategy and Improvement in both. This setup offers a versatile path for IT professionals to boost their management and leadership abilities.

Overview of ITIL 4 Certification Streams

Educational infographic detailing the ITIL® Certification Path. The base layer is the ITIL® Foundation, above which are two branches. On the left, ITIL® Managing Professional (MP) includes four modules: ITIL® Specialist Create, Deliver & Support; ITIL® Specialist Drive Stakeholder Value; ITIL® Specialist High-Velocity IT; and ITIL® Strategist Direct, Plan & Improve. On the right, ITIL® Strategic Leader (SL) consists of ITIL® Strategist Direct, Plan & Improve and ITIL® Leader Digital & IT Strategy. Above both branches is the ITIL® Master level. The graphic, set against a purple background, also features the '591Lab' logo with the tagline 'Achieving Success' in the bottom right corner.

The new ITIL 4 certification scheme features two distinct streams. Firstly, ITIL MP appears on the left and ITIL SL on the right. These streams aim to deepen learners’ knowledge in key IT areas. Together, MP and SL comprise five modules. Notably, both streams include ITIL strategy and improvement.

ITIL Professional and Strategic Leader Certifications

To become an ITIL Managing Professional, the end learners must complete these modules: 

  1. ITIL 4 Foundation
  2. ITIL specialist: create, deliver, and support
  3. ITIL specialist: drive stakeholder value
  4. ITIL specialist: high-velocity IT
  5. ITIL strategist: direct plan and improve.

The ITIL certification starts at the Foundation level. Next, three Specialist modules enhance specific ITSM skills. Then, it advances to Strategist and Leader levels, ending at the ITIL Master pinnacle.

To become an ITIL Strategic Leader, the end learner must complete the following modules:

  1. ITIL v4 foundation
  2. ITIL strategist: direct plan and improve 
  3. ITIL leader: digital and IT strategy

To be eligible to become an IT master, end learners must have both the ITIL MP and SL designations. If a candidate has taken on the ITIL 3 foundation, then the recommended approach is to take the ITIL 4 foundation to transition to the new scheme. If you’re an end learner and hold three to four credits beyond foundation, or maybe six or more credits, go to the AXELOS website and dig deeper into your options. 

The ITIL Certification Scheme provides essential ITIL knowledge for optimizing IT services. It features tiered levels, catering to career stages from foundational understanding to advanced ITIL mastery.

1. ITIL Foundation

At the base of the certification pyramid is the ITIL Foundation. This level introduces the key elements, concepts, and terminology used in the ITIL service lifecycle, including the links between lifecycle stages, the processes used, and their contribution to service management practices.The Foundation certification targets those seeking ITIL 4 certification basics to improve organizational IT service quality.

2. ITIL Practitioner

After the foundation level, the ITIL Practitioner certification focuses on real-world ITIL applications. It highlights ITIL’s adaptability and offers customization guidance. Additionally, this level addresses the Continual Service Improvement (CSI) approach and uses metrics to enhance business results.

3. ITIL Intermediate

The ITIL Certification’s Intermediate level is modular, covering various IT service aspects. Firstly, it splits into Service Lifecycle, focusing on ITIL’s lifecycle stages. Secondly, Service Capability delves into detailed process management. Thus, individuals can select modules that match their goals and interests.

4. ITIL Expert

The ITIL Expert certification targets those eager to showcase comprehensive ITIL knowledge. Achieving this level of certification requires accumulating credits through the earlier modules and passing the Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC) exam. The Expert level signifies a deep understanding of ITIL best practices and their application across all areas of IT service management.

5. ITIL Master

At the pinnacle of the ITIL Certification Scheme is the ITIL Master. This certification validates an individual’s ability to apply the ITIL framework in a real-world situation. To achieve the ITIL Master certification, candidates must demonstrate their ability to select and apply knowledge, principles, methods, and techniques from ITIL and supporting management techniques to achieve desired business outcomes in one or more practical assignments.

The ITIL 4 Certification Scheme offers a detailed IT service management career path. Consequently, it enables individuals to gain highly valued skills in the IT sector and beyond.

The ITIL Foundation Exam

Let’s explore the ITIL 4 foundation exam. You have 60 minutes to complete the exam. 75 minutes if you’re not taking it in your native or working language. The exam has 40 questions, each worth one point. There are four types of questions: standard, missing word, list, and what is not. The passing score is 65%, or 26 points out of 40. 

Let’s look at a sample of each question type.

Instructional image presenting updates to ITIL® assessment criteria. The text states that candidates only need to describe the purpose of each value chain activity, not the inputs and outputs. ITIL practices should be explained excluding how they fit into the service value chain (SVC), and practices removed from the assessment include Availability Management, Capacity and Performance Management, and Service Continuity Management. The image features a dotted outline with an icon of a clipboard, set against a faded background with the '591Lab' logo and slogan 'Achieving Success'

So here is the standard question, or standard OTQ, where you have to choose the best practice and pick the best answer out of four. 

Educational content depicting an example of a 'negative' standard OTQ (Objective Test Question) for ITIL®. The question asks which option is NOT a defined area of value, with four choices listed: Q, P, R, S. A note emphasizes that negative questions are used as exceptions when learning outcomes require understanding what should not be done. Accompanied by an icon of a clipboard and pen, and the 591Lab logo with its slogan 'Achieving Success' in the background.

Next, list OTQ. They’ll give you four options: 

  1. it does Q
  2. it does P
  3. it does R
  4. it does S. 

Then you have to choose the best answer: 1 and 2, 2 and 3, 3 and 4, or 1 and 4. 

A screenshot of a multiple-choice question with the logo of '591 Lab' in the background. The question is about identifying a missing word in a sentence related to roles and responsibilities for service requirements and outcomes.

