Skip to content

Foundation Level Exam

As with all CPSA® certi­fi­ca­tions, the Foundation Level Exam (CPSA‑F®) is conducted by independent certi­fying 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®)


Remote/Online exam:  You can conduct a remote/online exam at home on your home PC.


Exam after classroom training:  The CPSA‑F® exams are often taken directly after the classroom training by a training provider. Only iSAQB-accredited training providers and Academic Partners are allowed to offer this type of exami­nation. The exami­nation is conducted in paper form or with a tablet PC. Please note that not every training provider offers an exami­nation after the classroom training, as the type of exami­nation is handled individ­ually. Partic­i­pants may have to register for the CPSA‑F® exam indepen­dently with one of our certification partners after the training, for example for the remote/online exam.


Public exam: Dates and locations for public CPSA‑F® exams can be obtained from the certification author­ities or booked directly on their websites.


Exam in test centers: You can take a CPSA‑F® exam at PEARSON VUE and PROMETRIC test centers in over 190 countries worldwide. Please see the bottom of this page for more information.

Prepa­ration for the exam

To prepare for the Foundation Level exam, partic­i­pation in classroom or online training from an iSAQB® Accredited Training Provider is highly recom­mended. An accredited CPSA‑F® training course usually lasts three to four days, and covers all relevant topics of the exam.

However, it is also possible to take the CPSA‑F® exam without attending a Foundation Level training course. We recommend the following liter­ature for independent exam preparation:

Regis­tration for the exam

Exami­na­tions can be booked directly with the certi­fying bodies licensed by the iSAQB. The prices for exam regis­tra­tions vary from country to country. Currently, exams are available in English, German, Italian, and Spanish.

Exami­nation procedure

The current CPSA‑F® exam consists of a multiple-choice exam of about 75 minutes duration, in which you have to answer about 40 questions. The exact number can vary due to a random drawing of questions with different scores. You will be awarded points for each correct answer, and to pass the exam you need 60 percent of the maximum possible score.

Exams are conducted by recog­nized certification bodies. They evaluate the exam and usually inform you about your exam result within one to two weeks after the exam. If you success­fully pass the exam, you will receive your official CPSA‑F® certificate.

Additional Information

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.

Is the iSAQB respon­sible for the quality of its training providers’ CPSA trainings?

The iSAQB operates an elaborate quality assurance system with regard to its training providers, CPSA trainings, and trainers. Our aim is to ensure a consis­tently high training standard for all CPSA training courses worldwide. However, despite extensive accred­i­tation processes, the iSAQB assumes no liability for the quality of trainings provided by its accredited training partners. Furthermore, the iSAQB assumes no liability for the results of CPSA examinations.

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.


Curriculum Foundation Level

Curriculum of the Foundation Level with all learning goals and terms for the individual chapters.

English Version [pdf]

Deutsche Version [pdf]

Versione Italiana [pdf]

Versión en Español [pdf]

Versão em Português [pdf]

中文版 [pdf]

Stay Up-to-Date with the iSAQB® Newsletter!

Scroll To Top