Rex Black is a leading consultant and is President of the ISTQB and its American counterpart the ASTQB, and is part of the team that developed the Advanced curriculum on which the exam (and study guide) is based. That curriculum provides the outline of this study guide, down to the chapter and section; Black covers each section in order, and provides a brief notice for sections in which there are no study objectives for test analysts. Because of this organization, it ensures no curriculum material is missed, but this introduces a drawback: the book is somewhat disjointed and does not flow from cover to cover. The material included, however, is explained effectively for those with a basic understanding of software testing.
Material covered in depth includes the analysis and design of tests from various source materials (test oracles), test implementation and execution, evaluation of exit criteria, risk-based testing as a way of managing the test effort, quality attributes, incident management, test tool concepts and categories, and a great number of specification, structure and experience-based test techniques to complete the tester’s toolkit. The section covering test techniques is particularly detailed, filled with examples and exercises that help the reader understand each technique and how it can be applied in practice. This in-depth discussion of test techniques is easily the most valuable and takes up one third of the book, consuming 173 of 468 pages.
In short, Rex Black’s guide delivers as promised. Those looking for a general testing overview may be let down, but those using the text for its expressed purpose (preparing for the exam) will appreciate its thorough coverage of the material and the insight of an industry leader.