Recently I passed the Professional Scrum Master I Assessment exam with 95% mark (85% is required to pass). Here I am going to share my preparation strategy and my exam experience to help you study and successfully get PSM-I certification.
1Learn what to expect
- Unlike Scrum Alliance’s CSM test, you are not required to attend a class to be eligible for the exam.
- The PSM-I assessment exam consists of 80 randomly chosen multiple choice and true / false questions.
- You have 60 minutes to complete the exam.
- The test isn’t free, it costs $150. You will be sent a password valid for one exam. If you fail, you will have to purchase another password.
- This is online exam, you can take it at home or any other location where you feel comfortable.
2Study official Scrum guide
The main resource I used to study for this test was the official Scrum guide by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland:
Note that even though you can download the guide in more than 30 languages, the exam is only available in English.
3Take free practice test
To practice and to get to know some of the questions I used the Open Assessment (30 free practice questions from Scrum.org). The best part is that some questions from the open assessment were included into the real test, however you can’t tell in advance which ones you’re going to get, as the questions are picked randomly from a much larger pool.
I do have to mention that the actual work experience in a Scrum team helps. It’s still possible to pass the exam without any hands-on Scrum experience but simply memorizing the definitions and correct answers to situational questions wouldn’t be the best way to learn. And yes, there were quite a few situational questions on the exam.
The exam assumes that you’re operating in the ‘ideal’ scrum environment. If your experience contradicts the guide, go with the guide. My advice is to keep practicing until you consistently score 100% in the open assessment.
4Boost your Scrum knowledge
- For more in-depth Scrum theory check out Ken Schwaber’s “Software in 30 days”. The book was written a while ago, so if you notice any inconsistency between the book and the latest scrum guide, yet again, go with the guide.
- Check out Scrum.org’s forum for others experience and feedback on the exam.
5Take the exam!
Few last notes:
- My biggest concern was answering 80 questions in 60 minutes (at the rate of 45 seconds per question).
- Some questions came from the Free Assessment test though most did not.
- Overall, the test presented a balanced mix of definitions and situational questions mostly based on the official Scrum guide.
- Coincidentally, the very first question was one of the Free Assessment questions, which helped me to relax and manage the stress.
- I was able to answer all questions in about 40 minutes and spent 15 min on review.