how i prepared for PAL I

Last post 04:01 pm December 12, 2018
by Eugene M
13 replies
06:05 pm June 16, 2018

hi, i would like to share how i prepared for the PAL I exam (after passing PSM I & II, PSPO I and SPS).

I read some chapters from the books "Mastering Leadership (Robert J. Anderson)" and "Reinventing Organizations (Frederic Laloux)", the Scrum Guide (after comparing it with the 2016 version) and some blogs and articles.  My native language is not English so the first book was a bit harder to read but the second one was easier and also more entertaining. I was already acquainted with the work from Daniel Pink and Patrick Lencioni. All these books are on the Scrum Suggested Reading list for PAL I.

These topics were challaging for me: Agile Product Management, the why for Scrum and how the Excutive can support the Product Owner. Have a look at the PAL I Assessment Subject Areas ! They give you guidelines for your preparation. Don't expect the answers to come from one of the books or blogs, the assessment felt more like applying the theoretical concepts in real-life agile leader and PO situations.

I guess the Product Owner Open and Scrum Developer Open can help also.  But don't repeat them like 100 times.. i never believed that aproach. At this level it's useless to learn answers by heart.

good luck, Lars.

02:43 pm June 17, 2018

Great advice Lars, and Congratulations on the achievement.  I am looking forward to seeing you get the PSM III badge sometime!



04:36 pm June 17, 2018

It's nice that you've taken the time to share this, Lars; and congratulations on passing another exam!

I guess the Product Owner Open and Scrum Developer Open can help also.  But don't repeat them like 100 times.. i never believed that aproach. At this level it's useless to learn answers by heart.

I'd just like to add that I don't think the main benefit of taking the open assessments is memorizing answers. Hopefully by getting particular questions wrong, it provides an opportunity to identify gaps in our knowledge, or false assumptions we have made, so that we can improve our understanding.

09:46 pm June 17, 2018

Thanks for your addition Simon. You are exactly right, it's not about the repeating but the opportunity to improve. My remark about the repeating was not much clearer and should have had that addition, and maybe is not even relevant because PSK candidates very likely know that.

12:08 pm June 19, 2018

Hi Lars.

Thanks for your help: your suggestions were very valuable: I passed PAL I today. :-)

It is not an easy exam: it is often necessary to select the "best choice" between a number of potentially correct answers and it is difficult to identify it without a good knowledge of Agile and Scrum.

Two important books to read are:

"Software in 30 days" by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland

"Scrum Mastery: From good to great servant-leadership" by Geoff Watts.

There are many questions where you have to find the best solution to a problem: the examples in these books are a valuable guide to make a correct choice.

Good Luck.





01:11 pm July 12, 2018

Hi Lars, Great post and thank you for Sharing.

I have recently passed PSM I and PSPO I and I am now looking to attempt PAL I. 

The majority of posts that discuss preperation sources for PAL I make mention of the software in thirty days book.

how valuable was this book and does it contain anything in specific to agile leadership? 




06:45 pm July 12, 2018

hi Jack, i did not use that book for my prep. I'll have a look and keep you updated.


03:35 am July 13, 2018

The PAL-I was indeed a difficult exam and you need to have a deep understandign of agile practices and servant leadership in order to be able to chose the most correct answer. I think the level of the exam is more than intermediate but little less than advanced. 

Watch the time. It is true that there are only 36 questions but most of them are scenario based and the room for error is very minimal since the passing percentage is 85% out of 36 Questions.

Good Luck to all new aspirants ! 

10:55 am July 13, 2018

hI Jack, i took a better look (i already had it but never read much in it) and its a great book. I realy would recommend it for PSM I & II but not so much for PAL I, but hey, that is only my view.

wkr, Lars.

02:40 pm July 15, 2018

I found the SW in 30 book to not contain valuable info relating to the PAL exam. Just my 2 cents.

05:01 am July 18, 2018

Hi Lars, 

Thanks for checking - much appreciated. I have since purchased the Mastering Leadership book by Robert Anderson and may also try Geoff Watts Scrum Mastery book. 

Im planning to take the assessment in September, so I have a fair amount of time to prepare. 





07:23 pm September 19, 2018

HI Jack,

Have these books been valuable to prepare PAL-I ?

08:47 am December 5, 2018

Ask the masters
I am in China. We can't go to Hong Kong or Singapore for training because of our passport. Is it really helpful for Amazon's textbooks to take the test after self-study?

04:01 pm December 12, 2018

Chen, I'm not familiar with PAL I certification (it's something I should consider maybe), however, just about with anything, experience matters. So, as long as you have some experience behind you, coupled with knowledge absorbed from various books, you should be in a reasonably good position.

I can't speak in terms of "your passport" and the travel to Singapore or other countries (though you should easily be able to get to HK, since it's part of China, albeit with a special status). But training is immensely helpful, and in some cases may teach/help you much more than you can imagine.