Become a Member! | Print Page | Contact Us | Report Abuse | Sign In
Fundamentals Exam

Exam Schedule and Registration

Fundamentals Exam

The purpose of the Fundamentals Examination is to identify those applicants who possess the minimum level of capabilities in Theory of Constraints (TOC) basics that are needed to grasp the advanced knowledge required to achieve certification in a TOC applications area.

Successful completion of this examination will result in the receipt of a "TOCICO Certificate of Achievement". Please note that this is not a TOCICO certification, but simply an acknowledgement that the candidate has passed the entry exam. 

The Fundamentals exam is available in the following languages:

  • English
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Korean
  • Chinese (Simplified and Traditional)
  • Polish
  • German


COMING SOON! The Fundamentals Exam will be offered online! Please look for an announcement soon.

The Fundamentals Exam is a three-part exam in the following broad areas: (1) TOC Fundamentals Concepts, (2) TOC Thinking Processes, and (3) TOC Applications. Total maximum allowable time for the entire examination is 3 hours. It is fully multiple choice (75 questions).

1.  TOC Fundamentals (approximately 25%)

Objective:  Demonstrate an understanding of TOC basic beliefs, paradigms and concepts. Seek to show the ability to apply these fundamental ideas within a realistic scenario. Compare and contrast TOC basics with conventional wisdom approaches.
  • Understand the conceptual difference between managing a 'simple' and a 'complex' system.  Have the capability to apply this understanding in a specific situation.
  • Know and understand the five-step focusing process. Be able to apply these steps within a realistic scenario.
  • Understand the relationship between a realistic goal, necessary conditions for goal achievement, and any prerequisites for those meeting the necessary conditions.  For a particular scenario, apply these concepts in a meaningful manner.
  • Discuss system constraint(s), their relative importance, and various approaches to managing them.
  • Describe the TOC systemic or global metrics relative to organizations residing in different industrial sectors.
  • Differentiate between the "cost” and "throughput” world orientations.

2.  TOC Thinking Processes (approximately 25-30%)

Objective: Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of TOC Thinking Processes. For simplified scenarios, be able to determine and state sound logical relationships.

  • Identify the three questions associated with the Change Sequence. Briefly descisbe the managerial implications associated with each questions. Be able to name the TP logic tools that are most closely associated with answering each query.
  • Distinguish between necessity-based and sufficiency-based logic.
  • Know the difference between a well-written and poorly-written undesirable effect (UDE).
  • Be able to create a logically-tight evaporating (or conflict) cloud for a particular situation.
  • Be able to create a small, logically-tight, twig or branch for a particular situation.
  • Explain why the real advantage in using the TP tools resides with identifying assumptions associated with entity relationships.
  • Discuss the TOC approach to develop true win-win solutions in long-standing conflicts.
  • Describe the concept of an injection and explain how it achieves its purpose.
  • Describe the concept of logical linkages between policies, measurements, and behaviors.
  • Differentiate between effects and assumptions/facts of life entities within a logic structure. Identify the characteristics of and/or create a well-written entity.

3.  TOC Applications (approximately 45-50%)

Objective: Demonstrate a fundamental knowledge and understanding of simple TOC applications in (1) internal supply chain management and logistics, (2) finance and measurement, and (3) single critical chain project management. In addition, show familiarity with the TOC approach to identifying and addressing each layer of resistance to change.
  • Create an effective plan for managing an internal supply chain including constraint/bottleneck identification, appropriate buffer management, differences between time and stock buffers, and establishment of the necessary communication links.
  • Determine an optimal product mix for a simplified situation in which there is a functioning constraint.
  • Demonstrate your understanding and ability to manage a single specific project according to TOC Critical Chain principles. Focus is on identifying activities in the critical chain, location and sizing necessary project and feeding buffers, and predicting expected total project completion time.
  • Identify the sequential layers of resistance to change that must be overcome in order to gain management’s buy-in to implementing system-based improvements.


Study Materials for the Fundamentals Exam

Although incomplete, the reference and review materials listed below contain the kinds of information and knowledge that a person needs to know successfully to complete the 3 Parts of the Fundamentals Exam. The purpose underlying the suggested list of books and other reference materials is to identify some resources that TOCICO members have found to be useful in preparing to take/sit for the Fundamentals Examination. Materials like these describe the kinds of information and knowledge that a person needs to know to successfully complete the Fundamentals Exam. Besides providing selected practical guidance, the sources listed below provide some direction in reviewing, studying, and preparing for the Fundamentals Examination.


