PREPARING YOUR PROFESSIONAL SCRUM MASTER 1 (PSM1) CERTIFICATION


A straightforward guideline on what to do when you want to take your Professional Scrum Master 1 (PSM1) certification

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INTRODUCTION

Picture taken from http://www.scrum.org

I remember those days when I planned to take my PSM1 certification.
Took me months to search for a good reference to prepare myself.

Frankly speaking, I’m a well planned kind of person. Even more, a perfectionist and a competitive person. At least that’s what my parents and my friends used to say.
Taking a certification without knowing what I’m going to face is like going to a war without knowing what weapon should I bring.

If that’s sound familiar, you are on the right article.

I tried to search for articles or blogs about people’s experience on their preparation for PSM1 certification.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find much real life experience. Most of them just talk about the theory and book reference I should read.
Well.. Come on.. I need a straight forward recommendation.
Some people just don’t like to share -__-”

That’s why I decided to write this. No more people will feel the uncertainty like I felt before 🙂

Let us get started.

AM I READING THE RIGHT REFERENCE?

Picture taken from http://www.scrum.org

The analogy is like this.
If you want to learn about a religion, read the Big Book of that religion.
If you want to know about Christianity, read The Bible.
If you want to know about Moslem, read The Quran.
If you want to know about Scrum, read The Scrum Guide.

As simple as that.

There are many references about scrum out in the internet, but trust me, what you need to do is read the scrum guide from A to Z, read it word by word, let it sink in your brain, dream about it, trust every word of it, then you’re on the right track.

A friend of mine tried to tell me that to pass PSM1 certification, the only resource I can trust is only the scrum guide.
I didn’t believe him at that time, I read many books, tried to find lots of resources, but trust me, the scrum guide is more than enough.

But wait, reading is not enough (at least for me), I need to know the exam sample, somewhere where I can test my understanding of the scrum guide.

Then again, the hunting begun…
I tried to search for exam samples from internet.
I found samples, but then I got more confuse, some of the sample’s answers were not match with the scrum guide.
Now which one should I trust?

Let me share the perfect resource to practice:

  1. Scrum Open Assesment
  2. Mikhail Laphsin’s blog. God bless him for making such a great mock quiz.
  3. Test Taker Online
    Note: I didn’t pay for the test. I just took the exam sample many times to get different questions 🙂

Take those tests lots of time, make sure you get at least 90 to 95 percent and you’ll be ready.

That’s all? Really?
Yes. That’s all. Trust me!

SHOULD I DO SCRUM FIRST OR CERTIFIED FIRST?

Doesn’t matter whether you certified first or not, the most important thing is that you understand the scrum methodology before you run a scrum project.

Read and understand the scrum guide and do the exercises I describe above before you start doing scrum.
Otherwise, you will be lost and mix things up.

I’m not saying certification is not important.
Certification is important, especially for your career path and your linked in profile 🙂
But understanding the scrum guide before you run a scrum project is more important than the certification itself.

WHAT TO PREPARE ON THE “D” DAY?

One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.
Arthur Ashe

I assume you already know where to take the certification.
If not, please refer to this link https://www.scrum.org/Assessments/Professional-Scrum-Master-Assessments

The next thing is building your self confidence.
You’ve done your part (preparation), now trust your self and go to the battle.

Apart from mental and knowledge preparation, I also suggest you to prepare from the technical side.
I make sure that I have a good internet connection, a silent place, a free 60 minutes of time and support from my friends as the technical preparations.

Oops, there’s one more … Pray 🙂

WHAT’S NEXT?

Yeayy!!! Congratulations!
You passed, right?

The next thing to do is implementing the knowledge you got in a project.

I suggest you to start looking around for scrum project candidate.
Talk to your management to run the project using scrum.
Implement the scrum immediately.

At this point, you might consider to read some books to enrich your knowledge in scrum.

I suggest you to read these books for your references: https://www.scrum.org/Courses/Professional-Scrum-Master/PSM-Subject-Areas

I will write other article about the challenges I faced while implementing scrum in a company that still new in scrum.

For now… Have fun!

Author: Christine Anna

Working in IT field since 2000. I started my career as a graphic designer, a web designer and a web programmer. Expanded my skill as a System Analyst. Not enough with that, I currently active in Project Management activities. A professional, a sport lover, a singer, a social community activist, a mother, a wife :) Visit my linkedin: bit.ly/christineanna-linkedin ---- Blog Owner: http://www.annalogy.info - - - - http://yummyremedy.wordpress.com - - - - Blog Contributor: http://www.ru-rocker.com

22 thoughts on “PREPARING YOUR PROFESSIONAL SCRUM MASTER 1 (PSM1) CERTIFICATION”

    1. Congratulation, Jobin
      It works, right? 😀

      You must be busy with scrum projects now.
      You are welcome to share some experience here.

      Lot’s of things to do after the certification.
      I will write some more about that in this blog.
      Stay tune 🙂

      1. Thanks Christine.

        Yes. I’m practicing Scrum for last 2 years and flooded with a lot of documents for preparation… I tried out the scrum open assessments several times and scored 100% consistently. Then I tried out the http://mlapshin.com/ and realized that the preparation was not so good :-). The real life scrum experience without realizing the inner meanings of scrum guide are not enough for clearing the PSM. I was so confused after trying out the second set of the quiz from Mike. I got your link from http://mlapshin.com/ . I badly want some genuine experience information from a person like you and after reading your blog I was confident enough to attend the exam. Whatever I learned by reading different types of materials available on the internet was concluded nicely in your blog. Then I tried out the test taker and cleared the sample questions 10 times with 100%… Yes … that’s it… Thanks again 🙂

        1. Glad to hear that, Jobin.

          I’m in the middle of writing an article about the challenge a scrum master face in grooming a product owner.

