CaSTB - Czech and Slovak Testing Board

ISTQB® CTFL v4.0 Syllabus - An Exciting Milestone in Software Testing

Article published by Petr Neugebauer, on 19.7.2023

The ISTQB® Foundation Level Syllabus 4.0 was launched on May 9th, becoming the anticipated new global standard in software testing. As the new syllabus marks an exciting milestone in the field, we are delighted to present the key changes and advancements it brings.


Welcome to this comprehensive blog post, where we explore the fundamental changes and advancements brought about by the ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL) syllabus version 4.0. This highly anticipated update, released on May 9th, 2023, signifies an exciting milestone in software testing, enhancing the skills of professionals worldwide and paving the way for excellence in the field.
The new ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL) certification is the cornerstone of essential testing knowledge that can be applied to real-world scenarios. Syllabus v4.0 is based on the Foundation Level v3.1 and the Agile Tester 2014 syllabi, featuring fewer Learning Objectives (LOs) and more extensive references to classic and respected books and articles on software testing and related topics.
Whether you are a candidate aspiring to earn the CTFL v4.0 certification or a training provider looking to update your materials and courses, this updated syllabus promises to enhance your skills and understanding in software testing, setting the stage for a successful and rewarding career in this dynamic domain.
Throughout this article, we will provide essential exam preparation tips, ensuring candidates are well-equipped to succeed in the CTFL v4.0 certification. Let's embark on this journey of discovery and embrace the advancements that CTFL v4.0 brings to the realm of software testing.

Understanding the ISTQB® CTFL v4.0 Certification

The ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL) certification is an essential entry-level certification offered by the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB). This globally recognized certification validates a candidate's understanding of fundamental software testing principles, processes, and techniques, making it a crucial stepping stone for individuals aspiring to build a career in software testing.
The CTFL v4.0 certification marks a significant update from its predecessor, the CTFL 3.1, with new testing concepts and an extensive focus on risk-based testing. The syllabus now includes new topics like agile testing, usability testing, and risk-based testing, making it more relevant to today's software development and testing practices.
As software delivery approaches evolve, the CTFL 4.0 certification remains relevant across various methodologies, including Agile, Waterfall, and DevOps, emphasizing continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous testing. This adaptability ensures that professionals certified under CTFL v4.0 are well-equipped to handle diverse testing challenges in modern software projects.
With 84 Learning Objectives (LOs), the CTFL v4.0 syllabus boasts more chapters and detailed learning objectives than the CTFL 3.1 syllabus. The LOs also focus on higher-level thinking skills (K2 and K3), providing candidates with a more comprehensive understanding of software testing concepts and practices.

Key Changes to the ISTQB® CTFL v4.0 Syllabus

The CTFL v4.0 syllabus update brings several significant changes to the certification program, highlighting the importance of collaboration, better estimation, and defining quality gates.
The fundamental changes introduced in the CTFL v4.0 syllabus reflect the ISTQB's commitment to staying at the forefront of advancements in software testing. These updates prepare candidates to tackle the challenges of modern software development projects while maintaining a solid foundation in fundamental testing principles.
In the next section, we will explore the specific changes in Learning Objectives (LOs) between the CTFL 3.1 and CTFL v4.0 syllabi, providing an in-depth understanding of the updates and their implications for aspiring candidates.

Chapter Content What’s new/updated? (Versus v3)
Chapter 1: Fundamentals of Testing
  • What is Testing?
  • Why is Testing Necessary?
  • Testing Principles
  • Test Activities, Testware and Test Roles
  • Essential Skills and Good Practices in Testing
  • Other Objectives
  • Testing is an activity or role
  • Changed Skillset
  • Whole Team Approach
Chapter 2: Testing Throughout the SDLC
  • Testing in the Context of an SDLC
  • Test Levels and Test Types
  • Maintenance Testing
  • Impact of different SDLCs
  • Test First Approach
  • DevOps;
  • Shift-left Approach;
  • Retrospectives
Chapter 3: Static Testing
  • Static Testing Basics
  • Feedback & Reviews Process
  • Frequent Feedback Mechanism
  • Avoid instead of detect
Chapter 4: Test Analysis and Design
  • Test Techniques Overview
  • Black-box Test Techniques
  • White-box Test Techniques
  • Experience-based Test Techniques
  • Collaboration-based Test Approaches
  • Branch Testing
  • Checklist-based Testing
  • Writing User Stories
  • Writing Acceptance Criteria
  • Using ATDD
Chapter 5: Managing the Test Activities
  • Test Planning
  • Risk Management
  • Test Monitoring, Test Control & Test Completion
  • Configuration Management
  • Defect Management
  • Release Planning
  • Iteration Planning
  • Estimation Techniques
  • Test Pyramid
  • Testing Quadrants
Chapter 6: Testing Tools
  • Tool Support for Testing
  • Benefits and Risks of Test Automation
  • DevOps Tools
  • Collaboration Tools

