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96.3% First Attempt PSM 1

Last post 06:26 pm October 4, 2017 by Chris Belknap
2 replies
10:36 pm August 22, 2017

Passed with 96.3% first attempt! Not perfect, but it's high enough that I want to share my preparation experience here, hoping it'd help who're studying for it.

Background: 2 semesters of Agile experience in my university, but not Scrum specifically.

Goals in setting up study plan: not too much reading, learning from mock exams, and low cost

Resources used: 

  • Reading:

    • Scrum Guide(FREE): At first I thought it missed a lot of information, so I only read it once. However, after I practiced for a few mock exams, I realized that it actually describes in a very condensed and precise language. In other words, it doesn't lack any information, but it may be hard to grasp the implicit meaning in the beginning.  Memorization of the keywords is recommended, or deep enough understanding that enables quick reactions when encountering different scenarios.
    • Management Plaza's "The Scrum Master Training Manual"(FREE): Helpful in complementing my understanding for the Scrum Guide. I saw in the forums a lot of people read books recommended either by or successful PSM1 takers, but they usually cost you 20 or 40 per book. Combining them all is quite a bit--you probably won't feel secure to read only one book, what happens the one you selected doesn't cover it all? This guide is free and useful, so I recommend it.
    • Nexus Guide(FREE): PSM1 contains a few questions about scaled scrum, so this guide worths reading a couple times.
  • Practice tests:
    • Open Scrum(FREE): Essential and central. I can finish it in 5 or 7 minutes with 100% in the final stage of preparation. I think it takes about 3 rounds for you to see all the questions in the database. Some reflected that they saw similar or same questions in the actual exam, but I was too nervous to keep track of it.
    • Mikhail Lapshin 80 Questions(FREE): Expanded the scope from Open Scrum. I found my weak areas here. Mastering this set of questions help you to get the hang of the knowledge Scrum Guide covers. I attached the real mode(timed, explanation in the end) link, but practice mode(untimed, explanation below the question) is available as well. 
    • Management Plaza 3 Practice Exams($29): Included questions about scaled Scrum, which is beyond Scrum Guide and the coverage of usual PSM1 mock exams. So I considered this a necessary investment. Similar, questions from MP appeared in my PSM1. I guess you don't have to read the Nexus Guide if you understood all scaled scrum questions here, but I read it anyway.

Efforts: reading Scrum Guide multiple times, MP's guide a couple times, and Nexus Guide a couple times; practicing all the mock exams 3 rounds, which each round includes Open Scrum three times, ML one time, MP one or two times each exam. 



Questions: I'm really confused about this knowledge blocks, which two exam questions made from it. It was about if an optimized development team should contain a single or multiple tech layers. I said multiple tech layers. Any insights? Thanks in advance!



05:51 pm October 4, 2017


I just took first simulated exam from and confused on two questions.



Who can replace Sprint Backlog items during the Sprint?

  •         The Product Owner and the Development Team together
  •         The Scrum Team
  •         The Scrum Master
  •         The Product Owner
  •         The Development Team
  •         No one

‘Answer is no one.



Who adds new work to the Sprint Backlog during the Sprint?

        The Development Team

        The Product Owner and the Development Team together

        The Product Owner

        The whole Scrum Team together

        The Scrum Master


Answer is development team.


I believe both of these questions are contradictory to each other as first who is saying no one cans replace sprint backlog and second one is answering development team. Can anyone explain?



06:26 pm October 4, 2017

One difference is 'Sprint Backlog items', versus 'work items'.  I view a work item as a task within a Sprint Backlog item.  So the Dev Team can add new work (tasks) for question 2.  

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