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My experience with PSM I

Last post 03:46 pm December 24, 2018 by Scrum Support
7 replies
07:25 am December 18, 2018

Recently I took PSM I certification and my score was 81%. Lost by 4 points to attain the certification. Now I am trying to work hard and pass next time.

Few things I would like to point out here.

When I started to prepare I came across many forums which said Mikhail Lapshin and MPlaza simulated exams are closer to the real exam. Sadly that is not true. You can use the exams to gain understanding and self analyse where you stand.

Some 3 questions came from open assessment. People who passed recently also are misguiding others that Mikhail lapshin and Mplaza are main reasons for passing the exam. I noted down few questions from the exam and when I asked my friends and colleagues who attended the exam. They were shocked with those questions as they did not come across such questions in their exam. They can not come to a conclusion what could be the possible answer.

Looks like PSM I exam questions are getting updated fast and they are focusing more on practical situations which I believe is supposed to be like PSM II. Scrum guide is just a supporting material and I still feel bad on people who lied that they passed exam just by reading scrum guide.

Please do not get deceived by the forums before November 2018. I attempted on November 2018. I won't say that exam is difficult but as the Scrum concept says easy to understand difficult to master.

I request to reduce the pas percentage to 80% instead of 85%. Also earlier you allowed people to post actual exam questions in your forum but when I posted you rejected it. This is really not fair. When it is against poilcy to post actual exam questions, you should also not let those posts to be still in open.

I request all PSM I passed people to keep quiet instead of misguiding by saying Mplaza and Mikhail lapshin helps to pass the exam. 

09:50 pm December 18, 2018

I am not sure where you are getting your recommendations for Mplaza and Mikhail.  I have seen a couple of posts here that are at least 1 year old each and even in those there were people saying that those weren't absolutely the best method. The reason that posting exact questions is forbidden is to prevent mock tests from using them.  I have seen where questions from the open assessments have been posted here but I do not remember ever seeing a question from the actual tests being posted. 

I took the PSM I and the PSM II.  I used no resources other than the ones that were recommended by for preparation. 

 I still feel bad on people who lied that they passed exam just by reading scrum guide.

I can say that I passed the PSM I exam using nothing but the Scrum Guide and my existing understanding of Empirical Process.  

As for changing the pass percentage from 85% to 80% I respectfully disagree.  If I did my math correctly you are asking for 1 maybe 2 question difference.  I really don't see how that would be an improvement.  I like that the bar is high because it makes me feel like I have accomplished more and am in more of an elite group when I pass. I don't want to make this easy because it minimizes the accomplishment. I already have issues with some of the other certifications where the most you have to do to pass the test is attend a 2 day class and pass a test with an very low bar.  I choose to do the certifications because I feel the knowledge needed and the degree of excellence required makes them something to be proud of. 

07:14 am December 19, 2018

Hi Sujatha Kannan,

I am really sorry for your exam result but sure that you will pass the exam if you have good understanding about the Scrum. Recently I passed the exam and strongly recommend the following books

Scrum - A Smart Travel Companion - A pocket guide by Gunther Verheyen

Scrum Narrative and PSM Exam Guide: All-in-one Guide for Professional Scrum Master (PSM 1) Certificate Assessment Preparation   by - Mohammed Musthafa Soukath Ali

Scrum insights for Practitioners by Hiren Doshi

All the best for your exam!!








07:39 am December 19, 2018


Any resources outside are at best a guide to help you get in the zone, so to say, while taking the test. They may provide you with the environment of how going thru the actual test MIGHT look like. They are more to do with helping you practice to stay focused during the test. 

The ultimate resource of what is tested remains the Scrum Guide. 

So you can use any resource as you feel comfortable, but be aware not to cloud your understanding of scrum from such places. Hope it helps. Best wishes.

08:38 am December 19, 2018

I like that the bar is high because it makes me feel like I have accomplished more

I strongly agree with Daniel on this. It's kind of a QA I guess. People who have passed the test, have a strong knowledge on the subject. This is where I think  separates from the other Scrum certification institutions. 

Also earlier you allowed people to post actual exam questions

Are these questions not obsolete by now?


Besides this, I think you can pass the exam with only reading the Scrum guide and common knowledge:) 

02:32 pm December 19, 2018

I recently passed my PSMI using the Scrum Guide and Jeff Sutherland's 'Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time' as my main, but certainly not only, references. I agree with Daniel and Sandur that a high bar gives the award a greater significance. It proves you have a good understanding of the Scrum principles.

08:07 am December 22, 2018


I passed PSM I in 2016. I thought the course materials, the scrum guide and open assessment were suited and consistent with the certification test. I remember some easy question and some more tricky ones. In my opinion it was logic for a 1st level exam.

2 years later, regarding the feedback from my colleagues, the test seems to be much more difficult with some questions and not really explained in the documentation :

- multiple teams coordination (related to internal or exertenal reasons), division of team, organization of teams (by feature or by components)

- questions based on concept not clearly studied in the books (at this level) : technical debts, budget, architecture

- question about roles more developed in books dealing with scrum of scrums management (SAFe, PM etc..)

Moreover, the certification assessment level seems to be 1 or 2 step higher than the open assessment which made them really surprised on the certification day.


03:46 pm December 24, 2018

Hello Alex,

Thank you for your message. Our teams have been hard at work making improvements to our assessment platform. Some of the enhancements we've made include:

  • faster loading times between questions
  • a "Confirm Finish" button to prevent users from accidentally submitting their assessment before they are ready
  • the ability to see the full text for any question which has already been answered
  • a more consistent user experience between our free practice Open Assessments and Professional Scrum assessments for certification

In response to some feedback we've received, we've re-categorized the subject areas into more granular focus areas, so you can better direct your studies in the specific topics you scored lower in. We feel this guided feedback will help more people succeed on the assessment through achieving a deeper understanding of Scrum and its underlying concepts and principles. 

Instead of having only 4 broad categories, the PSM I now has 5 overarching learning competencies broken down into 16 distinct focus areas. The results email shows a breakdown of how well a person did in each of these focus areas, which link directly to the corresponding resources in our Scrum Master Learning Path when your score is below 85%. 

Each question and answer that appears on our assessments has been created by and thoroughly reviewed by groups of vetted Professional Scrum Experts from around the world. To maintain our high standards, these questions undergo continuous refinement to ensure they align with the most recent version of the Scrum Guide, and that there are clear correct and incorrect answer options. When we redistributed the questions into the focus areas, we did not make any changes to the questions and answers beyond our standard refinement. We can confirm by average scores and passing percentage that there are no differences between how our assessments are performing now vs. how they've performed in the past. We do NOT ask any questions about SAFe, or any other topics that are not covered in our free online resources.

The PSM I assessment does not ask any questions on the Nexus Framework, though you might encounter a few questions about using Scrum with multiple teams. For these questions, it is important to keep in mind that scaled Scrum is still Scrum, so it's helpful to keep the core fundamentals and values of Scrum in mind. Understanding of Nexus is not necessary to pass the PSM I, but reading the Nexus Guide and taking the Nexus Open may help you grasp some of these concepts at a deeper level and give you a more comprehensive understanding of fundamental Scrum, as it draws on the same core concepts and values.

I hope we were able to address your inquiry. Thank you again, and enjoy your day.

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