What is the ECBA Certification?

Rob SnowdenTue, 03/14/2017 - 18:06

The ECBATM is the new Entry Certification for Business Analysis which does not require any experience, but does require 21 educational units related to the BA profession.  It’s for people new to the BA profession, or do not have enough experience to qualify for the CCBATM or CBAPTM certifications.

How much do you need to know?  It’s only 50 questions on a one hour test.

One good thing is that you do not need to go to a testing center if your PC has a working camera and microphone.  The IIBA® provides 5 sample questions on their site and gives broad guidelines on the knowledge level required. 


Some of these questions are straightforward and probably could be answered without looking at the BABOK®.  Others require BABOK® knowledge.  How many new BA’s would be able to answer the last question unless they had some familiarity with the terminology?

The IIBA® also provides the “Exam Blueprint” which shows the distribution of the questions by various sections of the BABOK® shown below.


The problem is that even though a particular section may have only a few questions, the IIBA® says you need to have a high level understanding about a lot of things in that section.  And that’s a little BABOK® knowledge about a lot of things.  So, you certainly don’t need to study to the depth needed for the CCBATM or CBAPTM, it is clear that you need to be aware of many topics, terminology, techniques, and the various elements contained in the BABOK®.  You can’t depend on your general knowledge about BA topics and get through the test.  And you need to be somewhat familiar with the definitions in the Glossary of the BABOK®.   In their guidelines, for example, the last section above, “Solution Evaluation”, for which there is, at most, going to be one question on the test, the IIBA® still shows you need the same general level of understanding of many topics held within that Knowledge Area.

Within the Knowledge Areas, for example, are a series of “Elements” (key concepts for understanding how to perform each Task in the Knowledge Areas) each of which 1s a paragraph or two that explains what that Element is concerning.  The IIBA® guide says you need to have an understanding of those Elements.  That is a lot of reading and understanding for answering a few questions that might be taken from anywhere within those Elements.

So, on one hand, even if you read through the 500 page BABOK® V3 (and those are big pages), how do you know which things to dismiss and which to remember?   On the other hand, not looking at the BABOK at all would be a recipe for failure.

So what is the best route to prepare for the exam?

One option is to take a one day prep course in person, or a 3 half day virtual prep course.  With the ASPE ECBATM Prep Course, the BABOK® is boiled down to the level needed.  It is still a lot of information, but it is based on what the IIBA® says is needed to be understood.  All the sections in the BABOK® are boiled down to the essence.  On one hand, you may be over prepared, but on the other hand, it still makes it more understandable than attempting to extract it from the BABOK®.  Included in the course are practice questions throughout, plus a Study Guide with questions, answers and BABOK® references.  After taking the course, it is recommended to use the Study Guide to drill your knowledge, understand where your weaknesses are in knowledge and in test-taking mistakes (didn’t read the question carefully, didn’t take the time to carefully read each possible answer, etc.) review the class information repeatedly, and to study the Glossary.