There are many reasons why one would want to become a Professional Scrum Master. An IT professional working as a part of a Scrum Team might decide to transition to the role of a Scrum Master, while a person not from an IT background might use this as a foothold to join the IT industry. Once you decide that you want to get certified, the next question is which organization you choose. There are currently a few organizations that provide training and certifications for the role of Scrum Master like Scrum Alliance, Scrum.org, Scrum Inc., etc.
My reason to go with Scrum.org was because of the following reasons:
- I had the option to prepare for the test on my own, without having to mandatorily undertake their training (which are quite expensive); and
- The PSM I certificate doesn’t have an expiry date. (e.g. Scrum Alliance certificates have to be renewed every two years)
PSM I Assessment Details
The Professional Scrum Master level I (PSM I) test details
Fee: $150 USD per attempt
Passing score: 85%
Time limit: 60 minutes
Number of Questions: 80
Format: Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer and True/False
Language: English only
Two Weeks To Go
These videos have been developed from my personal experience of preparing and clearing the PSM I test. I suggest that you invest two weeks in the preparation of the test. In case you are unable to spend 3-4 hours a day for the test, kindly adjust the days based on your availability.
In the Week 1 of your prep (or when the test is 2 Weeks away) the following could be your first course of action:
- Step 1 - Register with Scrum.org Create your account. This will give you access to all their blogs, resources, and even training schedules. Do note, these can be accessed without registering but the act of creating an account helps set the stage for the next couple of weeks.
- Step 2 - Download the Scrum Guide Download the latest November 2020 issue of The Scrum Guide. Read the guide. Please don’t underestimate the volume and depth of knowledge, ideas, and concepts shared in this 14-paged document. As you read, you’ll realize that a lot of the understanding is left open to interpretation, and only a serious and thorough study of The Scrum Guide shall help you understand what Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland wanted to convey to its readers. Read and reflect. After that start adding your own notes and interpretations to your copy of the Guide.
- Step 3 - What is Scrum? Go through the page as it has links to all the articles, blogs, and resources you need for your test preparation.
- Step 4 - Scrum Glossary This is a quick peek into the terms and concepts of Scrum and should be referred to multiple times.
- Step 5 - Take the Scrum Open assessment. This week, taking the Scrum Open Assessment will give you an idea about the structure of the questions as well as develop familiarity with the interface. Save a pdf after every test, as it details the right answer and over time you will develop a repository of questions (with their correct answers)
One Week To Go
Into the second week of your preparation, you can consider the following action points:
- Step 1 - Buy PSM I Assessment When you buy the assessment, it acts as a driver and motivator for you as you inch closer to the test. While making the purchase you don’t need to set a date, hence, there is no problem with rescheduling or any last-minute hiccups. You can take it when you feel you’re ready to do so using the code mailed to you by Scrum.org.
- Step 2 Start Timing the Scrum Open assessments By now, you should have taken the open assessments many times. In the assessment, you have to answer 30 questions in 30 minutes. Try to increase your speed, so that you can attain accuracy within the span of 15-20 minutes. This might sound absurd, but will help you save time on D-day. Also, after taking the test 6-8 times, you will see that the questions appear from a pool of 100 (approx.) questions, and over time you are answering known questions. Practice time-management.
- Step 3 - Try the Free PSM Assessments from the Mikhail Lapshin website These are free tests that you can take either in Learning Mode or Real Mode. I took them at least once every day and find them really useful. The only problem is that it is still being updated for the 2020 version of Scrum Guide and hence you might find a few answers to be incorrect from the latest Scrum Guide standpoint. Even then, most of the questions should still be relevant to your preparation.
- Step 4 - Continue Reading the Scrum Guide You must have a very well-used and inked copy of The Scrum Guide.
- Step 5 - When are you ready to take the PSM I Test? When you are consistently scoring over 95% in your Open Scrum Assessments and above 90% in your mlapshin.com Free Assessments.
Day of the Test
These are the most important tips for your test.
- No distractions. You're taking the test at a time and place that is convenient for you. For me it was post-midnight, but only when you are able to focus without any distractions.
- Internet Connectivity This is an online test with a time box. Ensure you have stable Wi-fi, else take it on your mobile just to be sure.
- Flag all doubts You cannot leave any question unanswered. When you are faced with doubt, flag the question and move on. You can look back at the flagged questions once you sail through the 80 questions.
- Clear Desk Even though this exam is not proctored, a clear desk with a bottle of water should be sufficient. Answering 80 questions within the hour doesn’t leave you any time for reading your notes or interpreting the Guide. Having a clear desk helps you focus and that’s the most important tool.
- Tests your depth of knowledge of the Scrum framework and its application While answering questions, always base them on the Guide and not on your personal work experience. Every organization might have a few practices that are not in sync with the Guide. This test only wants to test your understanding of the Scrum framework.