You can I suppose read both the books, then sit the exam. However, you may end up swamping yourself with more information than you really need.
My personal view is at Manager's level, a course is almost essential. Not only do they present the right information you need (leaving you to also read relevant sections in book to "read around the subject", but also provide exam techniques/test papers throughout. In addition, on the course I attended, there were practical sessions, which helped to drive home the salient points. There is also a revision day, just before the exam, where you sit yet another test paper, this really helps you to see if you have done enough work ! You then have time to cram it all in, or realise its a lost cause All this was included in the whole Manager's Certificate costs + exam when I did it.
The exam is 2 x 3 hour written papers, over two days. Perhaps that gives an indication of why taking the course is the best approach. You also get to meet a variety of people from different companies and see how ITIL is being implemented. I found this brilliant.
Quoting the ITIL Qualification Scheme, 1.4.3. "Candidates must hold the Foundation certificate and must attend a formal training course run by an Accredited Course Provider. The examination consist of two written papers. Three hours are allocated for each paper and 60% of the questions are based on a case study sent to the candidates prior to the examinations. In order to be awarded the certificate, candidates must pass both papers."
As mentioned before,it is a must before you can take the exams.
Even during the 2*5 days training, you will be evaluated.
The trainers will check your ability to present and how 'managerial' you are in you're way of solving the tasks they give you.
I can only say, find yourself an institute who has really good trainers.
They can help to make the difference during the exams.
We even got an trial exam, so you could feel what is felt like and where you had to improve...
The exams are to be taken in a period of 24 hours, so you will have typically Service Support in the afternoon and Service Delivery the day after in the morning.
There is a new rule out. If your mother tongue is not English, you will have 3 hours and a half time per exam.
And believe me, you want all the time you can get....
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