How to pass the ABAP certification exam

SAP offers quite a number of certificates. One of them is in the ABAP programming language of SAP:

C_TAW12_750 : SAP Certified Development Associate – ABAP with SAP NetWeaver 7.50

The ABAP certification is challenging, but you can pass the exam. Here are my tips for preparation and for the exam itself.

I passed the exam in December 2020. My article refers to this date.

What is the scope of the exam?

You will be tested in the content of three ABAP courses:

  • TAW10: ABAP Workbench Fundamentals (10 days)
  • TAW11e: ABAP Details (E-learning, 12 hours)
  • TAW12: ABAP Workbench Concepts (10 days)

This is a reduced course in comparison to the older BC-courses (which you can still book if you like to). The BC courses encompassed 35 days of training plus 12 hours of e-learning.

Probably you have not taken all of these courses. Instead I assume that you have received part of your ABAP training on the job in your company with a reduced curriculum of the most important aspects of ABAP.

The topics of the exam

According to SAPOpens in a new tab. this is the distribution of the questions:

ABAP Programming> 12%
ABAP Dictionary> 12%
Data Types and Data Objects8% – 12%
Classical User Interfaces8% – 12%
SQL Statements including Update Strategies8% – 12%
Enhancements and Modifications8% – 12%
ABAP Objects8% – 12%
Web Dynpro for ABAP< 8%
SAP NetWeaver Overview< 8%
Internal Tables< 8%
ABAP Tools< 8%

What is the passing score for SAP certification?

You need to answer 60% of 80 questions correctly. That means you have to give the right answer in 48 cases. You can give a wrong answer 32 times.

The test will be done at a computer by choosing the right entry in a radio button group or by checking the right checkboxes. As soon as you finish the questions (by clicking a submit button for the test as a whole) you will get the result. This is the only time that you get the percentage value of your whole test and the percentage value of the different topics. From then on SAP will only note that you have or have not passed.

So if you are interested in your results per topic a screenshot might be a good choice. Please check this with your test supervisor before you do that! You would have to switch on your screenshot program, as all screenshot programs must be shut down before you start the exam.

How often can I repeat the ABAP certification?

You can attempt the ABAP certification three times. Between two attempts there must be a break of at least one month. If you fail three times, you can only try the exam again when a new version of the exam is published. I have not been able to find out exactly when that happens. But it might be quite a while until that happens.

Training material for preparing

There are two kinds of material that you should get in order to prepare for the ABAP certification:

First you need the participant handbooks for the TAW courses, preferably in digital form (PDF). In comparison to the printed form this has three main advantages:

  • You can easily browse the handbooks on your computer screen.
  • You can search the full text of the handbook for a certain term.
  • You can use copy&paste to copy passages into your notes.

Try to get these PDFs through your employer.

Second I strongly recommend the book “ABAP 7.5 Certification Guide: Development Associate Exam” by Puneet Asthana and David Haslam (abbreviated “certification book” from here on). The book is published by SAP-press. It contains a summary of the TAW handbooks and for each topic there is a number of exercise questions.

The TAW handbooks also contain questions but the difficulty of the questions of the certification book is similar to the actual exam. The questions in the TAW handbooks are a lot easier and will not give you an adequate feedback.

Please prepare the certification exam thoroughly. While trying the training questions I quickly realized that passing the exam without preparation is not a viable option.

So if for example passing the exam next year is a prerequisite for your annual bonus then please do start preparing early. I recommend to spend at least 3 months. At least that is the time I needed:

  • I assume that you prepare parallel to your work and
  • that only part of the preparation will be on paid leave from your employer, the rest will be in your spare time
  • that you can only work through a certain amount of pages at a time and
  • that you do not want to work on the certification each and every evening.

Even with 15 years of experience as an ABAP programmer there was quite a lot to learn for me, quite a lot of details that I had only needed rarely if ever. The exam covers quite a number of details that are not relevant for your daily work in your company, things that you would look up if you ever needed them. But for the exam you need to know them now. You want to be a certified ABAP expert, so you better know!

How many ABAP extensions have you already installed? How many SAP updates have you done on your own?

Some remarks to individual topics might be in order:


ABAP Objects is 8-12% of the exam. But the number of questions one can ask about it is limited. One can ask for classes, instances, constructors, static constructors, methods and their parameters (importing, exporting, changing, returning) and their visibilty (public, protected, private and friends), for the call syntax and for class-based exceptions. And that’s about it.

The real challenge is another. Even though object-oriented programming in ABAP has been around for two decades, still quite a lot is programmed in procedural style. And the older the ABAP installation of your favourite client is, the more procedural code, the more form routines and includes you will find in your daily work. There are quite a lot of ABAP programmers who are not that experienced in ABAP OO.

