Model based testing in Test Automation

May 9, 2024Ridhi Singla
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In the realm of test automation, “Model based testing” is a transformative approach that’s gaining momentum. This innovative method utilizes abstract models to design, generate, and execute test cases, offering a more efficient and comprehensive way to ensure software quality. By leveraging these models, testers can automate the testing process and uncover defects early in the development cycle. In this exploration of Model-Based Testing, we’ll delve into its key components, benefits, challenges, and real-world applications, shedding light on how it’s revolutionizing the way we ensure the reliability and quality of software systems.

What is Model Based Testing?

Model-based testing, often abbreviated as MBT, is a systematic approach to software testing where abstract models are used as a basis for designing and generating test cases. These models represent the expected behaviour of the system under test, including various states, inputs, and expected outcomes. Test cases are automatically derived from these models, reducing the need for manual test case design. This method aims to increase testing efficiency, improve test coverage, and facilitate early defect detection by aligning the testing process with the models created, making it an essential tool in modern software quality assurance.

Model Based Testing Example

For instance, if you have a transition in the model from “Login” to “Transfer Funds,” the testing tool can automatically generate test cases. These cases ensure that the application allows users to log in successfully, select accounts for transferring funds, and verifies that the transaction is executed accurately.

As the banking application evolves with new features or updates, you can adapt the model, and the testing tool will automatically generate updated test cases. This approach streamlines testing, enhances coverage, and accelerates the detection of defects, making Model-Based Testing an asset in ensuring software quality.

Get here the Best List of Model Based Testing Tools.

Types of MBT

1. Finite State Machine (FSM) Testing:

  • FSM testing is used for systems with well-defined states and state transitions, such as embedded systems.
  • Test cases are generated to validate the correctness of state transitions and the system’s behaviour in each state.
  • FSMs provide clear, visual representations of system behaviour, making it easier to design tests.

2. Statecharts Testing:

  • Statecharts extend FSMs, allowing for more complex modelling with state hierarchies and event-driven behaviours.
  • Ideal for systems with intricate state management, like control systems in aircraft or industrial machinery.
  • Testing using Statecharts ensures that complex systems operate as expected.

3. Decision Table Testing:

  • Decision tables are used to model complex decision rules and logic.
  • Test cases are generated to cover different combinations of conditions and actions defined in the decision table.
  • This approach ensures that all possible scenarios are tested, particularly in rule-based systems.

4. UML Testing:

  • UML diagrams, including activity, sequence, and use case diagrams, are used to model system behaviour and interactions.
  • Test cases are generated based on the UML diagrams to validate that the software adheres to its specifications.
  • UML testing is essential for systems with detailed behavioural requirements.

5. Markov Model-Based Testing:

  • Markov models are employed to test systems with probabilistic behaviours, such as networking protocols.
  • This method assesses system reliability under various probabilistic scenarios and identifies vulnerabilities.
  • It’s crucial for applications where probabilistic events can impact system behaviour.

6. Data-Flow Testing:

  • Data-flow models are used to analyse the flow and transformation of data within a system.
  • Test cases focus on verifying the correct flow of data through the system, including data processing and storage.
  • It’s particularly useful in data-intensive applications like databases and data processing systems.

7. Scenario-Based Testing:

  • Scenario-based MBT generates test cases based on specific usage scenarios or user stories.
  • It ensures that the software meets real-world user expectations and behaviour.
  • This approach is essential for applications where user interaction and experience are critical, like mobile apps and web services.

Advantages of Model Testing

  • Efficiency: Model-based testing (MBT) automates test case generation, saving time and effort. It streamlines the testing process by creating test scenarios from abstract models, enhancing testing efficiency.
  • Early Defect Detection: MBT identifies defects at an early stage of development. This early detection minimizes the cost and effort required to address issues, improving software quality and reliability.
  • Comprehensive Test Coverage: MBT systematically covers various system states and transitions, ensuring that test cases address a wide range of scenarios, including edge cases often missed in manual testing.
  • Reproducibility: Test cases generated from models are consistent and reproducible. This is crucial for reliable regression testing, ensuring that software changes do not introduce new defects.
  • Improved Communication: MBT uses visual models to enhance communication between teams. The models provide a clear and intuitive representation of system behaviour, making it easier for stakeholders to understand testing objectives and results.
  • Resource Optimization: By automating test case generation, MBT allows testing teams to allocate their time to critical tasks such as analysis, result interpretation, and fine-tuning of test scenarios. This optimization of resources can improve overall testing quality and effectiveness.

How Model based testing works?