Changes in Business Objectives (BOs) and Learning Objectives (LOs)

The ISTQB® Foundation Level Syllabus v4.0 is a significant update based on the Foundation Level v3.1.1 and the Agile Tester 2014 syllabi. In this version, every Business Outcome (BO) and Learning Objective (LO) has been thoroughly evaluated and revamped or reworded. New BOs and LOs have also been identified and added to this syllabus version. The knowledge levels of the LOs were assessed and adapted as applicable, ensuring a comprehensive and up-to-date approach to software testing.
The updated syllabus aims to create one-to-one traceability between LOs and syllabus sections, ensuring each section contains content linked to specific Learning Objectives. This approach enhances readability, understanding, and practical usefulness, balancing knowledge and skills.
The revised ISTQB® CTFL v4.0 syllabus features the following Business Objectives:
  1. Understand what testing is and why it is beneficial
  2. Understand fundamental concepts of software testing
  3. Identify the test approach and activities to be implemented depending on the context of testing
  4. Assess and improve the quality of documentation
  5. Increase the effectiveness and efficiency of testing
  6. Align the test process with the software development lifecycle
  7. Understand test management principles
  8. Write and communicate clear and understandable defect reports
  9. Understand the factors that influence the priorities and efforts related to testing
  10. Work as part of a cross-functional team
  11. Know risks and benefits related to test automation
  12. Identify essential skills required for testing
  13. Understand the impact of risk on testing
  14. Effectively report on test progress and quality
In this version, all LOs have been edited to make them atomic, and the syllabus ensures one-to-one traceability between LOs and syllabus sections, avoiding content without corresponding Learning Objectives. This approach makes the CTFL v4.0 syllabus easier to read, understand, learn, and translate, enhancing its practical usefulness.

The Foundation Level v4.0 syllabus comprises the following LOs in each knowledge level (K1, K2, and K3) compared to the Foundation v3.1.1 and Agile v2014 syllabi:

  • 14 K1 LOs compared with 21 LOs in FL v3.1.1 (15) and AT 2014 (6)
  • 42 K2 LOs compared with 53 LOs in FL v3.1.1 (40) and AT 2014 (13)
  • 8 K3 LOs compared with 15 LOs in FL v3.1.1 (7) and AT 2014 (8)
These changes in BOs and LOs ensure that the CTFL v4.0 certification addresses the most relevant and updated aspects of software testing, equipping candidates with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in their careers. In the following sections, we will explore the validity of CTFL exams, essential exam preparation tips, and the localization of the CTFL v4.0 syllabus.

Validity of ISTQB® CTFL Exams

As you plan your certification journey, it's crucial to understand the validity of both the ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL) 3.1 and CTFL 4.0 exams, as well as the availability of the CTFL Agile Tester extension. Here's what you need to know.

CTFL 3.1 and CTFL 4.0 Exam Availability:
  • The ISTQB® CTFL 3.1 and ISTQB® CTFL 4.0 exams will be available in English until May 09th, 2023, and until November 09th, 2024, in Czech and Slovak.
  • Syllabus version CTFL 3.1 (2018), along with training and exams in English, will only be available until May 9th, 2024.
  • Non-English syllabi (Czech and Slovak translations), training, and exams for the 3.1 version will be available until November 9th, 2024.
  • CTFL 4.0 exams in English will be available from September 1st, 2023, and the date for exams in Czech and Slovak will be announced as soon as possible (depending on syllabus and glossary translations), with an expected feasibility of October 1st, 2023.
CTFL-AT Exam Availability:
  • The CTFL Agile Tester extension will be available without any limitation, and holders of CTFL 3.1 (and previous) certification can take this exam to continue with Advanced Level certifications in the Agile Stream.
Validity of Previous Certifications:
  • If you hold the CTFL 3.1 (and previous versions) of the ISTQB® Foundation Level certificate, rest assured that your certification remains valid. There is no mandate for re-taking the exam. However, considering the significant updates in the CTFL v4.0 syllabus, you might find it beneficial to consider taking the version 4.0 exam to enhance your knowledge and skills.
  • CTFL 4.0 certification holders will meet prerequisites for ISTQB® Advanced Level Core, ISTQB® Advanced Level Agile (without the necessity of CTFL Agile Tester certification), and Specialist certifications, opening up further opportunities for career advancement within the ISTQB certification program.
  • CTFL 3.1 certification holders will meet prerequisites for ISTQB® Advanced Level Core and Specialist certifications.
  • If CTFL 3.1 certification holders want to pursue any ISTQB® Advanced Level Agile Stream certification, they must first pass the CTFL Agile Tester extension or CTFL 4.0.
Accredited Training Providers:
  • Accredited training providers must apply for accreditation according to the CTFL 4.0 Accreditation Guidelines to deliver training courses for the updated syllabus.
  • Trainers must hold CTFL 4.0 or a previous version of CTFL, along with the Certified Tester Agile Tester certification.
Understanding the validity of exams and their opportunities will help you make informed decisions on your certification path. Let's explore essential exam preparation tips and the advancements introduced by the CTFL v4.0 syllabus, further empowering your journey in software testing.

