Preparing for the PSM1 and Sample Questions

The PSM 1 (Professional Scrum Master 1) exam assesses your knowledge of scrum. Preparing for the PSM1 doesn't  require you to attend an official training course beforehand. Unlike the Certified Scrum Master certification, this exam costs $150, unlike the cost of $1,200.00 for the CSM. The PSM1 is based on the Scrum Guide authored by Ken Schwaber (the founder of Scrum.org and co-creator of Scrum) and Jeff Sutherland (co-creator of Scrum). Preparing for the PSM1 starts with understanding where you are at.  If you are taking the Professional Scrum Master 1, I recommend you take 15 minutes and take this sampler to determine if you are ready. The Professional Scrum Master 1 is not like the Certified Scrum Master exam, it's designed to determine how well you master Scrum. The exam has a pass mark of 85% it will pay off to be very thorough in reviewing the Scrum Guide and taking the opportunity of asking an expert for guidance.

PSM1 Assessment

The exam is all scenario based, making it more difficult for those who don't have any experience in Scrum. If you do well here, you are ready to take the PSM1 Assessment with Scrum.org The Scrum Guide is a comprehensive guide to Scrum. You’ll want to make sure to thoroughly understand the entire document. Scrum.org also provides an online open assessment. The assessment consists of 30 multiple choice questions, you have one hour to complete. I recommend that you do this open assessment a few times until you get a perfect score and under 20 minutes. Preparing for the Professional Scrum Master 1 will require you to take the PSM 1 assessment. The assessment will prepare you for the Professional Scrum Master I exam, which consists of a one hour limit to 80 questions. The Professional Scrum Master I assessment consists of multiple choice, multiple answer, and true and false questions.

Before you take the test...

Before preparing for the PSM1, I like to take a few minutes to give you some exam pointers that may make the difference between passing and failing. Many of us are not great at taking exams, so if you are like me, remember this section. I want to reiterate, the Scrum Guide is the complete guide to rules of the game. Make sure you have the latest copy. The scrum guide is updated on a regular basis, so make sure your are reading the latest, you don't want to take the test and be surprised. The scrum rules play a big part in maintaining transparency, inspection, and adaptation. If you haven't already reviewed the scrum guide I recommend you do so before opening the video. [the_ad id="25173"]


Here are some pointers I want you to keep in mind during the test.
  1. Some of the questions in the open assessment also appear in the Professional Scrum Master I exam so make sure to take the open assessment.
  2. If your organization is already practicing scrum, understand how its current execution differs from the Scrum Guide, which is how it should be executed. Once you do this, but aside how your company practices scrum. The exercise is meant to give you a clear understanding of the misapplication of scrum, so when you see a question or two about sprint zero, you know the answer.
  3. The test will use it the way you currently practice scrum against you. Many organizations introduce activities that are not part of scrum. For example I mentioned Sprint 0 above, another example of is a “Hardening Sprints”. Don’t fall into the trap. For purposes of the test, go into a Scrum World where everything works as the guide outlines. Don't second guess yourself by thinking of the way your company does things.
  4. Try to practice scrum as it is supposed to work in your daily projects. If you don't have a team or your company isn't Agile, try to imagine yourself in the situational questions.
  5. Some questions are not straightforward and you will need to use the process of elimination to get the correct answer(s).

Pointers continued...

  1. 60% of the exam questions relate to roles and responsibilities, so take the time to understand how these roles should perform.
  2. Check your wrong answers with us and make sure you learn from it and not just memorize the answers. It is a receipt for failure.
  3. Read carefully. Some of the questions have multiple answers. Don’t make the mistake of answering with one answer when the question required more. It’s common sense, but many of us either rush through or skim through questions.
  4. Make it a point of checking for how many answers to choose, before answering a question. Look for trick words like “should” and “could”, “Not”, “Except”. The exam is filled with these in attempt to mess with you.
  5. Mark questions you have trouble with and leave them for last. Leave enough time to go back and try to answer them.
  6. Don't take time out of the exam to look up answers. You will lose precious time. Some questions are not straightforward and you will need to use the process of elimination to get the correct answer(s).
  7. Try to practice scrum as it is supposed to work in your daily projects. If you don't have a team or your company isn't Agile, try to imagine yourself in the situational questions.

Preparing for the PSM1 exam...

Step 1

To study for the exam I recommend you start with reading the scrum guide from end to end. Now if your native language is not English, read the scrum guide first in your language. Afterward read it in English to lock in the translation. If you are Spanish speaking and having trouble with the language reach out to me, I would be happy to help.

Step 2

After completing your first pass, I want you to get markers and sticky notes out to mark the roles & responsibilities. and rules that apply to them.

Step 3

Now do the same for the events and artifacts. Making sure you highlight the corresponding rules.

Step 4

Are you finding there are a lot of rules? If you aren't you're digging in deep enough. Lucky for you, I've got an exam prep that does all of this for you. Plus you get the added bonus of 100 sample exam questions. You can find it here.

Step 5

Concentrate your study around:
  • Agile Manifesto & Principles: Get in the mindset
  • Scrum Theory: Empiricism and the 3 Pillars
  • Roles & Responsibilities: All three roles
  • Self Organized teams: always favor empowering teams
  • Scrum Events and their corresponding outputs
  • Artifact Transparency, why transparency is necessary
  • Scaling Scrum Teams (who and how)

Problems with questions...

If you have any problems while preparing for the PSM1 or with the questions here, it is a good bet you won't do well on the exam. Here is what you should do:
  1. I recommend you use this area to leave a comment or questions. Or use our DearAgile forum, there is no such thing as a dumb question. You have no excuses, reach out!
  2. Read through my blog posts, and others personal experiences.
  3. Get additional resources. When I first started with scrum I purchased Mike Beedle's book, "Agile Software Development with Scrum". I still have the book and every so often I go through it. Other books recommended could be found here.
  4. Some post you written by Ian Mitchell about Scrum and Agile you may find value in. I think they are useful http://agile.dzone.com/articles/sprint-retrospectives-practice http://agile.dzone.com/articles/sprint-planning-practice http://agile.dzone.com/articles/sprint-reviews-practice http://agile.dzone.com/articles/sprint-backlogs-practice http://agile.dzone.com/articles/product-backlogs-practice http://agile.dzone.com/articles/definitions-done-practice http://agile.dzone.com/articles/scrum-master-servant
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Passed Scrum.org's Assessment...

If you have passed Scrum.org's Professional Scrum Master 1 assessment consistently for at least three times, you are officially ready to sit for your exam. Come back and let us know you passed! Good luck to you!