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How can I pass the knowledge exam?

Courtney Wright

Mar 11, 2022
The INCOSE knowledge exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions based on the INCOSE Systems Engineering Handbook. (You may get an extra 20 or 50 beta questions, depending on the version of the exam you are taking. They are not scored, but you will not be told which questions they are.) To be successful on the exam, you should:

1. Have proper ID and facility for the exam. You can't pass if you aren't allowed to take the exam! Review the requirements for your in-person or online exam.

2. Understand the format of the questions. Many of them will have more than one correct answer, and you must choose all the correct answers to get the questions right. You can read more about this exam format in this paper from 2015

3. Know the content of the INCOSE SE Handbook. All questions come from this handbook. Many candidates who fail the first attempt but pass a later attempt admit that they had not read the handbook thoroughly the first time. Most successful candidates report reading the handbook multiple times, taking notes or flash cards, and writing their own diagrams or sample exam questions. 

4. Take it more than once. You are allowed to take the exam up to 3 times every 12 months. You will have to pay for each attempt. Consider taking it once for practice, then studying, then taking it again. This is probably the most time-efficient way to succeed on the exam.