Hello all, apologies for the lack activity recently. I’d thought provide a quick summary of my experiences of becoming Archimate certified. So here goes…

Certification (like TOGAF) can be achieved by taking two exams known as part 1 and part 2. Part 1 of the exam is known as the foundation, and is composed of 40 multiple choice questions based on the Archimate standard. Part 2 of the exam which is known as the certified exam is comprised of 8 multiple choice questions which require you to apply the knowledge of Archimate to a case study.

Resources and Recommendations

I used a mix of study techniques to become certified. There seems to be less resources available for Archimate certification than there are for the TOGAF exam (perhaps there is potential for someone to create some examples). I was unable to track down any practice tests other than The Open Group official practice tests. This was in contrast to TOGAF where they are a number of practice tests available. I used a combination of the Pocket Guide, Study Guide and signed up for a dedicated Archimate course provided by QA. This course included the combined certificate exam at the end of the course.

My recommendation would be to purchase the pocket guide, familiarise yourself with the concepts and then purchase the study guide after which has example tests. The other resource I used extensively were the excellent Mastering Archimate by Gerben Weirda, particularly the initial few chapters.

Learning/Revision Techniques

I started revising a good couple of weeks before the exam to ensure that I was well versed in the concepts and could hit the ground running with respect to the course. I used a combination of revision techniques including writing out facts repeatedly and flash cards (lots of flashcards).

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I think producing flash cards, is definitely the correct strategy to use given the lack of testing resources on the web. Archimate is visual in nature so trying to connect the symbol with the definition and vice versa help out tremendously in learning the concepts and visual nature of the notation.

I also memorised a few acronyms to learn a couple of the key aspects of the exam. I used the acronym C A A S R U A or “Complete Architects Always Suggest Rational Understandable and Achievable strategies” which equates to Composition Aggregation Assignment Specialisation Realisation Used By Association to remember the precedence order of structural relationships. Another handy tip which might help people with respect to derived relationships (as the Archimate standard isn’t the easiest to understand) is that the weakest relationship within the aforementioned precedence order is the derived relationship.

I’d also recommend you familiarise yourself with the Archimate standard document for Part 2 of the exam, as it is helpful that you know your way around the standard if required.

Course

As mentioned previously, I attended the course IT Architecture Modelling Using Archimate 2 provided QA. I’ve used QA before, so I know what to expect. The course, materials and training facilities were excellent. The practical side of the course was delivered via Archi, which is free; so if anyone is wondering what tool to use if you’re just starting to use Archimate then I’d suggest you use that and consider donating. The course was delivered by Ed Walters who was really knowledgeable and able to answer any additional questions I had about Archimate and the industry as a whole. If you have the budget to go on the course, I’d recommend it. The course also included the combined exam at the end of the course.

Exam

As mentioned previously, the exam is over 2 parts. Part 1 is 40 multiple choice questions and part 2 is 8 case study questions, with weighted marks. 5 for the top answer, 3 for the next best answer, 1 for the next best answer and 0 for the distractor.

For the first part of the exam, I found the testing software a little temperamental, a couple of times it froze which meant I lost around 5-10 minutes of my hourly time which luckily I didn’t need. My suggestion to prometric would be try and improve the testing software as when incidents such as these happen it doesn’t stop your exam time. Like the TOGAF exam, I utilised an iterative approach in that I went through the exam once, marked all the questions I wasn’t sure on, and then repeated until I had no questions marked. All in all, I did 3 repetitions and had around 10 minutes left.

I utilised a slightly different approach for part 2. My recommendation for anyone taking part 2 is to not even read the case study initially, but look for the distractor answer on each question and work out what the potential answer might be based on the diagram. You can usually work out what the answer is without reading the full case study by looking at the elements and behaviours in use. When you have speculative answers for most of the questions, then read case study fully and ensure your speculative answer aligns with the case study. Then check your answers repeatedly until you’re happy with your answers.

Result

I achieved 95% on Part 1 of the exam and 100% on Part 2 of the exam. I was surprised by the results if I’m honest. I think I dropped marks on a couple of the ambigious part 1 questions that you always seem to encounter on these multiple choice questions.

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Closing Thoughts

Hopefully this helps those of you out there with respect to becoming Archimate certified. I’d say the main conclusion I’d take from becoming certified is there is a lack of practical examples out there to actually apply Archimate. There needs to be more resources for applying Archimate practically rather than reading Archimate. In subsequent blog posts I’ll try and provide some case studies for people to try along with model answers which might help people out.

Until then… That’s all for now…