          Once it’s published, please share some thought there 🙂

          Cheers.

  1. Christine Anna,

    Great approach. I sort of followed something similar.
    On the ‘D’ day I would also add a note about attending the Scrum Open just before taking the paid test. Helps park the questions fresh in memory. At least 5 questions are direct repeat.

    I used the book Scrum Narrative and PSM Exam Guide by Mohammed Musthafa Soukath Ali. In fact I did not have any solid prior experience before and this book helped a lot from that angle.

    Glad that I went for PSM than other certificates. I had to prepare hard but it is worth in terms of knowledge at the end other than the certification.

    Mani V

    1. Hi Mani,
      Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Yes, that’s right, I also practice just before took the exam, and some questions appeared on the exam.

      Are you planning for PSM 2?

      I still haven’t decide whether to take PSM 2 or PSPO 1.

  2. i was searching for some phrase like this that describes psm to scrum guide, and you nailed it on dot – bible. quran – wow!

    i used three sources – scrum guide. michael test. and scrum narrative and exam guide.

    i did not take any paid online practice test. cleared with 96%.

    Amy

  3. Regarding the materials that you recommend and the exam, I have to say “The Scrum Guide” isn’t complete enough to get the certification with high scores.
    The questions in these tests (Scrum Open Assesment, Mikhail Laphsin’s blog) are very good. Some questions in the real exam are exactly the same that in those tests so if you want to be really prepared, you must pass consistently those tests first. Then, during the exam, you will find some questions that aren’t covered in “The Scrum Guide”, not many, but some.
    Will you pass the exam studying only “The Scrum Guide”? Probably yes, but don’t expect a 100% score.

  4. Thanks for the advice :). I passed PSM 1 yesterday with 91%. I followed your strategy and really it helped. Some of the qns in the real exam was very different and i did not feel like i would pass after going through about 60 qns :). But i got many questions from the mock exams.

    Thanks Again!

  5. Hi Christine – Firstly i would like to say very nice article for the psm1 aspirants. Great job!!
    I am completely new in the scrum world and also dont have any experience.. but would like to know more about scrum and really wanna implement it soon with best possible opportunity.

    Being a non experience holder in scrum i found your article very helpful to gear up my preparation …Eventually I started following the suggestions mentioned by you , Furthermore, while preparing i came across few topics like burn down charts, scaled scrum .. which i believe needs to be done for the PSM certification.

    would you please tell me the how i can prepare for these topics mentioned above ??
    Is there any other areas which i need to prepare??
    Any other study references to be consider for the certification study??
    I really appreciate all suggestions .
    Thanks
    Ruchi

    1. Hi Ruchi
      Thanks.
      Glad you found it useful
      You can read more articles in my personal blog: http://www.annalogy.info
      Maybe some articles might help you.

      Regarding your questions,
      1. What kind of burn down chart issue you want to discuss?
      2. Scaled Scrum… hmm that’s quite advance, since you said you’re “non experience holder in scrum”, I think you should not worry about that too much now

      What you need to think about now is
      1. Self Organized Team
      2. Cross Functional team
      3. Helping Product Owner to create an efficient backlog

      Some readings might help.
      try Agile Estimation and Planning.
      You can find it in Safari

      Any more questions, you can always contact me through email: christine.anna.rumawas@gmail.com

      Thanks

      1. Hi Christine – thanks for coming back to me with valuable suggestions, I really appreciate that.
        Actually i read some blogs where some has mentioned that in PSM1 includes questions on burn down charts and scaled scrum… So following that i just wanted to know – how can do preparations for these topics… can please give me your thoughts on the same.
        Thanks
        Ruchi

        1. Hi again ruchi

          Aah… Okay… No need to worry for those questions. Not much questions related with scaled scrum as I remember.
          Burndown… You can just read the scrumguide.

          Go and submit for certification and pls share the good news with me 🙂

          1. HI Christine !! I passed PSM1 with 91.3 % score, thanks much for your advise – it was indeed very helpful and gave me confidence to appear for the certification.

            Now, I am wondering – how to get myself ready for Scrum master role – what should be the next step. Do i need to go through any tools or any kind of learning which is going to be helpful for that role.
            Any suggestions
            Once again thanks a lot !!
            Ruchi

          2. wow congrats Ruchi!

            To get yourself ready … humm I would say start doing a scrum project then you can learn what you need to improve.
            In order to be a good swimmer, you should swim! That’s the basic rule.

            And you can also join scrum community to learn from the experts
            Plus…read! Blogposts, books, etc

  6. Hi ,

    Not much experience as a scrum master, should i need to go for training? Is training mandatory? can i clear it just by online materials?

    1. Hi almelu…
      I didn’t take any training and when I took the psm1 certification, I had very minimum experience as SM too back then.

      Training would be good to help you understand better and act as the scrum master by the rule, but not to make you pass the certification.

      IMHO

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