Model-Based Testing (MBT) is a systematic approach to software testing that uses abstract models to design and generate test cases. Here are the seven key steps in how MBT works, with a more detailed explanation for each step, consisting of three points:

  1. Model Creation:
  • Create an abstract model that represents the expected behaviour of the system under test. This model defines states, transitions, and inputs.
  • The model can use various techniques, such as finite state machines, statecharts, or decision tables.
  • The modelling process often involves collaboration between testers, developers, and domain experts to ensure accuracy.
  1. Model Validation:
  • The created model is subject to validation to ensure it accurately reflects the intended system behaviour.
  • Validation involves reviews, inspections, and simulations to ensure the model’s correctness.
  • Stakeholders, including domain experts and developers, provide feedback to validate the model.
  1. Test Case Generation:
  • Once the model is validated, test cases are automatically generated from the model.
  • These test cases are derived from the model’s states, transitions, and inputs, ensuring that various system behaviours are covered.
  • Automated test case generation saves time and effort compared to manual test case design.

  1. Test Execution:
  • The generated test cases are executed against the actual system under test.
  • This involves interacting with the software, providing inputs, and observing how the system responds.
  • The behaviour of the system is closely monitored during test execution.

  1. Result Comparison:
  • During test execution, the observed behaviour of the system is compared to the expected behaviour defined in the model.
  • Testers compare the actual outcomes with the predicted outcomes, and any discrepancies are identified.
  • This step helps in identifying failures or issues in the software.

  1. Defect Reporting:
  • When discrepancies or defects are discovered during testing, they are reported to the development team.
  • Early defect detection is a significant advantage of MBT, allowing for timely resolution of issues.
  • Detailed defect reports typically include information on the issue, the test case that triggered it, and the model element involved.

  1. Model Maintenance and Iteration:
  • As the system evolves or changes are made, the abstract model is updated to reflect these modifications.
  • Test cases can be regenerated based on the updated model, ensuring that testing remains aligned with the current state of the application.
  • The iterative nature of MBT allows for continuous refinement and adaptation based on feedback and evolving requirements.

Uses in test automation 

Model-Based Testing (MBT) offers several uses in test automation, including:

  • Test Case Generation: Model-Based Testing (MBT) automates the creation of test cases, reducing manual effort and ensuring systematic coverage of different system states and transitions.
  • Test Coverage Improvement: MBT systematically covers various scenarios, including edge cases, leading to more comprehensive test coverage and better identification of issues.
  • Early Defect Detection: MBT detects defects at an early stage of development, minimizing the cost of addressing issues and enhancing software quality.
  • Regression Testing: MBT allows for the reuse of test cases for regression testing, ensuring that existing functionality remains intact during software updates.
  • Adaptability to Changes: As the system evolves, MBT easily adapts by updating the model and test cases, maintaining testing alignment with evolving software.
  • Enhanced Communication: Visual models in MBT improve communication between testing and development teams, making it easier to understand testing objectives and results.
  • Resource Optimization: MBT streamlines test case generation, allowing testers to allocate time to critical tasks like analysis, resulting in improved overall testing quality.


In conclusion, Model-Based Testing (MBT) emerges as a powerful ally in the realm of software testing. Its ability to systematically generate test cases from abstract models offers a range of advantages, from enhancing efficiency and ensuring early defect detection to maintaining comprehensive test coverage and adaptability to software changes. MBT not only optimizes resource allocation but also fosters clear communication and supports efficient regression testing. As the software landscape continues to evolve, MBT stands as a reliable, cost-effective, and adaptable testing methodology, ultimately contributing to the delivery of high-quality, reliable software products while reducing testing costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Challenges of Model-Based Testing?

The challenges of Model-Based Testing (MBT) include designing complex and accurate models, validating their correctness, selecting the right tools, maintaining models as software evolves, training teams for MBT adoption, overcoming initial overhead, integrating MBT into existing workflows, and considering its applicability to specific software types and industries. Addressing these challenges is essential for successful MBT implementation in software testing processes.

Which model is used for testing?

Various models are used for testing, depending on the specific software and testing goals. Common models include Finite State Machines (FSMs), Statecharts, Decision Tables, and Unified Modelling Language (UML) diagrams. These models help represent system behaviour, states, transitions, and decision logic. The choice of model depends on the complexity of the system, the nature of the testing, and the preferences of the testing team.

What are the methods of model-based testing?

Model-Based Testing (MBT) methods include Finite State Machines (FSM) testing, Statecharts testing, Decision Table testing, Unified Modelling Language (UML) testing, Markov Model-Based Testing, Data-Flow testing, Scenario-Based testing, and Control-Flow testing. Each method is tailored to specific system characteristics and testing needs, allowing testers to select the most appropriate approach for their software or application.

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