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When will INCOSE start testing based on the INCOSE SE Handbook Fifth Edition?

Courtney Wright

Apr 08, 2022
INCOSE is working on the Fifth Edition of the Systems Engineering Handbook, forecast to be released in the third quarter of 2023. The Certification Program's knowledge exam is based on the SE Handbook, and an update to the handbook will necessitate an update to the exam. We do not wish to test on an old version of the handbook when a new version exists.

Following the process of the last handbook update, the current plan is to offer testing based on the new handbook shortly after its release. A more significant question to most applicants is: When will INCOSE stop testing based on the INCOSE SE Handbook Fourth Edition? You're going to love this answer: it depends.

It depends on whether we are able to develop a test bank of questions that can be used for both old and new handbooks. If so, we can start testing on the new handbook and keep testing on the old handbook for many months of overlap. If we need to pull from separate test banks for the two handbook editions, we'll want to minimize the overlapping time period. It creates extra complication in exam registration when we have to ensure that candidates are assigned the proper exam. 

It depends on whether there is an existing translation of the handbook in a community's language. We will not require that community to start testing based on a handbook edition that is not yet translated. Thus, the shutdown date of the "old exam" in that community may be later than in other communities. 

It depends on when our exam writers and beta testers can get access to a draft of the handbook. They need enough time to develop, test, and rewrite questions on the new handbook. 

With all that in mind, our plan is to start beta testing on the new handbook in the first half of 2023; to open full testing on the new handbook no earlier than Q4 of 2023; and to close most testing on the old handbook no earlier than Q4 of 2023 or Q1 of 2024. We encourage all candidates who are preparing using the INCOSE Systems Engineering Handbook Fourth Edition to take the exam before 30 June 2022, and to allow time for further study and retakes.  

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