BECOME A CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL FOR SOFTWARE ARCHITECTURE-FOUNDATION LEVEL (CPSA‑F®)
Foundation Level Exam
As with all CPSA® certifications, the Foundation Level Exam (CPSA‑F®) is conducted by independent certification bodies. The basis for this is a demanding, non-public catalog of questions developed by the iSAQB in accordance with the curriculum, from which a subset is selected as examination questions.
Types of examinations of the CPSA-Foundation Level (CPSA‑F®)
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there different examination conditions for non-native speakers?
In case the examination language is not your mother tongue, the duration of the examination can be extended to 90 minutes (net). Please indicate this when registering with the certification body.
Are there different examination conditions for the visually impaired?
In case you are profoundly visually impaired the duration of the examination can be extended to 90 minutes (net). Questions and possible answers can be read to you by the examiner. Please mention this when registering with the certification body.
How can I find a certification body for the CPSA exam?
You can find all information about the certification bodies here.
How does the certification examination for CPSA‑F (Foundation Level) work?
The actual CPSA‑F examination consists of a multiple-choice test of approx. 75 minutes in which you will be required to answer roughly 40 questions (as the number of points allocated to individual questions varies and questions are randomized, the exact number of questions can vary, depending on which questions are drawn). You will be awarded points for every correct answer, and you will need to achieve 60% of the examination’s maximum possible points score in order to pass.
Candidates usually attend licensed training courses in order to prepare for this examination, but in terms of formal requirements you could also complete the examination without having taken part in any training.
The examination will be carried out by a licensed certification body – which will also be in charge of assessment and necessary formalities. This organization will then provide you with your examination result, usually within a week of completion of the examination, and also your official CPSA‑F certificate if you have passed the examination.
How long is a successfully completed CPSA certification valid?
A CPSA certification is valid for life, just like a university degree.
I failed the CPSA-Foundation Level exam. Can I repeat it?
The CPSA-Foundation Level exam can be repeated several times without any waiting period.
I have lost my certificate. Can it be reissued?
If your certificate has been lost, you can contact the certification body that took your exam or the iSAQB. Generally, you can request a copy of your certificate within 10 years after the date of the exam.
May I call myself “Software Architect” after passing the exam?
The CPSA certification is not a vocational qualification, but a proof of knowledge in the field of software architecture. The iSAQB is not entitled to award vocational qualifications, so we propose you call yourself “Certified Professional for Software Architecture by iSAQB” after passing the exam.
In Germany it is unclear if it is legally allowed to call oneself “Software Architect”. We recommend you inform yourself about the laws regarding the vocational qualifications in your country.
What is the difference between a certification body and a training provider?
The iSAQB has stipulated that there be a formal and organizational separation between training course providers and certification bodies – hence these two different roles. Training course providers offer training, courses, workshops in order to prepare you for the CPSA‑F examination for instance, or your CPSA‑A examination project.
Certification bodies organize the CPSA‑F and CPSA‑A examination – but must not offer any training or seminars in this area themselves.
Which requirements must I fulfil to access Foundation Level certification?
Participants should have the following knowledge and/or experience:
- At least 18 months of practical experience in software development, acquired by programming various projects or systems outside of education.
- Knowledge of and practical experience in at least one higher programming language.
- Basics of modelling and abstraction.
- Basics of UML (class, package, component and sequence diagrams) and their relation to source code.
- Practical experience in technical documentation, especially in the documentation of source code, system designs or technical concepts.
Helpful for the understanding of some concepts are also:
- Knowledge of object orientation
- Practical experience in at least one object-oriented programming language
- Practical experience in the design and implementation of distributed applications, such as client/server systems or web applications
We consider it useful to prepare for the CPSA‑F exam by attending an accredited training course – but in general you can also take a CPSA‑F exam without training.
Advanced Level – Examination Rules
Curriculum Foundation Level
Curriculum of the Foundation Level with all learning goals and terms for the individual chapters.
Curriculum versions available:
English version: 2021.1‑EN
Deutsche Version: 2021.1‑DE
Versione Italiana: 2019.2‑IT
Versión en Español: 2019.2‑ES
Foundation Level – Examination Rules
This document contains general rules regarding the CPSA-Foundation Level examination. It provides information on duration, types of questions, scoring, privacy, and confidentiality agreements. Short examples of question types are provided.
Foundation Level – Mock Exam Answers
Foundation Level – Mock Exam Questions
Glossary of Software Architecture Terminology
The iSAQB Glossary covers the basic terminology of software architecture. The glossary is available in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazil), and Spanish. Additional languages are in preparation. Please note that only the English version contains a detailed explanation of all terms.