Why are the CBAP exam questions so friggin tricky?

Why are the CBAP exam questions so friggin tricky-Image Source: stockunlimited.com

CBAP Exam Questions

Aargghhh!!” I hear as several Accelerated CBAP course participants tackle some sample CBAP questions. “Why are these questions worded so confusingly?”

I glance over my spectacles and smile. I was asking the same questions not too long ago. It seems that it’s all because of some guy called Bloom.

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Mr Bloom, once upon a time, worked out that you could classify learning objectives as being cognitive, affective or psychomotor. And he created a taxonomy – which is just another way of saying “grouping”.

(Read more about Bloom’s Taxonomy here.)

Exam creators (and this includes the IIBA), the world around, love to use Mr Blooms taxonomy when they devise exam questions.

They especially like using the “cognitive” grouping, which contains six different levels…

Cognitive Levels

1. Knowledge – these are pretty straight-forward questions. Simple beasts, they have only one goal – to test your ability to know specific facts and recall information that you have learned.

E.g.: Which type of requirement typically describes high-level organizational needs?
A. Business
B. Stakeholder
C. Functional
D. Transition

Caution: Even though these appear relatively harmless, it does require coordinated use of a variety of neural structures.

2. Comprehension – These questions want to check how good you are at understanding facts and ideas by organizing, comparing, and interpreting

E.g.: What type of requirements contains the environmental conditions of the solution?
A. Transition requirements
B. Stakeholder requirements
C. Business requirements
D. Solution requirements

Caution: the same as for the Knowledge questions.

3. Application – questions of this nature want you to use your knowledge to solve problems.

E,g.: Transition requirements are typically prepared after which requirements document is completed?
A. Solution requirements
B. Stakeholder requirements
C. Business requirements
D. System requirements

Caution: These can sometimes mistaken for the slightly less harmless “knowledge question”. However, stay alert, and don’t be fooled.

4. Analysis – these beauties want you to recognize patterns and seek hidden meanings in the information you are provided.

E.g.: To capture the process of provisioning a circuit, the business analyst observed an ordering supervisor for half a day. The resulting information could then be incorporated into all of the following types of requirements EXCEPT:
A. Transition requirements
B. Solution requirements
C. Stakeholder requirements
D. Functional requirements

Cautionthese can be tricky little buggers. Make sure you read these questions carefully. They can sometimes throw you by including NOT or EXCEPT, as in the example above.

5. Synthesis – although sounding impressive, the synthesis question just wants to see if you can relate facts, and draw conclusions.

E.g.: After reviewing the existing process to approve a new cell phone order, Ginger realized that the senior manager is not always available to manually approve the purchase. She documented the capabilities that facilitate a faster ordering approval process relative to the existing situation. She felt that the existing process was inefficient and that it needed to be changed. What would be an appropriate way for Ginger to express the cause of the current cell phone ordering delays?
A. Blame the manual process for the inefficiencies
B. State all of the facts in a neutral manner
C. Express opinions on how to fix the process
D. Insist that approvers adhere to strict deadlines

Caution: These nasty little things like to confuse you by adding throwing lots of information at you which actually isn’t relevant. Don’t let this scare you, or distract you. Take a deep breath and focus…

6. Evaluation – A slightly less aggressive question, these expect you to make judgements about the value of ideas or materials.

E.g.: To document why your project was initiated, it is appropriate to include the:
A. Business case
B. Project mandate
C. Solution approach
D. Business goals

Caution: As with the other questions. Approach these carefully. No sudden movements (or guesses).

The 6 Types of IIBA Exam Questions Infographic

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A look at "A Navigator to Business Analysis"

Other Types of Questions

Yaaqub Mohammed (Yamo), in his book “The Ultimate CBAP-CCBA Study Guide“,  describes other types of questions:

  • Main idea questions: that test your knowledge and comprehension skills – what is the main use of . . . how does this function?
  • Inference questions: that test your ability to synthesize and evaluate scenarios – which of the following or what can be inferred from the scenario?
  • Implication questions: these test your ability to evaluate case scenarios or real world situations – what is implied by the following scenario?
  • Best-fit questions: that test your knowledge of business analysis and require evaluation and application – which method would be best to apply in such a situation?


Specific Question Types

Yamo goes further to list several specific question types:

Question Type Description
Activities contributing to a KA Descriptions of various tasks or activities in the tasks to identify a knowledge area.
Task Application Scenarios Real-world scenarios for how a task could be applied.
Outputs of Tasks Either direct description or an indirect mention of the output of a task.
Inputs of Tasks Usage of inputs referred with the names as-is or description of the inputs.
Stakeholders Involved/Invited Scenarios to identify which stakeholder need to be involved or is involved.
Role of a Stakeholder What is the role of the stakeholder in a given activity as applicable to a given task?
Purpose of a Task Why is a given task performed?
Outside of BABOK / General Knowledge General knowledge that you are expected to know as a business analyst. (These include Maslow, Tuckman’s model of group development, Motivation Theory, etc)
Real-World Application Scenarios Application scenarios where a real project scenario will be illustrated and a question from any aspect of the task or KA couldbe asked.
Techniques Usage Consideration Implied from the “Usage considerations” of a technique.
Techniques–Best Technique For Best technique for a given scenario (with indirect reference to a task).
Techniques–Elements Key considerations for a technique. Implied from the “Elements” section of a technique.
Requirements Attributes-Related Questions related to broadly used requirements attributes.
Skills Recognition in Underlying Competencies Scenarios or examples given to identify which competency a BA is exhibiting or is lacking.
Definition / Glossary Direct or indirect reference to definitions of terms in the glossary.
Requirements State Questions related to state of requirements.
Techniques in Tasks Which techniques would be used – direct or indirect through a real- world scenario with indirect mention of the task.
Exclusion type questions Usually a misleading question if not read carefully and often characterized by NOT identifying the negative of what is being described in the question.
The Next Step What should happen next in analysis – could be answered by applying experience and using the inputs/outputs that flow between tasks.
Knowledge Analysis
– Tricky questions,
– Confusing / misleading answer choices
Questions requiring careful reading .and analysis of the facts to arrive at the correct answer; Misleading answer choices or closely worded answer choices
Elements of Task Question related to key facets of a task directly asked or indirectly by the use of a real world scenario.


So…now you know…that’s why the CBAP questions are so friggin tricky.

 

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ME

Many thanks to Yamo and to the “CBAP/CCBA Certified Business Analysis
Study Guide” (for the question examples used above).

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