Preparing for the CTFL v4.0 Exam

To ensure you are well-prepared for the ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL) v4.0 certification exam, we recommend the following steps:
  1. Study the Updated Syllabus: Thoroughly review the CTFL v4.0 syllabus, which serves as your roadmap for the exam. Familiarize yourself with the new topics, business outcomes (BOs), and learning objectives (LOs) incorporated in this version.
  2. Utilize Recommended Reading Materials: Supplement your preparation by exploring extensive references from classic and respected books and articles on software testing and related topics mentioned in the CTFL v4.0 syllabus. These reading materials provide valuable insights and a deeper understanding of the concepts.
  3. Understand Topics in Detail: Since CTFL v4.0 merges two syllabi, information is much more dense, leaving less room for detailed explanations in the syllabus. So make sure you understand every topic and paragraph in the syllabus.  
  4. Take Advantage of Sample Questions and Mock Exams: ISTQB provides sample questions and mock exams to help you assess your knowledge and readiness for the CTFL v4.0 certification. These practice tests familiarize you with the exam format and time constraints, allowing you to identify areas that may require further attention.
  5. Consider Accredited Training Courses: The best way to prepare for the CTFL v4.0 exam is by enrolling in accredited training courses. Accredited training providers offer courses with materials approved by the ISTQB board, ensuring high-quality content. Trainers are verified for their competencies and provide valuable explanations and real-world examples.
  6. Emphasize Agile Testing Concepts: With the inclusion of agile testing in the CTFL v4.0 syllabus, focus on understanding how testing integrates with agile development methodologies. Accredited training courses often emphasize agile testing principles and practices, helping you grasp these concepts effectively.
  7. Collaborate and Discuss: Engage with fellow candidates, colleagues, or study groups to share knowledge and discuss testing concepts. Collaborative learning can enhance your understanding, clarify doubts, and provide multiple perspectives on various topics.
  8. Manage Exam Time: Practice time management during your study sessions and mock exams. The CTFL v4.0 certification exam is time-constrained, so being able to manage your time efficiently is crucial.
  9. Stay Updated and Practice Regularly: Keep up with the latest developments in software testing by following industry publications, forums, and online communities. Regularly practice sample questions and revisit the syllabus to reinforce your knowledge.
Accredited training courses offer several benefits, such as approved study materials, expert guidance from qualified trainers, interactive learning experiences, and official recognition by the ISTQB board. To find accredited training providers near you, visit our page: Accredited Training Providers.

By following these exam preparation tips and considering accredited training, you will be well-equipped to confidently take on the ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level v4.0 exam. Now, let's move forward to the next chapter, where we will explore the localization of the CTFL v4.0 syllabus and acknowledge the dedicated efforts of authors and reviewers in bringing this updated syllabus to life.

Localization of the CTFL v4.0 Syllabus

The ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL) v4.0 syllabus has been developed as a global standard, but it is essential to provide localized versions to cater to candidates from different regions. The localization process involves translating the syllabus, mock exams, and glossary terms into local languages while maintaining the integrity and accuracy of the content.

Czech and Slovak Testing Board (CaSTB) is responsible for translating the CTFL v4.0 syllabus, mock exams, and glossary terms into Czech and Slovak languages. The process is meticulously undertaken to ensure that the translated versions effectively convey the same concepts and knowledge as the original syllabus.

While the translation process is a challenging endeavor, it plays a pivotal role in enabling candidates from Czech and Slovak regions to access the CTFL v4.0 certification in their native languages. It enhances the learning experience, allowing candidates to comprehend the material more effectively and perform better in the exam.

As with any localization effort, the process requires time and careful scrutiny to ensure accuracy and consistency. CaSTB, along with the dedicated translators, strives to deliver the translated versions as promptly as possible.

We expect the Czech version of the ISTQB CTFL 4.0 Syllabus BETA version to be available in August 2023, and the final version to be available at the beginning of September 2023.

