Text size: A A A

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
Please select from the categories below to read FAQs relating to each of our qualification schemes.

ISO/IEC 20000 FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is ISO/IEC 20000?

    ISO/IEC 20000 is the international standard for IT service management and allows organizations to prove best practice in their IT management.

    ISO/IEC 20000 was released in 2005 based on the ITIL® best practice framework and updated in 2011. Worldwide, the adoption of ISO/IEC20000 has grown rapidly and it has become a competitive differentiator for delivery of IT services.

    ISO/IEC 20000 can be used:

    • By businesses that are going out to tender for their services
    • To provide a consistent approach by all service providers in a supply chain
    • To benchmark IT service management
    • As the basis for an independent assessment
    • To demonstrate the ability to meet customer requirements
    • To improve services.

    ISO/IEC 20000 promotes the adoption of an integrated process approach to effectively deliver managed services to meet the business and customer requirements. For an organization to function effectively it has to identify and manage numerous linked activities. Activities using resources are managed in order to enable the transformation of inputs into outputs and can be considered as a process.

    The APMG-International website has resources for individuals and organizations wanting to find out more about ISO/IEC 20000. Go to:

    Back to Top

  • How can I train for the ISO/IEC 20000 examinations?

    Training for ISO/IEC 20000 is available from the network of Accredited Training Organizations (ATOs) – who are assessed and certified by APMG-International. Individuals can be certified through foundation, practitioner and auditor exams.

    The full list of ISO/IEC 20000 ATOs can be found at:

    Business certification to ISO/IEC 20000 is through Registered Certification Bodies or RCBs. For more information about our ISO/IEC 20000 Organizational Certification Scheme and a full listing of Registered Certification Bodies (RCBs), visit our dedicated website at:

    Back to Top

  • Do I have to receive training to sit the exam?

    In addition to receiving accredited training, individuals also have the option of self-study to prepare for the Foundation and Practitioner examinations. APMG-International administers public exam sessions around the world to accommodate those who self-study for Foundation and Practitioner.

    It is mandatory to attend an APMG accredited course for the Auditor Level. There is no self-study option available for the Auditor Level.

    Back to Top

  • How does ISO/IEC 20000 compare with ITIL?

    ITIL is a set of processes and good practice that has been developed by a global network of experts and is owned by the UK Government.

    An ISO standard is developed by national bodies participating in the development of the standard through technical committees. The standards are drafted in accordance with specific rules and a standard needs to attract at least 75% of support from the national bodies via a casting of votes before it can be accepted.

    An ISO standard is high level guidance whereas the ITIL processes are more detailed and organizations can adopt and adapt them for their own ends.

    Put simply, ISO/IEC 20000 tells you WHAT to do and ITIL tells you HOW to do it.

    ITIL certification is concerned with people whereas ISO/IEC 20000 certifies companies and ensures they are compliant to the standard.

    ITIL can't be used to certify organizations, because each one will need to adapt the method to suit its requirements. ISO/IEC 20000 refers frequently to the ITIL glossary, but it stipulates that certain standards must be adopted in order to grant a certificate.

    Back to Top

  • How do I sit the exams?

    Most, if not all ISO/IEC 20000 accredited training organizations/course providers include the examinations as part of the associated training course. Alternatively, and for individuals that have self-studied, APMG-International administers public exam sessions around the world. Sessions are run at certain APMG-International offices. There are four dedicated centers in the UK for public examinations, and in the United States we utilize the public library network to facilitate sessions.

    Back to Top

  • How much does it cost to sit the ISO/IEC 20000 examinations?

    If you are sitting the examinations through an accredited training organization, the costs of the exams are generally included in the course fee. APMG-International use a global pricing structure, so for those sitting exams at a public exam centre, the cost is dependent on where the exams are being sat. To find out the cost in your region, please contact the APMG-International Service Desk on +44 (0)1494 452450 or at:

    Back to Top

  • Are there any pre-requisites for the ISO/IEC 20000 examinations?

    The Foundation is the first of the ISO/IEC 20000 examinations you are required to pass to become an ISO/IEC 20000 Practitioner. Though not a mandatory requirement, passing the Foundation examination prior to taking the ISO/IEC 20000 Auditor qualification will provide a helpful basis on which to complete further study.

    The BCS ISO/IEC 20000 Foundation certificate is also an acceptable pre-requisite for the ISO/IEC 20000 Practitioner exam. ITIL Foundation certification (v3 or later version) is recommended, but not a mandatory pre-requisite for Practitioner certification.

    Back to Top

  • What are the main publications for ISO/IEC 20000 and where can I purchase them?

