PSM stands for Professional Scrum Master, a certification for the professionals who intend to work in an Agile Scrum environment. It is also valuable for people who are already working in Agile environment and try to find solution to their current process problems. Taking such certification validates your knowledge depth about Scrum and equips you with an authenticated admittance. Follow the exam preparation tips and guide for sitting in exam.
What is Scrum
Scrum has proven to be one of the most effective frameworks of agile. An increasing number of companies, both small and large, are adopting agile practices and are looking for people who have mastered Scrum.
Scope of PSM1
Having a certified Scrum professional is worthwhile for companies to adopt Agile quickly. As a side note, it is also beneficial to learn about Scrum lifecycle even if you are not working as Scrum Master.
There are two well recognized Scrum Master exams.
- CSM – Certified Scrum Master
- PSM1 – Professional Scrum Master, level 1
This exam is arranged by Scrum.org. No official training is required for this certification, but you need to achieve at least an 85% to pass the exam. If you are disciplined enough this could also be accomplished through self-study or by taking a training by Scrum.
In this blog post, we will guide you through a step by step process on how to prepare and pass the PSM1 certification exam.
1. Preparation for PSM1 Exam
Preparation for this exam can be very easy, but you have to know what to focus on. Here we provide you with tips from certified PSMs who have passed this exam and are working successfully in an Agile environment.
1.1 Study Materials
To prepare for PSM1, people study various Agile books, take online courses that cover all different Agile methodologies. With all the various sources of Scrum information present over internet, it can become a bit confusing to keep them all straight, which is why we suggest to read only the following for the PSM1 exam; Scrum books and Scrum Narrative and PSM Guide.
1.2 Tips for passing Professional Scrum master (PSM1 )exam
Here are some tips that would make it easier for you to better understand Scrum and pass the PSM exam. Be ready to study and take multiple attempts of the online preparation tests. The exam is not easy until you practice a lot.
- Read the Scrum Guide and refer back to it whenever a tricky question shatters your confidence of knowing Scrum. It is only 16 pages long and helps with clearing up your Scrum concepts.
- Take the Open Assessments available at Scrum.org until you get 100% scores in all of the tests. Taking the Product Owner open assessment also prepares you to resolve complex questions that might come up during the exam.
- Join and/or search for professional Scrum community forums to find good explanations to questions you might have. You can find very good Agile/Scrum discussions on Scrum.org.
- Search the internet and take any other available free assessment exams for PSM preparation. Each practice exam will teach you a little more.
- Must Read this free guide: Scrum Training Manual by Frank Turley and Nadar K. Rad. It captures some topics that are not in the Scrum Guide but can be part of the exam.
- Retake all three mplaza exams to tighten your grip on all topics of exams.
- Focus on Scrum Values and go through them separately. Maximizing Scrum is a good article to understand Scrum Values.
- Go through the Evidence-Based Management Guide to learn from practical examples.
- Read the Nexus Guide to learn about Scaling Scrum. There might be a couple of related questions in the exam.
- Learn about charts especially Burn-down charts, CFD and Cone of Uncertainty. There will be a few questions of interpreting these charts.
- Repeat steps until all practice exams give you 100% results.
Note: Reading Thales Study and Nexus Guide is only to further enhance your knowledge of handling complex teams. Try to avoid reading Agile material that is not related to Scrum, as this will prevent you from extra confusion and complexities.
2. Tips for sitting the exam
The PSM1 exam is taken online and you only have 60 minutes to attempt 80 questions. You must have at least 68 correct answers to pass the exam. It is essential to be as familiarized as possible with these concepts as time is limited and many candidates end up leaving some questions unanswered.
- Stable internet connection: The exam is online so make sure that you have a stable internet connection. Attempt the exam in the most stable internet connection hour of the day.
- Choose a peaceful time slot: The more relaxed you are with the least amount of distractions will result in better exam scores. Find the best time for yourself.
- Read questions carefully: Many multiple choice questions seem similar when you read them too quickly.
- Beware of word tricks: Some very common tricks used in the exam learn to differentiate between the two:
- should vs could
- attend vs participate.
- Use a Timer: Use a timer when doing your practice exams. This will ensure you are able to answer all the questions within the limited amount of time.
- Mark the confusing question: If you get stuck in answering a question skip it for the time being. To save time and energy, mark confusing questions and attempt them later.
- Decide on one reliable resource for help: Plan which guides you are going to use as a reference beforehand and decide on only one or two resources. Either it’s your own notes of confusing topics or a reliable Scrum guide. Searching the internet blindly to find the right answer might consume all your time.
3. What is Next after PSM1?
After passing the exam, it is recommended to look for advanced level PSM certifications to aid you in handling complex situations that come along with Scrum management. PSM II enhances your knowledge on real-world complicated problems and PSM III can help experienced Scrum Masters to handle complex teams and organizations effectively.
For complex organizational structures, it is worthwhile to read about widely used methodologies like: Scrum of Scrum, SAFe, and the Nexus guide. These agile methodologies are helpful to support organizations in scaling Scrum.