CTFL 4.0 certifications in Czech will start by the end of September 2023, and Sample Exam Questions in Czech will be available by the end of September 2023.

For candidates in Slovakia, we anticipate the ISTQB CTFL 4.0 Syllabus final version and Sample Exam Questions to be available by the end of October 2023. CTFL 4.0 certifications in Slovak will start by the end of November 2023.

Accreditation of training providers for English materials will start on August 1st, 2023. For Czech materials, accreditation will begin on September 1st, 2023, and for Slovak materials, it will start on November 1st, 2023.

The timely availability of localized syllabi and exams ensures that candidates in Czech and Slovak regions can take full advantage of the updated CTFL v4.0 certification and embark on their journey to become certified software testing professionals.

Foundation Level v4.0 Exam Structure

  • The Foundation Level v4.0 certification exam is held in paper form and remotely(online) in English starting September 1st, 2023.
  • The Foundation Level v4.0 certification exam is held in paper form and remotely(online) in Czech and Slovak, beginning November 1st, 2023.
  • Exam takers must answer 40 multiple-choice questions.
  • The passing score sits at 65%, and the exam duration is 60 minutes, extended by 25% for non-native speakers to 75 minutes.

Pricing of ISTQB® CTFL 4.0 Certification

As the ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL) v4.0 syllabus is introduced, it's essential to be aware of the pricing changes for the certification. The cost of the CTFL 4.0 certification is set at 3600 CZK / 150 EUR. While this may appear higher than the previous CTFL 3.1 certification, it's essential to consider the new certification's comprehensive benefits.
The ISTQB CTFL 4.0 certification replaces the CTFL 3.1 and the CTFL Agile Tester extensions, each priced at 3000 CZK / 120 EUR. By combining these certifications into a single CTFL 4.0 certification, candidates can now access a broader, more up-to-date knowledge base at a discounted overall cost. This change ultimately saves costs for those pursuing the new CTFL 4.0 certification.
With the enhanced content and updated syllabus of CTFL v4.0, candidates will be better prepared for real-world testing scenarios and equipped with the latest industry insights.
Investing in this updated certification opens the door to broader opportunities for career growth and advancement in software testing.
As the CTFL v4.0 exams become available, candidates can make an informed decision about their certification journey, considering both the benefits of the new syllabus and the cost savings achieved through consolidating previous certifications.

CaSTB offers a 50% discount on CTFL 4.0 certification for holders of older versions of CTFL certificates. 

Prepare to take your software testing skills to new heights with the ISTQB CTFL 4.0 certification and embrace the opportunities it brings for professional development and success in the dynamic software testing world.

Authors and Reviewers of the CTFL v4.0 Syllabus: Acknowledging the Contributions

Creating the ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL) v4.0 syllabus was a collaborative effort involving numerous professionals from the software testing community worldwide. These dedicated individuals, including authors, reviewers, and subject matter experts, contributed their time, expertise, and passion to shape and refine the updated syllabus, making it a comprehensive and relevant resource for aspiring software testers.
The valuable input from the Czech and Slovak Testing Board (CaSTB) members, including Petr Neugebauer, Miroslav Renda, and Karol Frühauf as reviewers, has significantly contributed to creating the new syllabus.
The core team responsible for the Czech translation of the CTFL v4.0 syllabus includes David Janota, Petr Neugebauer, and Lukáš Piška. For the Slovak translation, Robert Dankanin and Karol Frühauf played instrumental roles. Their commitment to delivering accurate and high-quality translations ensures that candidates from the Czech and Slovak regions can access the syllabus in their native languages.


The ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level (CTFL) v4.0 syllabus significantly advances software testing education and certification. With its comprehensive coverage of software testing concepts and incorporation of new topics such as agile testing, usability testing, and risk-based testing, the updated syllabus equips candidates with essential knowledge and skills applicable to real-world scenarios. 
The ISTQB® CTFL v4.0 certification is not just a standalone achievement; it serves as a stepping stone for higher-level certifications within the ISTQB program, opening up new opportunities for career advancement. With the CTFL 4.0 certification, professionals can pursue the ISTQB® Advanced Level Core, ISTQB® Advanced Level Agile, and Specialist certifications, further enhancing their expertise in specific testing areas.
To best prepare for the CTFL v4.0 exam, we recommend considering accredited training courses offered by reputable providers. Accredited courses ensure you receive high-quality, up-to-date training materials and that trainers are verified for their competencies. The ISTQB board accredits the course materials, ensuring their alignment with the latest syllabus.
For candidates in the Czech and Slovak regions, the CTFL v4.0 syllabus will be available before the end of 2023.

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