TOCICO Fundamentals Exam Study Guide by Dr. James Holt from WSU 
This study guide is provided as a reference only and the material has not been endorsed or reviewed by the TOCICO:


Part 1 of the Fundamentals Exam


  1. Cox and Spencer, (1998) Constraints Management Handbook
  2. Dettmer, (1998) Breaking the Constraints to World Class Performance
  3. Dettmer and Schragenheim, (2001) Manufacturing at Warp Speed
  4. Goldratt and Cox, (2004) The Goal, North River Press
  5. Goldratt and Fox, (1986) The Race, North River Press
  6. Goldratt, (1990) Theory of Constraints
  7. Kendall, (2004) Viable Vision: Transforming Total Sales into Net Profits
  8. Lang, (2006) Achieving a Viable Vision: The Theory of Constraints Strategic Approach to Rapid Sustainable Growth
  9. Noreen, Smith and Mackey, (1995) TOC & its Implications for Management Accouting
  10. Scheinkopf, (1999) Thinking for a Change
  11. Smith, (1999) The Measurement Nightmare


Internet Websites

  1. TOCICO Dictionary:
  2. A Guide to Implementiing the Theory of Constraints (TOC) by Kelvyn Youngman:
  3. Wikipedia:
  4. Focused Performance by Frank Patrick:
  5. List Serve by Mark Woeppel:
  6. APICS Learning Center list serve:
  7. AGI (Goldratt Institute) – White Papers:
  8. TOCICO Exam Study Guide by Dr. James Holt from WSU (This study guide is provided as a reference only and the material has not been endorsed or reviewed by the TOCICO):


Other Formats

  1. Beyond the Goal by Eli Goldratt at:
  2. TOC Insights by Eli and Rami Goldratt, Downloadable Slide Presentation at:
  3. TOC – Self Learning Program (Complete Set of 8 sessions on CD ROM) at:
  4. Viable Vision Video by Eli Goldratt at:
  5. Umble and Umble, (1998) "How to apply the theory of constraints’ five-step process of continuous improvement”, Journal of Cost Management
  6. Reid, (2007) "Applying the TOC five-step focusing process in the service sector: a banking subsystem”, Managing Service Quality, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp. 209-234


Part 2 of the Fundamentals Exam


  1. Burton-Houle, (2000) Field Guide to the Theory of Constraints Thinking Processes.
  2. Cox, Blackstone, and Schleier, (2003) Managing Operations: A Focus on Excellence [chap 2].
  3. Dettmer, (1997) Goldratt's Theory of Constraints: A Systems Approach to Continuous Improvement.
  4. Ean, Khaw Choon (2005) Thinking Smart: Applying Theory of Constraints in Development Thinking Skills.
  5. Goldratt, (1994) It's Not Luck
  6. Scheinkopf, (1999) Thinking for a Change.
  7. Schragenheim, (1998) Management Dilemmas.



  1. TOCICO Dictionary:
  2.  A Guide to Implementing the Theory of Constraints (TOC), by Kelvyn Youngman, Tool Box:
  3. Washington State University, James Holt’s TOC course page:
  4. Iowa State University, Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) educational web site:

Other Formats

  1. TOC Insights By Eli and Rami Goldratt, Down Loadable Slide Presentation at:


Part 3 of the Fundamentals Exam


  1. Dettmer and Schragenheim, (2001) Manufacturing at Warp Speed.
  2. Goldratt, (1997) Critical Chain.
  3. Goldratt,(2004) The Goal.
  4. Goldratt, (1995) My Saga to Improve Production.
  5. Newbold, (1998) Project Management in the Fast Lane.
  6. Kendall, (1997) Securing the Future.
  7. Leach, (2001) Critical Chain Project Management.
  8. Stein, (1996) Re-engineering the manufacturing system: applying the theory of constraints.
  9. Srikanth and Umble, (1997) Synchronous management: profit-based manufacturing for the 21st century, Volumes One and Two.
  10. Van Zantwijk, (2006) The Responsive Supply Chain from Source through Retail to Consumer: How to apply the Theory of Constraints to the supply chain as a whole.



  1. TOCICO Dictionary:
  2. A Guide to Implementing the Theory of Constraints, by Kelvyn Youngman, Tool Box; Supply Chain;
  3. Iowa State University, Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) educational web site:
  4. Focused Performance by Frank Patrick:

Other Formats

  1. TOC Insights by Eli and Rami Goldratt, Down Loadable Slide Presentation at:
  2. Goldratt, Production the TOC way (with simulator) at: