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Agile Testing Takes Center Stage: Exploring ISTQB® CTFL 4.0 Syllabus Updates

ISQI Group
Posted by ISQI Group on May 17, 2023 1:28:14 PM


On the 9th of May, the highly anticipated launch of the ISTQB® Foundation Level Syllabus 4.0 was widely publicized throughout the ISTQB® community, and it is expected to become the new global standard in the field. However, it's essential to note that there are some important differences to be aware of between the newly updated syllabus and its predecessor, the ISTQB® Foundation Level Syllabus 2018 version 3.1, which was released in 2019.

Read our latest blog article and discover the benefits and improvements to the ISTQB® CTFL 4.0 syllabus and why an agile approach is essential in software development and the SDLC.


The ISTQB® CTFL 4.0 (Certified Tester Foundation Level 4.0) is a certification for software testers that has been recently updated to reflect the evolving nature of software development. This version of the certification has been designed to address the changes in software development practices and technologies that have taken place since the previous version.


Overview of CTFL 3.1 VS. CTFL 4.0

The ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level Syllabus 3.1 explains the terminology and concepts used worldwide in the testing domain. It is more focused on understanding the key principles and fundamentals of software testing. It also places greater emphasis on practical applications of testing techniques.

The CTFL 4.0 syllabus includes significant changes from its predecessor, the CTFL 3.1, with the addition of Agile testing and an extensive focus on risk-based testing. Furthermore, CTFL 4.0 introduces techniques to better evaluate quality control efforts, define quality gates, and write and execute acceptance tests. Testing is no longer just a dedicated function, but a role with quality-related activities that any team member can undertake.


Content changes to CTFL 3.1 VS. CTFL 4.0

The content changes empower the agile transformation.  Aligning the test process with the software development lifecycle, writing and communicating clear and understandable defect reports. Understanding the factors that influence the priorities and efforts related to testing, and working as part of a cross-functional team. Knowing the risks and benefits related to test automation, identifying essential skills required for testing, and understanding the impact of risk on testing. The updated CTFL 4.0 syllabus highlights the importance of close collaboration with other stakeholders, introduces techniques to better estimate the effort required to control quality, and defines quality gates such as DoR, DoD, and Acceptance Criteria. 

The syllabus exemplifies different techniques to write and execute acceptance tests, switching testing from a dedicated function to a role with a set of quality-related activities that can be undertaken by any member of the team. 

This table outlines the core content changes based on the ISTQB® CTFL 4.0 syllabus and its predecessor CTFL 3.1


CTFL 3.1

  • Fundamentals of testing 
  • Testing throughout the SDLC
  • Static testing
  • Test techniques
  • Test management
  • Tools support for testing

CTFL 4.0

  • Fundamentals of testing
  • Testing throughout the SDLC
  • Static testing
  • Test analysis and design
  • Managing the test activities
  • Test tools


Updates and Validity of ISTQB® CTFL Exams

Both Both the ISTQB® CTFL 3.1 and ISTQB® CTFL 4.0 exams are currently available from iSQI.  

  • Syllabus version 3.1 (2018), training and exams in English will only be available until 9th May 2024.
  • Non-English syllabi, training, and exams for the 3.1 version will only be available until 9th November 2024.
  • CTFL 4.0 certification holders will hold a valid pre-requisite for ISTQB® Advanced Level and Specialist certifications
  • Holders of the CTFl 3.1 (and previous versions) of the ISTQB® Foundation Level certificate should be reassured that they continue to hold a valid certification.


iSQI suggests: ISTQB® Certified Tester Foundation Level 4.0 (CTFL 4.0)



We’d like to conclude with the words of  ISTQB®’s Vice President, Olivier Denoo, "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.".


Topics: Software Testing, Agile, ISTQB, Software Quality, CTFL 4.0, ISTQB CTFL

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