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Which course: BCS Foundation in Business Analysis or BCS Business Analysis Practice?

We get asked this question a lot so we decided to give you some advice in a blog post.

Let’s look at the course objectives of each and how the learning is done.


To get more tips on which qualifications to choose and where to start make sure you download our business analysis guide – click here to download.


BCS Foundation in Business Analysis

The course objectives are to give the learner a complete overview of business analysis and learn useful tools and techniques.

The learning is done by understanding the theory and then answer multiple choice questions to get the right answer.

The foundation in the title convinces a lot of professionals to start their training with this course. This is not however mandatory. The BCS qualifications are modular which means you can take them in any order and work your way towards the higher level qualification, the BCS Business Analysis certificate.

The course is heavy in theoretical concepts so if you are new to business analysis you will learn a lot. We use mind maps to show how everything relates and make it easy for you to remember the theory for the exam. You will also practice for your exam using our online exam simulation environment.

The exam is a one-hour closed-book examination consisting of 40 multiple-choice questions. The pass mark is 26/40.

To find out more about this course – click here 


BCS Business Analysis Practice

This course objective is to learn to apply business analysis techniques to understand the business objectives, analyse project issues, investigate stakeholders perspectives and identify potential business solutions.

This is the type of work you are expected to do before you move on to eliciting requirements. It is a critical part and if not done your time will be wasted on implementing the wrong solution to the wrong business problem. And the wrong solution can have a negative impact on your organisation!

The learning is done by applying the theory to real-world case studies and discussing this in groups and with a very experienced trainer.

The BCS Business Analysis Practice (BAP) is one of the mandatory modules if you want to achieve the BCS Business Analysis Diploma certificate. This means the knowledge you gain on this course is essential to business analysts.


Compared to BCS Foundation in Business Analysis it is also a more hands-on, practical course. You will apply the theory to real-world case studies then discuss solutions in groups and with a very experienced trainer. You will clearly understand how the concepts apply to the real world.


Because this is a more practical course, we recommend you start your training with this course.

The good thing about doing the course with us is that when you leave the course you will know exactly the preparation and analysis you need to do before moving on to eliciting requirements. Also, you will know how to make sure that the project stakeholders are on board so they don’t jeopardise your project

There’s nothing more wasteful and frustrating than putting a lot of effort into eliciting requirements for change initiatives that the stakeholders don’t want and reject.

The exam for this course is an open book exam based on a case study. It is very similar to the ones we will discuss in class so the chances you will pass are very high. We have a 95% pass rate on this course.

To find out more about this course – click here


Which one of the two to choose then?

If you like to first get an understanding of theory and then move to practical work then start with the BCS Foundation in Business Analysis. If you like to learn by doing then start with the BCS Business Analysis Practice. Most delegates do both as they want to achieve the higher qualification, the BCS International Diploma in Business Analysis.

To get more tips on which qualifications to choose and where to start make sure you download our business analysis guide – click here to download.


Stories from the workplace – Paul Dillon

Paul Dillon completed his Diploma in Business Analysis with Metadata in 2016

Here we ask him a few questions about why he took the course and his experience.


Paul, what made you decide to take the diploma?

I was already doing a business analyst type role in my department but I didn’t realise there was actually a separate team of business analysts because the company is so big. When I asked to be transferred to the business analyst team I was told it was a requirement to be a fully qualified BA. And so I got in touch with Metadata to complete my diploma with them and finish my business analyst qualification.


What were you doing before?

I’ve been everything in my career from an accountant, a computer programmer, a systems analyst, a project manager and working my way through the IT department. I got earmarked within the IT department as a creative type and someone with good communication skills. That was the start of my formal career as a business analyst and moving into my current role.


And what is your role now?

I work as a business analyst in the pensions administration team. We work with companies to deliver outsourced benefits administration services covering pension administration, treasury and accounting, pensioner payroll and trustee secretarial services.


What did you learn from taking the diploma?

I found the practical exercises the most helpful. It’s a bit like building a shed; you can sit around drawing diagrams until you’re blue in the face but until you pick up some wood and a hammer you don’t really know what it’s like. In the same way with the courses, knowing everything about the theory is generally not that useful, you need someone who’s been there, done it and can do it again. The practical exercises were where the rubber hit the road and you discovered this is how you do it and this is what the results look like.


