ISTQB® releases Certified Tester Foundation Level v4.0 (CTFL)


Today, 9th May 2023, the ISTQB® released version 4.0 of its Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL) certification following a successful vote for release at the recent ISTQB® General Assembly meeting in Wroclaw, Poland.

The new CTFL 4.0 certification is at the core of the ISTQB® Certified Tester scheme; it has been developed with industry demands and relevance to today’s approaches to software development and testing at the forefront of ISTQB’s thinking.

The new CTFL 4.0 release package includes:

  • The ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level Syllabus v4.0
  • The CTFL 4.0 Sample Exam (Questions and Answers - Set A v1.0)
  • The updated Exam Structure and Rules document v1.6

All documents are available for download at:

The ISTQB® Glossary has been updated to reflect the release of CTFL 4.0.

The content of the new syllabus addresses 14 Business Outcomes via 64 Learning Objectives.

It is important to note that accredited training providers will need to apply for accreditation (as stated in the CTFL 4.0 Accreditation Guidelines) if they wish to deliver training courses for CTFL 4.0 (note: trainers must hold either CTFL 4.0 or a previous version of CTFL plus the Certified Tester Agile Tester certification).

Holders of previous versions of the CTFL certification remain certified and no re-take is mandated but they might consider taking version 4.0 to attest to the updated skills covered in this new CTFL release.

Sunset dates for the CTFL 3.1 certification will be as follows:

  • English syllabus, exams and accredited training 9th May 2024
  • Other language syllabuses, exams and accredited training 9th November 2024

What does this ISTQB® CTFL v4.0 release mean?

● The v4.0 syllabus for CTFL will be the prevailing current version.

● For accredited training courses, the syllabus requires a minimum of 1135 minutes (18 hours and 55 minutes) of instruction, distributed across the six chapters.

● Training courses require accreditation of training materials, in accordance with the ISTQB® Accreditation Process and the CTFL Accreditation Guidelines.

Regarding this exciting release ISQTB® President Olivier Denoo stated:

Since the beginning of the ISTQB® certification scheme, never has such a change been undertaken at the heart of our flagship product Certified Tester Foundation Level. It took courage and determination to dare to rethink the cornerstone of the scheme that has served as a reference for testers for more than 20 years, without eroding the founding values that made it so successful and a globally recognized standard. The new syllabus is so much more than a simple update or a pooling of existing notions from the previous ISTQB® Foundation and Agile syllabuses, the new CTFL 4.0 syllabus is a total and deep redesign, integrating the most recent Agile concepts, together with the timeless basics from the art of software testing, but also some of the newest approaches preparing for the testing of tomorrow.

The syllabus that you have before you today was developed with a modern and holistic approach, with all the care of an international multidisciplinary team, composed of field testers, trainers and members of the academic world, in respect of the ISTQB® values.

Before being submitted to the public, it went through multiple rounds of review and approval, incorporating at each stage hundreds of comments and remarks from all walks of life, whether geographical, industrial or field-based. I would like to thank all those who have helped move our great profession one step closer to the future. I am very proud of the content of this brand new syllabus that prepares testers for the future challenges that await them, without any compromise on quality. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed developing it”.

Product Owner and Chair of the ISTQB® Foundation Level Working Group, Eric Riou du Cosquer, stated:

“The software development world keeps changing with new technologies and methods. Systems are more and more complex and implementing efficient software testing activities is more important than ever. Iterative software development is now mainstream though the sequential models still applies in some industries. After a heavy period of work, including multiple meetings with our international team of authors and reviewers, we are now very pleased to release this totally new version of the ISTQB® Foundation Level Syllabus”.

Product Owner and Chair of the ISTQB® Agile Working Group, Michaël Pilaeten stated:

“I’m proud that we have managed to write a comprehensive syllabus, that encompasses the best test practices and techniques of both the traditional development models (waterfall, V-model) and more dynamic approaches (Agile, DevOps).

The new CTFL 4.0 syllabus can and should serve as a compass and a toolkit for everyone involved in testing, regardless of location, background and experience. In line with today’s market, we have elevated testing from a range of activities typically performed in silos, to a collaborative team approach, where quality is the quintessential word.

I would like to thank the core team of authors, the technical editors and the reviewers for all their hard work. This diverse, 130-person strong team really gave their best within a tight schedule, whilst respecting the quality objectives that we put forward. I am convinced the new CTFL 4.0 syllabus will help empowering agile transformation”.

Thank you to all who have supported this syllabus.

It was produced by a team from the ISTQB® joint Foundation Level & Agile Working Groups: Laura Albert, Renzo Cerquozzi (vice chair), Wim Decoutere, Klaudia Dussa-Zieger, Chintaka Indikadahena, Arnika Hryszko, Martin Klonk, Kenji Onishi, Michaël Pilaeten (co-chair), Meile Posthuma, Gandhinee Rajkomar, Stuart Reid, Eric Riou du Cosquer (co-chair), Jean-François Riverin, Adam Roman, Lucjan Stapp, Stephanie Ulrich (vice chair), Eshraka Zakaria.

The team thanks Stuart Reid, Patricia McQuaid and Leanne Howard for their technical review and the review team and the Member Boards for their suggestions and input.

In addition, the core team would like to acknowledge and thank the leaders and members of the Working Groups for their early and ongoing guidance: Galit Zucker (General Secretary), Matthias Hamburg and Gary Mogyorodi (Member, Glossary Working Group), Klaus Skafte (Chair, Exam Working Group) and Sebastian Małyska (Chair, Marketing Working Group) and his team Abby, Ada, Agota, Debbie & Sarah.

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