Today I passed the Professional Scrum Master I Assessment with 95% mark (85% is required to pass). Here are my impressions while it’s still fresh in my mind.
The assessments consisted of the 80 randomly chosen multiple choice questions. Some questions came from the Free Assessment test (more on that later) though most did not. Overall, the test presented a balanced mix of definitions and situational questions mostly based on the official Scrum guide, yet I did encounter several questions stepping outside of the guide’s boundaries. For instance, the questions about the purpose and the usage of the burn-down charts (the most recent edition of the guide offers no specifics on the charts).
I felt fairly confident of my scrum knowledge, however, the biggest concern was to be able to answer 80 questions in 60 minutes (45 seconds per question).
The very first question I saw was immediately recognizable from the Free Assessment, which helped me greatly to relax and to manage the stress. It turned out, I was able to answer all questions in about 40 minutes and then spent another 15 on reviewing few questions that I wasn’t 100% sure about. I finished 5 min before the clock ran out.
My preparation recipe
Note: The PSM I assessment isn’t free; at the time of me taking the test the cost was US $100. Unlike Scrum Alliance’s CSM test, you are not required to attend a class to be eligible to sit the exam.
The main resource I used to study for this test was the official Scrum guide by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland:
Official Scrum Rulebook
Free download from Scrum.org
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 larger pool. My advice is to keep practicing until you consistently score 100% in the open assessment.
Scrum Open Assessment
Free assessment from Scrum.org
I do have to say that the actual work experience in a Scrum team helps a lot. I suppose it’s not impossible to pass the test without the hands-on scrum experience but simply memorizing the definitions and correct answers to situational questions isn’t the best way to learn. And there were quite a lot of situational questions on the assessment. You need to keep in mind, though, that the test assumes that you’re operating in the ‘ideal’ scrum environment. That is, if your experience contradicts the scrum guide, go with the guide.
For more in-depth Scrum theory check out Ken Schwaber’s “Software in 30 days”.
Additionally, I recommend spending some time on Scrum.org’s forum reading up about other test takers experience and their feedback.