    The ISO/IEC 20000 standards are the basis for the exams and can be purchased from BSI. The ISO/IEC 20000 pocketbook covers areas of the syllabus and can also be purchased from APMG Business Books at:

    Back to Top

  • Which languages are ISO/IEC 20000 examinations available in?

    The Foundation exam is available in English. The Practitioner exams are available in English, German, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese and Chinese (complex). The Auditor exam is available in English, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese (simple and complex) and Spanish.

    Back to Top

  • How long will it take to learn the ISO/IEC 20000 material?

    For individuals self-studying it is almost impossible to say. As all candidates have different experience and amount of time available for study, it varies from person to person. We suggest you buy the required study material and have a look through for yourself before deciding how long you need to spend learning.

    Back to Top

  • What is the structure of the ISO/IEC 20000 examinations?

    Summaries of the structure of the ISO/IEC 20000 Foundation, Practitioner and Auditor examinations can be seen at:

    Back to Top

  • How long are the ISO/IEC 20000 certifications valid for?

    The qualifications currently do not have a defined validity period.

    Back to Top

  • When can I expect the results of my ISO/IEC 20000 examinations?

    ISO/IEC 20000 foundation examinations can be marked on location after the exam, but this is down to the discretion of the invigilator at the time. Practitioner answer sheets are marked at APMG-International offices and results released soon after.

    If you have taken your exam via an ATO (ACP), practitioner results are sent by the relevant APMG-International office directly to ATOs. Your ATO should notify you of your results so please contact them for further details regarding this.

    If you did not take your exam through an ATO, your results will be sent directly to you via the relevant APMG-International office approximately 7-14 days after the date of your exam.

    Back to Top

  • When will I receive my certificate?

    Candidates will automatically be sent an electronic certificate within two business days of their exam results being released. If you have not received your certificate within this timeframe please contact our Customer Interaction Team - servicedesk@apmg-international.com

    Electronic certificates are environmentally friendly, but can be printed if required. It is also very easy to share them with employers and other third parties. APMG will send you a link to your registered email address. This link will take you to your Candidate Portal where you will find your electronic certificate(s). You can always access all your electronic certificates using the APMG candidate portal.

    Sometimes, if you have taken your examination(s) via a Training Organisation, certificates will be issued based on the preferences that the Training Organisation selected when booking the exam. The Training Organisation can select either an electronic certificate or both paper and electronic certificates are provided to the candidate. The Training Organisation can also choose if certificates are sent to the candidates directly or via the Training Organisation. If you have been awarded an electronic certificate but also require a hard copy certificate, you can always order a hard copy certificate for GBP 12.00. This is also the case if you re-order your hard copy certificate.

    If you would like to purchase a hard copy certificate in addition to your electronic certificate please contact our Customer Interaction Team - servicedesk@apmg-international.com

    Back to Top

  • What are the pass marks for the ISO/IEC 20000 examinations?

    Pass marks for the ISO/IEC 20000 examinations are as follows:

    • Foundation: You will need to score 26/40 (65%) to pass the foundation exam.
    • Practitioner: You will need to score 40/80 (50%) to pass the practitioner exam.
    • Auditor: You will need to score 26/40 (65%) to pass the Auditor exam.

    Back to Top

  • What pass mark is required to be eligible to become an ISO/IEC 20000 trainer?

    The requirements are as follows:
    ISO/IEC 20000 Practitioner not less than 66% (53/80 marks)
    ISO/IEC 20000 Auditor not less than 75% (30/40 marks).

    Back to Top

  • Can I use the ISO/IEC 20000 logo?

    Only organizations licensed to do so are permitted to use the ISO/IEC 20000 logo. Such organizations include ISO/IEC 20000 ATOs (ACPs) and Registered Certification Bodies (RCBs) certified by itSMF-UK / APMG-International.

    Back to Top

  • How does an organization get formally assessed against ISO/IEC 20000?

    Any organization wishing to be formally certified against the scheme will need to be assessed by a Registered Certification Body (RCB). Once the requirements of ISO/IEC 20000 have been satisfied, the RCB will issue a certificate of conformance and the organization will be eligible to use the itSMF ISO/IEC 20000 logo as a sign of their achievement and may also request a listing on our dedicated website, enabling instant verification by visitors. www.isoiec20000certification.com

    Back to Top

  • How many organizations have been assessed against ISO 20000?

    Over 600 organizations have been assessed by over 30 registered certification bodies against the standard that itSMF-UK developed.

    Back to Top

  • How does our scheme compare with others on the market?

    It is difficult to compare one scheme with another. The itSMF scheme forms the basis of the majority of existing schemes so we believe it provides a very solid foundation which has been proven in practice through a number of certification bodies.

    Back to Top