Logo for ISTQB in the U.S.

The ISTQB exam question levels are as follows:

  • K1 = Remember: You should remember or recognize a term or a concept.
  • K2 = Understand: You should select an explanation for a statement related to the question topic.
  • K3 = Apply: You should select the correct application of a concept or technique and apply it to a given context.
  • K4 = Analyze: You can separate information related to a procedure or technique into its constituent parts for better understanding and can distinguish between facts and inferences.
  • K5 = Evaluate: You may make judgments based on criteria and standards. He detects inconsistencies or fallacies within a process or product, determines whether a process or product has internal consistency, and detects the effectiveness of a procedure as it is being implemented.
  • K6 = Create: You put elements together to form a coherent or functional whole. A typical application is to reorganize elements into a new pattern or structure, devise a procedure for accomplishing some task or invent a product.

These are cognitive levels or thinking skills.

Which cognitive levels of questions are used in each type of ISTQB exam?

  • K1 – K3 level questions may appear in the ISTQB Foundation Level exams
  • K2 – K4 level questions may appear in ISTQB Advanced Level exams
  • K2 – K6 level questions may appear in the ISTQB Expert Level exams

How can I determine which cognitive levels are covered in the ISTQB syllabus for a given certification?

You can find these K levels listed in the ISTQB syllabus for each section. This lets you know the expectation for that section. For example, in the ISTQB Foundation Level syllabus, it mentions the K-level next to the subtopic number:

Learning Objectives for Fundamentals of Testing:
1.1 What is Testing?
FL-1.1.1 (K1) Identify typical objectives of testing
FL-1.1.2 (K2) Differentiate testing from debugging

You can freely view and download the ISTQB syllabi here.

Be certain to register for your ISTQB exams through ASTQB and our official ISTQB exam provider AT*SQA. This is the only way you can appear on both the ISTQB successful candidate register plus the Official U.S. List of Certified Software Testers™. In addition, only ASTQB and AT*SQA will give you points toward your Testing Tiers™ software tester ranking that increase your level.