How to pass PSM 1 exam

17.10.2017

Tomasz Woźniak
Technical Project Manager
Tomasz Woźniak

I recently had the opportunity to take Scrum.org’s Professional Scrum Master 1 (PSM 1) certification exam. The purpose of the assessment is to determine if the candidate has fundamental knowledge of Scrum framework and the enough practical experience of applying it. The exam lasts 60 minutes (80 questions in English) and the required level of correct answers is 85% to pass and makes the margin of error very small. Therefore, even with daily contact with Scrum, it is worth preparing for the theoretical exam. The added benefit of this approach is that you are not only refreshing the reading, but also expanding your knowledge – there is always something to discover.

Based on my experience with the learning process and the exam, I would like to share some tips and ideas that can be of help to anyone who wants to know how to pass PSM 1 exam and get a PSM 1 certificate.

Step 1. Know the enemy

For more information about the exam, please visit https://www.scrum.org/professional-scrum-certifications/professional-scrum-master-i-assessment. In particular, the Details tab

Step 2. Get ready

  1. Read the Scrum Guide (http://www.scrumguides.org/). Necessary in English – this will allow you to get acquainted with the characteristic vocabulary and phrases used in the exam questions. Importantly, the exam heavily relies on the knowledge contained in Scrum Guide, but no directly on its content.
  2. Go through the Open Scrum exam at https://www.scrum.org/open-assessments/scrum-open several times. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the Scrum.org exam platform and identify the areas you need to work on. The added value is that some of the Open Scrum questions appear on the right exam – so you can easily increase your chances.
  3. Practice with the quiz prepared by Mikhail Lapshin (http://mlapshin.com/index.php/psm-quiz/learning-mode/). The author has prepared himself some questions, but they are very similar to those I encountered on the PSM1 exam. In addition, when question is answered by the user, an explanation is given why a particular answer is correct.

Step 3. Take the exam

Make sure you have a convinient time during the exam – stable internet connection, quiet room, adequate amount of time. This will definitely help you to focus. On several forums, I have seen hint that in a separate window you can open the Scrum Guide and, if necessary, take a look on it. I do not think this is a valuable tip – there is not enough time for such action – you know the answer or you don’t. It is too late for learning. Instead, I encourage you to take screenshots of questions that surprised you – in case of fail you can use them for preparation for the next try or regardless of result, use them to deepen your knowledge. I don’t need to mention that sharing questions with other people is forbidden – these screenshots should be used only by you!

Step 4. Practice and expand your knowledge

Scrum’s base is empiricism and experience. The only way to learn this methodology is to use it – use the acquired information in practice, make mistakes and draw conclusions. At the same time remember that this is just the beginning of the way and there are many things you can learn yet – so search for inspiration, browse forums and broaden your knowledge.

I hope that above tips will help you prepare for the exam and get PSM 1 certification. Keep in mind, however, that acquiring a certificate should not be your primary goal. If this is the only motivation, consider getting another certificate, such as one that is always obtained after completing the paid training (no exam). PSM 1 preparation is a great opportunity to get to know Scrum at its best – I’m sure that using this opportunity will bring you much satisfaction and future successes.

I am sure that passing PSM 1 exam is not a coincidence, but traditionally I wish you Good luck on the exam!!!