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Difference between System testing and Acceptance Testing

The software testing life cycle (SDLC) has various stages. The System testing and Acceptance testing comes in the application testing phase. The System testing comprises of system testing (ST) and system integration testing (SIT).  The application is first system tested and then acceptance testing is performed before the beta and alpha release of the software.


What is System testing/System Integration testing?

System testing of the application is done on complete application software to check the overall compliance of the product with the functional requirements. System testing is a type of application testing where we do not have any real interfaces. The system testing comes under black box software testing. So, the knowledge of internal design or structure or code is not required for this type of software testing. System testing can be of functional testing and non-functional testing. In this type of testing focus is more on the functionality of the system as a whole. The system test cases cover the functionality of the complete product and are made high level test cases.  The behavior of the complete application is tested to check if it meets the specified requirements. Test cases and test data are made and  the production data is not used in this type of testing. In system integration testing we integrate the different modules and test the interface between them to check the data integrity.

While execution of testing process the system correctness testing is performed by testers.

Difference between System testing vs Acceptance testing

There are different testing techniques are used in the System testing:

1. Functional testing
2. GUI testing/Usability testing
3. Security testing
4. Performance testing

Read more on => System Testing: What? Why? & How?


What is Acceptance Testing?

It is a formal testing with respect to user needs, requirements, and business processes conducted to determine whether or not a system satisfies the acceptance criteria and to check if the system is acceptable to the users.

Acceptance testing a pure functional testing to check the system behavior using the real data. It is also called business user testing. Acceptance Testing is performed by end users to check if the system is built to match the business requirements of the organisation. In this testing all the interfaces are combined and the complete system is tested. The end users also execute the tests to check the usability of the system. Various functional testing techniques used for this type of testing is boundary value analysis, equivalence portioning, decision table making. This type of testing focuses mainly on the validation testing of the system.

In this testing process we will go for two levels of testing:

1. Alpha Testing: Alpha testing is also called as off site testing. During this testing process testing team will verify the application in the presence of the end users within the organizational environment.

2. Beta Testing:Beta testing should be done by the end users in their own environment in the presence of releasing team.

Read more on => What is Alpha and Beta Testing?


Difference in System Testing and Acceptance Testing?

System Testing Acceptance Testing
1. System testing is end to end testing performed to check if the software meets the specified requirements. 1. Acceptance testing is functionality testing performed to check if the software meets the customer requirements.
2. System testing is performed by developers and testers. 2. Acceptance testing is performed by independent set of testers and also the stakeholders, clients.
3. System Testing can be both functional and non functional testing 3. Acceptance testing is pure functional testing.
4. In System testing , we test how the system is behaving a whole, the functionality and performed are checked. 4. In Acceptance testing we check if the system is meeting the business needs of the organisation, usability of the product.
5. It is performed with demo data and not the production data. 5. It is performed with  the actual real time data ,production data.
6. In this testing we test the software for complete specification including hardware and software, memory and number of users. 6. Here we test the software for the user needs and if user needs are met in the developed software.
7. System Testing comprises of System Testing and System Integration testing. 7. Acceptance testing comprises of alpha testing and beta testing.
8. System testing is performed before the Acceptance testing. 8. Acceptance testing is performed after the System testing.
9. System testing involves non functional testing that is performance load and stress testing. 9. Acceptance testing involves functional testing that is boundary value analysis, equivalence portioning and decision table testing.
10. In System Testing , since it is performed by group of testers, it would contain more negative test cases. 10. Acceptance Testing contains more of positive test cases.
11. The defects found in system testing can be fixed based on priorities. 11. The defects found in acceptance testing are taken as failure product.
12. Here we test the system for all the possible dummy inputs. 12. Here we check the system for random inputs.

How is System Testing and Acceptance Testing Performed?

Points System Testing Acceptance Testing
PRE-REQUISITE 1. Unit Testing is completed. 1. System Testing is completed.
2. Complete software is developed. 2. Business requirements are available.
3. Software testing environment is ready. 3. UAT environment is ready.
4. Sign off email stating that system testing is complete and ready for UAT.
PROCESS 1. Create System test plan. 1. Analyse the business requirements.
2. Create system test cases. 2. Create a UAT test plan.
3. Create test data. 3. Identify the UAT Test Scenarios.
4. Execution of test cases. 4. Create UAT Test Cases.
5. Bug reporting and fixation. 5. Execute the UAT Test Cases.
6. Repeat the steps. 6. Confirm the business objectives.
EXIT CRITERIA 1. All the “fix immediately””fix on priority” bugs are fixed and verified. 1. There are no critical defects left open.
2. Any medium priority bug is signed off by the business analyst/project manager. 2. The business process are working fine.
3. All the test cases have passed. 3. There is a sign off on UAT from the business client or stakeholders.
4. There is no security related issue left.


Over to You!

Have you worked system testing and acceptance testing?

Please ask your queries in below comment section. Your feedback is always appreciated!

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16 comments to Difference between System testing and Acceptance Testing

  • Nada

    nice article and good explanation. Appreciated u r efforts and thanks for posting.

  • Sharad


  • Vijyakumar

    Nice Article! 🙂

  • Sai

    Thank you, great article!!!

  • Reena

    Great Article! Thanks.

  • Inder

    Thank you all for this article. You are sharing your knowledge for Nobel cause:)

  • Siddhant

    After reading this article its really motivates me to apply these concepts in the day to day life testing. Really helpful article. Thank you for sharing your experience… 🙂


  • Ami

    Nice introduction.
    Could u please share how to create System test cases and acceptance test cases.

  • K Balu

    Really great article for testing professionals

  • Sachin Pawar

    Useful article, Waiting to read the next articles

  • Gaurav Khurana

    very good article, very simple in explanation.

  • Sheetal

    Really a great learning experience sir Thanks a lot all for guiding us for difference between System testing and Acceptance Testing.

    Waiting for the interesting topics…

  • Daniel

    You are really EXPERT and we are learning from expert. Really each point you covered in the article has its meaning.

    Keep up the good work. All the best.

  • Rajan

    Can you please share me about Bug Life Cycle? and which defect management tool best for small scale company (open source)

    Thanks in advance,

  • Swati

    Nice post, differences are listed in detailed.

  • John Settle

    These articles betray a superficial / shallow understanding of system testing

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