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Scrum Master – How to get ready and pass the PSMI exam at scrum.org

Marta Małkowska

Marta Małkowska

Getting ready for Professional Scrum Master™ I Assessment? The best tip we can offer from our experience is to set a goal not only for passing the exam but to getting a good hang of what does being a professional Scrum Master really means. With a proper mindset focused on how to use Scrum in practice and following the below tips, you will get more than ready to pass the PSMI.

GETTING READY

Here is a list of all useful materials and links which should help you to prepare for the PSMI exam.

Scrum Guide (http://scrumguides.org)

Scrum as a lightweight and simple to understand framework has been described using only 14 pages of the actual English Scrum Guide’s content. Do not just read it a couple of times. Make sure to study it thoroughly, because every line of those 14 pages has an unique meaning. Every sentence matters and introduces a value worth recognizing.

If you are not a native English speaker, it’s also worth your time to check out the Scrum Guide in your mother language. It will give you an even better understanding of Scrum definition. Currently, Scrum guides are available in 40 different languages. If you prefer, you can also study the Scrum Guide using the audio-book version.

The Scrum Master Training Manual from Management Plaza (https://mplaza.pm/product/scrum-master-training-manual/)

This training manual is worth reading at least once since it presents some additional insight into terms like progress monitoring, burn-down charts, and velocity. What might come handy at most, are the information regarding the Scaled Scrum. Make sure to check those, because most likely you will come across some questions regarding Scrum scaling during the actual exam.

Open Assessments (https://www.scrum.org/open-assessments)

They are study tools supported by Scrum.org which provide an excellent practice. Make sure to go through Scrum Open and Product Owner assessments as many times as needed always to score 100%. It can also be helpful to check Developer Open questions, but without putting a special focus on the TDD or Continous Integration ones.

Mikhail Lapshin’s PSM Quiz (http://mlapshin.com/)

Quiz created by Mikhail Lapshin with 80 questions, just like in the real assessment. There are two modes available. Start with the learning mode – each right answer is well explained based on what definition Scrum Guide holds. Study every question and answer thoroughly. Analyze the wrong answers as well and think in which cases they would be a right answer to another type of question. Try the real mode to get the hang of answering 80 questions in 60 minutes time-box.

Scrum Glossary (https://www.scrum.org/resources/scrum-glossary)

An overview of Scrum-related terms with some non-mandatory items in Scrum explained as well. Worth to check to systemize your knowledge.

Scrum.org Forum (https://www.scrum.org/forum/scrum-forum)

You can find a special PSMI assessment section there. People share they experience regarding tough questions or actual real life scenarios and how they should be handled in consistency with Scrum rules and values. A “nice-to-check” while getting ready for the PSMI.

On top of the above, here are some additional tips on the areas of knowledge worth feeling confident in:

  • understanding which roles in the Scrum Team must and which should do something and who is solely responsible for what
  • being familiar with who can attend the Scrum events and who can participate or conduct the event
  • having an understanding of the roles outside of the Scrum Team, like stakeholders or management; check the post explaining pretty well the role of a manager in Scrum.
  • knowing the idea behind burn-down charts (what does it represent, what is the ideal line and what is a trend line, etc.)

 

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR, WHILE TAKING THE PSMI ASSESSMENT

Once you feel confident enough to take the real PSMI assessment, just go through it! It will be an emotional roller-coaster for sure, but it’s a challenge worth taking.

Here are some practical tips which might help you to stay focused and avoid stupid mistakes during the actual exam:

  • Pay attention to the number of right answers for each question. It’s clearly stated for each PSMI item. In addition be aware that circle check box means that only one answer is correct. Square one indicates that multiple answers apply.
  • 60 minutes is not a killer time-box. You will probably be able to go through all 80 questions during a first half of the time-box. Then, you should have another half to go through the bookmarked questions.
  • Go with your instincts – the first answer you thought off is usually right.
  • If you feel the first option is the right answer, give a read to the other options just to double-check.
  • If you are not completely sure what the answer should be, it’s a good idea to use deduction and eliminate the answers which are definitely wrong first.
  • Pay attention to phrases like “NO” or “NOT” in the questions.
  • Look out for answers like “all the above” or “none of the above”.
  • While reviewing the bookmarked questions, it really helps to take another look at the Scrum Guide. You can have it opened at the Table of Contents to quickly find a required section.
  • Make sure not to click on “Save & submit” button, right after answering all questions and having the last 80th question displayed. In order to view bookmarked questions use a red “Bookmarks” button.

 

AFTER PASSING THE PSMI ASSESSMENT

Once you pass the exam, you can expect the following:

  • Your test results will be summarized together with a score breakdown by subject areas: Scrum Framework, Scrum Theory & Principles, Cross-functional & Self-organizing Teams, Coaching & Facilitation. You don’t need to make a screenshot – the same results will be sent to your e-mail address.
  • After logging in to Scrum.org, under your profile, you will find the PSMI badge and be able to download the Professional Scrum Master I Certificate (pdf), with your name on it.
  • You will be able to find your name on the list of Professional Scrum Master I certification holders available here: https://www.scrum.org/certification-list

There is no much more to say than wishing good luck to all future to-be-certified Scrum Masters, out there!

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