SAP on the other had is pressing for object-orientation. Forms are officially obsolete (please check with the ABAP help system for “form”). And so object-orientation has a relatively big part in the certification.

In the end all questions to ABAP-OO are basically simple. If you have understood what a static class attribute is and what a static constructor is, then harvesting these points is easy. According to the certification book it might also pay off to know the singleton patternOpens in a new tab..

If you haven’t done much in ABAP-OO, you might want to try one or two local (SE38) and global (SE24) classes and walk through them in the debugger. You should also understand polymorphism and up- and downcasts.

Make sure that you can carry most of the ABAP-OO points home.


Webdynpro was my biggest headache. In 15 years of programming SAP I had never even encountered that in my daily work. The client that I work for most of the time simply does not use it. Besides there are newer technologies for web servers by now (UI5, Fiori). So attending the official course for this area was out of question.

But Webdynpro is up to 8% of the exam, that is about 6 questions or already a quarter of the questions that you are allowed to fail. If you make 0 points here you need to be better than the average 60% in all the other subjects. So my advice is to get some basic knowledge of Webdynpro.

The short summary in the certification book was not enough for me to understand the concepts of Webdynpro. So I even read the BC course handbook (usual course length is 5 days) at least superficially, which took me some three evenings. After that I managed to score 100% in that area without ever actually calling the Webdynpro editor myself. You should know:

  • how the data flow between contexts is working
  • what kind of controllers you can find in Webdynpro and what standard methods these can have
  • how plugs are working
  • what the interfaces between components are
  • how the data binding to the Webdynpro GUI elements is working

With this knowledge you should be able to answer a fair share of the Webdynpro questions.


You should know update processes and the difference between V1 and V2. And what does that mean for transaction behaviour? How can you roll back a transaction in V2?


Enhancements (and the diffference to modification) is a core concept of SAP. SAP delivers a standard. This standard then gets adapted to the needs of the customer.

Enhancements come by the dozen. Every now and then SAP came up with a new technology for enhancements and now you need to understand them all.

You should

  • be able to name these enhancements
  • understand how to administer them, how to switch them on and off
  • know which of these only adapt code and which of these can also change menus and dynpro dialogs
  • which of these need an access key and why and what the difference is between a developer key and an access key

The actual exam

The exam can be taken in an SAP office or online. In times of COVID-19 it is best to do it from home. Online is even a bit cheaper. The exam mode is the same in both cases: you are sitting in front of a computer monitor and answer 80 questions in multiple choice.

You can buy a package of 6 attempts for (December 2020) 500 EUR. You can take as many different certifications (up to 6) with that as you like, but you can attempt each type of certification only 3 times. The package is valid for 12 months.

What language to use for the exam?

The certification is offered in several languages. Before you actually start with the questions there is a menu with flags and language names. English and German were offered, but also 3 or 4 others that I do not remember.

You should thing about this in advance. If English is not your mother language (like in my case), it might still be advisable to take the exam in English. After all the TAW handbook and the certification book are in English. You have prepared for the exam in English, you know the technical terms in English. You might not want to try out the translation of SAP into your mother language now.

Security during the exam

The online exam will be strictly monitored. You need a webcam. The exam is done with a software (Questionmark Secure Browser) that makes sure that there is no other program running on your computer. Screenshot programs like Greenshot must be shut down. Otherwise Questionmark will end with an error message.

You will be monitored the whole time through your webcam. For this a special variant of Zoom will be used that transmits your screen and your webcam video at the same time. You can talk to your supervisor (“proctor”) but you cannot see him.

At the beginning you will be asked to present your room and your desk with the webcam. Pen and paper for taking notes are not allowed. You cannot have smartphone or any phone on your desk. Other people are not allowed in your room. So a room shared with your colleagues at work is not an option. You are not even allowed to read the questions aloud.

Before the exam begins you must present an official document of identity in your webcam.

During the exam you are not allowed to leave your seat. This especially means:

  • no toilet break for three hours. So plan ahead what you drink in the morning
  • you cannot open for the postman or parcel carrier
  • you are not available for your boss even in case of disaster. Remember: your E-mail client is closed, your cellphone is shut down. Tell your coworkers and your clients that you are definitely and completely unavailable.

Your supervisor (“proctor”) speaks English, English only, even when you are taking the exam in any other language. Your supervisor might not have English as first language and might have a strong foreign accent that you are not acquainted with. I can speak English very well, but this was a problem.

Use your own PC or the company laptop for the certification exam?

I strongly recommend using your own PC for these reasons:

  • You need special software for the exam. On your company laptop you might lack the necessary permissions for installation.
  • Even if you are allowed to install programs on your own this does not necessarily mean that you can download executables anytime. What you definitely do not want is that you cannot download this special version of Zoom that I mentioned above during the exam.
  • Your company laptop is usually tied to a company domain. The day I took the exam we had trouble with our windows ad-domain. I would not have been able to login on my laptop at the appointed time on that day.

