Thinking outside the Boxes


This brings us back to the testers who asked my advice. The fact that two people preparing for this test noticed the ambiguity and wrote to me about it, shows they are better at thinking about the nuances of these issues than the certifiers. The sensitivity they show is critical to excellent software testing. This says more to me about their abilities than the exam could ever say. Good testers notice ambiguities in systems and press on them, just as these two did by questioning the exam.

It's too bad that this exam puts so much weight on such simple concepts. I hope other testers getting this certification won't be confused into thinking these terms mean more than they do. A lot of people would like to see software testers get more respect. But certifications that treat figures of speech as if they were scientific categories don't help.

Further Reading:
Five Ways to Think About Black Box Testing


About the author

Bret Pettichord's picture Bret Pettichord

Bret Pettichord is an independent consultant specializing in software testing and test automation. He co-authored Lessons Learned in Software Testing with Cem Kaner and James Bach and edits He is currently researching practices for agile testing. Contact him at or

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