The next question type is missing word(s). They’ll ask you to identify a sentence’s missing word(s). You must choose the correct word(s) from the four options.

A screenshot of a multiple-choice question from '591 Lab' concerning service asset and configuration management, asking to identify the correct statements from a provided list.

The fourth question type is the negative standard OTQ. This is the only question type with a negative. The list-style questions that we looked at earlier are never negative. 

ITIL 4 Certification questions are based on Bloom’s level taxonomy. Bloom’s level 1, representing approximately 77.5% of the questions, simply involves remembering. Remembering is the lowest level of learning in the cognitive domain in Bloom’s taxonomy and typically doesn’t bring about a behavior change. It simply involves memorization and recall of data or information with no evidence of understanding. Bloom’s level 2, which is about 22.5% of the questions, involves “to understand.”. “apply” (level 3), “analyze” (level 4), “evaluate” (level 5), and “create bloom” (level 6) are tested in the ITIL MP and SL.

ITIL 4 Foundation Syllabus Updates

ITIL 4 Foundation Certification training creates in summer 2019. Subsequently, in November 2019, AXELOS announced syllabus changes. In other words, they removed some things from the testing objectives. 

An informational graphic from '591 Lab' describing ITIL 4 as a comprehensive framework for IT Service Management (ITSM), emphasizing its effectiveness, efficiency, flexibility, coordination, and integrated governance and management of IT services

For example, you only need to describe the purpose of each value-chain activity. In other words, you no longer need to tell the inputs and outputs of each activity. You must explain the ITIL 4 certification practices, excluding how they fit into the service value chain, or SVC. In other words, the relationship between these practices and how they fit within the service value chain will be explored in greater detail in a future publication. Also, the following practices have been removed from the ITIL 4 foundation assessment:

  • Availability Management: as a matter of fact, the term availability has been removed from its exemptible scope.
  • Capacity and Performance Management
  • Service Continuity Management.
A screenshot of a multiple-choice question from '591 Lab' asking to identify a source of best practice.

ITIL 4 aims to guide organizations in managing IT services for the digital economy. Additionally, it offers a complete framework for IT service management (ITSM). Furthermore, its design promotes a robust, efficient, and adaptable IT governance system. Finally, these points are key testable aspects of the ITIL 4 foundation exam.

Exam Registration

You can register for the ITIL 4 Certification exams through PeopleCert. Let’s explore the registration process for your certification exam via PeopleCert.

First of all, don’t forget the system requirements. 

You can register for the ITIL 4 Certification exams through PeopleCert. Let’s explore the registration process for your certification exam via PeopleCert.

If you have a system that meets the requirements, you must go to the PeopleCert website. The site should look like this:

A website header from 'PeopleCert' with the slogan 'Realise your potential in Tech & Business', featuring a woman extending her hand towards the camera, symbolizing invitation or interaction. ITIL 4 Certification Exam

After that, click on the user icon in the top right corner. Then, from the login page, click on the button to sign up for PeopleCert. You will be asked to register using valid credentials. You have the option to register via your social accounts as well.

After that, click on the user icon in the top right corner. Then, from the login page, click on the button to sign up for PeopleCert. You will be asked to register using valid credentials. You have the option to register via your social accounts as well.

After signing up, edit your profile and review your data to see if it is correct. Pay attention to your sensitive information, like Photo ID Type, Photo ID Number, Photo ID Issue Date, Birth Date, and Gender. Then, check your exam information and click on CONFIRM MY EXAM. You will receive an email confirming your registration. 

FAQs on ITIL 4 Certification and ITIL 4 Foundation

What is ITIL 4?

ITIL 4 is the latest iteration of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a widely adopted framework for IT Service Management (ITSM). It guides creating value through IT services by aligning them with business needs.

What is ITIL 4 Foundation Certification?

ITIL 4 Foundation is the entry-level certification within the ITIL certification scheme. It introduces candidates to the key elements, concepts, and terminology used in the ITIL framework.

Who should pursue ITIL 4 Foundation Certification?

IT professionals, service managers, business managers, and anyone involved in delivering, supporting, or managing IT services can benefit from ITIL 4 Foundation Certification. It is also suitable for individuals aspiring to work in IT service management roles.

What topics are covered in the ITIL 4 Foundation exam?

The ITIL 4 Foundation exam covers key concepts of ITIL 4, including the service value system, the four dimensions of service management, the ITIL guiding principles, service value chain activities, and ITIL practices.

How long is the ITIL 4 Foundation exam?

The ITIL 4 Foundation exam typically consists of 40 multiple-choice questions to be completed within 60 minutes. However, the format and duration may vary depending on the examination institute administering the test.

How do I maintain my ITIL 4 Foundation Certification?

ITIL 4 Foundation Certification does not expire, so no renewal requirements exist. Once you have achieved the certification, it remains valid indefinitely.

What are the benefits of ITIL 4 Foundation Certification?

ITIL 4 Foundation Certification enhances your understanding of IT service management principles, making you better equipped to contribute to organizational goals and objectives. It also increases your marketability and opens up career opportunities in IT service management.


In conclusion, 591Lab’s study materials and expert support greatly improve the ITIL 4 certification journey. Thus, professionals master IT Service Management more effectively. Embracing new methodologies like Agile, DevOps, and Lean, ITIL 4 offers a holistic approach to service management tailored for the modern digital landscape. The certification pathway from foundational knowledge to specialized expertise in Managing Professional and Strategic Leader roles presents a clear trajectory for career development. With recent updates ensuring the syllabus’s relevance, ITIL 4 remains a crucial framework for IT professionals seeking to align IT services with business objectives effectively. Using 591Lab’s resources, professionals can easily master ITIL certification complexities. Consequently, they actively enhance their organizations’ success.


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