Please install the necessary software early. SAP has a test site to check whether everything is installed properly. There is a dummy test for the Questionmark Secure browser with no questions and just the submit button.

Dealing with multiple choice questions

The certification exam consists of 80 question in multiple choice format. The correct answer must be selected on screen. You can come back to any question at any time until you submit the test as a whole. In my case there were three possible patterns:

  • 1 in 4. The answer was a radio group with 4 possible answers. The probability of a correct answer by guessing was 25%. After picking one answer it was still possible to change to another answer, but it was not possible to uncheck all answers.
  • 2 out of 4. There were four checkboxes. The number of correct answers was stated expressively. It was technically impossible to select more answers. So if you change your mind you first have to unselect an answer before you can select another. The probability of a correct answer only by guessing is 1:6, which is only 17%.
  • 3 out of 5. Just like 2 out of 5, but with 5 checkboxes. The correct number of answers was stated expressively. The probability of a correct answer just by guessing is a bare 10%.
  • The variant 1 out of 2 (with a winning chance of 50%) that you encounter frequently in the repetition questions in the TAW course is not used in the certification exam.

You get 1 point for a correct answer and 0 points for a wrong answer. When more than one answer is correct, you have to get all answers right to earn your point. If one checkbox is wrong you get zero points for this question.

So just by guessing you will only earn very few points. If however you have no clue, it is still better to guess as you will not get a penalty for giving a wrong answer in comparison to giving no answer at all.

If you are unsure then clear thinking will help. Maybe one answer can be ruled out as nonsense easily and another is definitely correct. So in case of 2 out of 4 your winning probability has risen to 50% if you cannot chose between the two remaining possibilities.

Make several passes

My suggestion is to first do a quick pass through all questions and only answer those that you can answer with confidence. You can mark questions with a flag. These flags were only clearly visible in the footer of the questions. There is also a question navigator that tells you which questions you have already answered. Here the flags were barely visible. But you can use the navigation buttons (previous/next) to quickly check for flags.

I needed about 30 minutes of my 180 minutes for a quick first pass. Remain patient if you have no clue. There is enough time to work out a solution for most questions. Do not waste too much time for a question that you cannot answer.

After that I took two further runs through all questions to give an anwer to all questions. In some cases where I was really unsure I voted for the most likely guess. That took me another 1,5 hours with another hour remaining. I set quite a number of flags.

Then I made a quick technical pass to check the number of answers in the 2/4 and 3/5 patterns. Had I indeed marked two or three answers? It is technically possible to check less answers without a warning.

Then I checked all questions for obvious dumb answers or misunderstandings. Did I miss a “not” in the question? I also updated the flags and picked those questions that I wanted to think about in the remaining time. That were about 15 questions.

I then worked through these remaining questions and decided for an answer.

15 minutes before my time was up I submitted my answers.

Look for repeated questions

Within 80 questions it is natural to find some repetitions.

So when you have two different questions that deal with predefined ABAP data types you can compare the answers. After the first pass you will know that two questions deal with the same subject. Browsing through the questions with the previous/next-buttons is quick.

If you are unsure about a technical term and if you think the term could mean one thing or another then watch out for other questions that use the same term. The meaning of the term must make sense for both questions. Maybe this helps you to remember the difference between a constructor and a class-constructor?

Tap your own experience

If the question sounds strange, it makes sense to take your own experience into account. Most things that you are asked are things that you have already seen yourself. The four names for an element were edited at the domain or at the data element or in both? How did the dialog look like when you did it?

When a possible answer sounds completely off the track then try to remember the screen. Has there been an option to select this thing at all? Anywhere?

Finish and get your badge

You will get your result immediately after submitting the exam. This is the only time that you can see the percentage of your score. A screenshot to show your colleagues might be nice (please ask your supervisor in advance) and remember to restart your screenshot program or take your smartphone. After that you will only see that you did or didn’t pass.

The certificate will be in the form of a link to a website. There will not be a PDF. The official reason is that in this way anyone can check that the certificate is not fake.

Here is mineOpens in a new tab.. You can only see that I passed. But you cannot see the 78% that I scored and you also cannot see the work that it took to pass.

During preparation I worked through all the questions of the TAW courses and of the certification book and kept a detailed score for all chapters. I only counted those questions that I could answer without guessing. The percentage of those test runs was a bit better, but close to my actual result.

One final remark, one detail that I find funny: if you to to youracclaim to see your badge there is a list of skills that were checked in the exam. If you click on the skills you are sent to a website with corresponding job vacancies.

Good luck for your exam.

You can find more articles about SAP here.

(This article is also available in German.Opens in a new tab.)

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