Tips for Passing the ITIL 4 Managing Professional (MP) Exams

Erika Flora
Written by Erika Flora

ITIL 4 MP Courses and Exams – The Next Step After ITIL 4 Foundation

Congratulations on passing the ITIL 4 Foundation exam and making your way to the ITIL 4 Managing Professional (MP) courses and exams! (Note: If you haven’t passed the ITIL 4 Foundation exam yet, you will need to do that first as it’s a prerequisite to taking any of the MP exams.) The MP exams have a format that is a little bit different from the ITIL 4 Foundation exam and can be tricky to manage at first. This article will provide an overview on how the exams will look, as well as some handy study tips to ensure you’re successful. (Side note: If you’re interested in what ITIL 4 MP courses are out there, check out our article on what’s covered in the advanced ITIL 4 courses and who should attend.)

ITIL 4 MP Exams – How They’re Different from ITIL v3

The good news is, if you’ve taken any of the ITIL v3 Intermediate exams in prior years, these exams are much easier to ace! The questions are generally short and to the point (no more than 2-4 sentences in total – you’ll find some examples below), and there are 40 questions in all (unlike ITIL v3 Intermediate exams where there were 8 extensive, scenario-based questions). You will have 90 minutes to complete the exam (whereas in ITIL 4 Foundation, you only get 60 minutes), which gives you a little more than two minutes per exam question. As such, you’ll have plenty of time to go back through the exam and double-check your answers.

Also, unlike the ITIL v3 exams, there is one, and only one, correct answer. No more gradient scoring where different answers give you different amounts of points – hooray! Either you get the question correct or you do not, so there’s that. In order to pass the exam, you will need to get 28 of the 40 questions right, or score a 70%. This means you can get up to 12 questions wrong and still pass. It may seem pretty easy to do; however, just like in the 2-day ITIL 4 Foundation course, there is a LOT of material packed into three days.

One more thing: There are many new and changed ITIL practices in ITIL 4. You’ll want to pay special attention to these updates (for example, in the ITIL 4 Specialist: Create, Deliver, and Support (CDS) course, you’ll cover two different practices, Release Management and Deployment Management, which used to be a single process in ITIL v3). You’ll need to know details around any new ITIL practices as well as the differences between practices that have been expanded upon or changed.

ITIL 4 MP Exam Question Types

There are three different types of test questions, namely: standard, list (where there are two correct items in a list of choices), and negative questions (which use words like “INCORRECT,” “EXCEPT,” etc.). Here are some examples from the CDS course of what each question type could look like (don’t worry – I’ve included answers to these questions at the end of this article):

Standard Question

Which competency profile is required by an individual who has been asked to assign and prioritize tasks, keep records, and initiate basic improvements to adopt the new ways of working required to support the organization’s goals?

    1. Leader

    2. Administrator

    3. Coordinate/Communicator

    4. Technical Expert

These types of questions test you on your understanding of concepts within a particular MP course and are pretty straightforward. The Quick Reference Guide in your Beyond20 coursebook is a great place to spend your study time.

List Question

Which two statements are possible sources of demand for a value stream to restore a live service?

    1. Someone is unable to log into their user account for the service

    2. A monitoring tool detects a service failure

    3. The service desk calls a user to provide a status update for an incident

    4. A user provides feedback to the incident manager when an incident is closed

A. 1 and 2

B. 2 and 3

C. 3 and 4

D. 1 and 4

These questions can be confusing when you first read them. However, there is one, and only one, correct answer.

Negative Question

Which statement about applying a “shift-left” approach is INCORRECT?

    1. Ensure staff have the necessary skills to perform the new activities give to them

    2. Review data from a variety of courses including staff frustration/feedback

    3. On a periodic basis, identify the achieved benefits and lessons learned

    4. Move testing activities to later in the pipeline

These types of questions can also be confusing, as our brains tend to look for the correct answer. It can be helpful to look for the answers that ARE true and mentally rule those choices out. The remaining false answer is the one to choose. Be sure to double-check your answers on these types of questions to make sure you’ve picked the answer that is NOT correct.

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ITIL 4 MP Exam Test-Taking Tips and Tricks

What does all of this mean for your test-taking strategy? Here are some exam tips that we give students as part of our ITIL 4 MP courses that will help you on your journey:

  • Answer the easy questions first – There are several questions (almost 40% of them, in fact) that ask about course concepts (definitions, purpose, etc.) and are easier to answer correctly. Start with these questions first. Leave the scenarios (the other 60%) that require some additional concentration to the end of the exam. All 40 questions are worth the same amount of points, so skip over any questions that seem difficult. You will have plenty of time to come back to them later. You also want to avoid anything that will “mess with your mojo” on the exam. Alternatively, if you’re more wired to go through every question in order, do your best in reading each question. If you come to one that’s difficult, attempt it, but don’t stress over it. Mark any questions that are hard and come back to them later.
  • Read the actual question first – On the longer questions scattered throughout the exam, be sure to read the actual question (the sentence with the question mark at the end) FIRST. This will help make sure you are focusing on the question being asked and not getting distracted by unrelated details.
  • Read through all four answers – Be sure to read through each of the four answers provided. At times, we get going so fast and select the first answer that sounds right, missing an answer later on in the choices that may actually be better. Slow down and read all four answers.
  • Be sure to jot down notes – If you are able to have scratch paper in front of you, at the start of the exam or at any time during the exam, write out any mnemonics you discussed in class as well as any practice-related concepts or key phrases (the mind maps we draw in class are also a good candidate for putting down on paper). It will help free your mind from holding the concepts in your head and serve as a good reference as you go through the exam.
  • Don’t make assumptions about questions – The practice exams we discuss in class can be similar to the questions you see on the real thing. Don’t make the assumption that it’s the same question and rush to pick what you remember the answer to be on a practice exam. WORDS MATTER on this exam, and if one word is different, it can change the entire meaning of the question. Take your time (take the entire 90 minutes if you need it) and carefully read through every question and all four answers.
  • Use the answers you find in other questions – Take mental note of places on the exam where you may see answer choices that are true statements, but don’t necessarily apply to the corresponding question. This information may help you on a different question. Oftentimes, there are “Easter eggs” or “gifts” included throughout the exam if you pay attention to them.
  • Be careful about changing your answers – You should have lots of time at the end of the exam to go through and double-check all of your answers. I highly recommend doing this. However, if you change an answer, make sure you have a reason for doing so. Often, I see students second-guess themselves and start to change lots of answers. If you’re changing more than 10% of them, that might be a warning sign that you’re changing answers too frequently. Trust your gut. Avoid the temptation!

Of course, none of these techniques are a substitute for familiarity with the source material, so be sure you spend sufficient study time with your coursebook and supplementary materials. Success on the ITIL 4 MP exams will require a deeper understanding of concepts and the application of the various tools, techniques, or approaches depending on the situation. Combine that with the test-taking tips above, and you’ll pass the first time*!


*And in the event that you don’t, we offer an exam pass guarantee with all of our ITIL courses. Learn more here:


If you’ve been answering the questions along the way, here’s a very short answer key: 1 is B, 2 is A, and 3 is D. More practice questions are included throughout your coursebook.

Originally published April 04 2020, updated September 09 2020