How have you found working as a BA?

It’s a very varied role which I enjoy. It also requires a good level of interpersonal skill which is something that doesn’t always suit people in IT! In my experience, certain job roles call for a certain type of person and it’s not always possible to mould yourself into what is being asked. For me, being a business analyst I can bring my creativity and communication skills to the fore which really helps.


And finally, any tips you’d give for anyone thinking about taking the diploma?

I’ve said it already but be sure you’re comfortable working with people and have good communication skills. On top of this having a naturally analytical mind will also stand you in good stead!


Paul Dillon completed his BCS Diploma in Business Analysis. To find out more about this certification – click here.


What qualifications do you need to be a business analyst?

Demand for business analysis skills has increased as the pace of change has grown. Often this is driven by technology, the traditional BA role ‘bridges the gap’ between business experts and technical software teams. Apart from business analysts, project managers, business change managers, product owners and software developers benefit from BA training and qualifications.

Currently, there are two main bodies who can support professionals in achieving a business analysis qualification: BCS (The British Computer Society) and the IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis), both of which offer a number of BA qualifications tailored to your experience, career goals and personal preference.

Business Analysis Diploma Qualification

Developed and managed by BCS this remains the most sort-after business analysis qualification in the UK. As it is divided into individual modules,  it is easy for professionals to achieve the relevant certifications within their personal time constraints and according to their specific interests. If you are looking to gain important practical knowledge with hands-on training experience then this is the qualification you should choose.

How do you achieve the diploma?

The BCS diploma in business analysis consists of a foundation and three practitioner qualifications which are followed by an oral exam.

Each qualification stands alone and, in various combinations (IREB and IIBA qualifications also give partial exemptions), leads to the International BCS Diploma in Business Analysis. The delegates can take the four courses over as short a time as 8 continuous days or as several sessions spread over a year.

The courses can be taken at dates and in any order to suit you.

Core Practitioner (both mandatory):

These courses can be taken together in a one-week fast track, see Fast Track Business Analysis Course.

Foundation (choose one of the below):

Practitioner (choose one of the below):

Oral exam preparation

The diploma is completed by a 50-minute oral exam with two examiners. A one-day training day gives excellent preparation for this exam

What do we offer?

Metadata Training offers a variety of cost-effective diploma bundles that can help you achieve the BCS Diploma in Business Analysis at a reduced cost. Click here to find out more.

CBAP/CCBA Qualifications

The CCBA & CBAP qualifications are developed and managed by IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis) and are very popular outside the UK. The qualification process is more complex and rigorous and unlike the BCS the exams are based on multiple choice questions.

The CCBA & CBAP qualifications offer a more systematic and comprehensive structure of the role of the business analyst and the way they should perform their work. The process, as well as the tools, are fully explained in the BABOK, the standard guide for these qualifications. These qualifications are heavy in theory and there is a lengthy application you need to go through in order to sit the exam.

IIBA has chapters in most countries who organise events for business analysts. They also have online resources for business analysts to use and continue their personal development.

Click here to find out more about this qualifications.

What do we offer?

Metadata Training offers a course to support you achieve the CBAP or the CCBA qualifications. The qualification you choose depends on your current level of experience. Click here to find out more.

Which qualification should you choose?

The BCS Diploma with its modular approach makes it easier for a professional to break the training into smaller chunks and work towards achieving the highly regarded BCS Diploma in Business Analysis. In addition, a significant attraction to the BCS Diploma is the fact that it has no expiration date

Achieving one of the IIBA qualifications requires more commitment and dedication because it’s based on the BABOK guide which contains a high amount of theory and it involves a lengthy application process where you need to detail your experience and provide references. In achieving this you will be part of a selected group of professionals who are highly committed to a continual professional development as the qualifications need to be renewed every 5 years.

If you still need more advice on which qualifications to choose or where to start, you can download our business analysis guide or speak with a course advisor today on 020 7272 3726.


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We put together a few exam tips that will help you approach exams with confidence and  successfully pass your BCS business analysis exams to (more…)


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