What to expect from the PSM II exam

Last post 04:16 pm August 10, 2020
by Tina Calvin
24 replies
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06:16 am December 21, 2012

Hello everyone,

It's been two years now I'm using Scrum in a few projects, and currently taking a leap forward to promote and implement it in my organization.

For that matter, I plan to follow a PSPO course and pass the PSM II exam soon, so I have a few questions regarding the last one.

- How many questions are there in the PSM II exam? Read somewhere it was about 50 questions with 40% as essays, is that right?

- Does it tend to evaluate the candidates on other agile topics than Scrum? If yes, which ones?

- Are there feedbacks provided with the results?

Thanks in advance for your advice and tips. In the meantime, I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year! ;)

Kind regards,

Romain

09:58 am December 22, 2012

Hi Romain,

all the best for you in promoting Scrum in your organization! Let us know how it goes.

I suggest you take a look at this blog: http://scrumorakel.de/blog/index.php?/archives/30-How-to-prepare-for-th…
Some of your questions might be answered there. The amount of essay questions varies du to a randomizer. When I did the PSM II, it was 45 questions - but I guess the randomizer might cause a varying number of questions as well.
Other agile topics are not evaluated, but you have to know how to best apply Scrum in a real scenario. That means, you will most likely fail if you don't have practical experience.
You usually do not get feedback together with the result. If you are interested in it, you can ask support@scrum.org for hints. However, do not expect them to provide you with specific questions or answers. They will just tell you something vague like "focus on the scrum master role when preparing your next attempt".

Merry Christmas!

Dominik

01:54 pm December 23, 2012

Hi Dominik,

Thanks for the info! I already browsed your blog for the PSM I certification, and it is really helpful. Also for enlightening the randomizer matter, since I read some folks were quite surprised about it when passing the exam.

Regarding the feedbacks, this is mostly about the hints I'll be looking forward to receive. More than getting a certification, my objectives are to inspect and adapt whenever I can first! ;)

Kind regards,

Romain

04:58 pm December 28, 2012

Hi Dominik, I've just read the advices posted in the blog you added the link for it. So my question for you is: Do you think that by only studying the scrum guide is enough for me to pass in the exam? I see that people usually have a course which they spend about 1 week practicing and learning about Scrum in order to be prepared for the test. So I was wondering if it is really valid to take those course or not for the PSM I.
Thanks

04:01 pm December 30, 2012

Hi Amanda,

"Do you think that by only studying the scrum guide is enough for me to pass in the exam?"

> In my opinion, it's clearly not enough, and as Dominik highlightened it in his blog, you need to clearly understand the Scrumguide, or more generally the Scrum's artifacts. Simply reading the guide and not knowing their purposes can easily mislead you on the trickiest questions.

I didn't follow any Scrum.org course yet, but as I observed so far with colleagues that were new to Scrum, practising it on a very low scale, or even on fake projects, reading a few books clearly help though for the PSM I exam.

Kind regards,

Romain

11:54 am December 31, 2012

Adriana,

Keep in mind that this thread is about the PSM II exam. You mention the PSM I exam, so I'll limit my advice to that exam.

Reading the Scrum Guide is probably enough(I'd recommend reading it 2-4 times), so long as you follow the rest of Dominik's advice for PSM I as well.

Taking one of the Scrum.org classes would also help you greatly with PSM I, but, IMO, it is not necessary to pass the PSM I so long as you do your own prep like Dominik suggested.

As an aside, I would strongly recommend the Professional Scrum Master class before taking the PSM II.

09:37 pm January 3, 2013

Hello everyone,

Well, I took the PSM II exam a few days ago, leaving time to give some thoughts about it. So here is a quick review of my experience, hoping it will provide some useful tips without spoiling for the future candidates.

The exam had 35 questions, about 2/3 of them were essays. Answering to them all in two hours is pretty challenging in my opinion, for a non-native English speaker. I personally left some blanks, so be ready to catch the global sense of some potential multiple sub-questions pretty quickly, and consider not having time to review them. Get straight to the point while typing your answers, the timebox is short, no doubt about that.

The content was anyway pretty amazing, the challenge intense, like a philosophy exam during my school days. :) You can't get an answer just out of the book, your brain and SM's reflexes are your only tools here. The topics are various for that amount of questions and can be a bit "out of the road".

I couldn't agree more with Dominik regarding his advice to pass the exam, especially about experience: yes, be a Scrum Master for a while to acquire the expertise and reflexes. Having played the role of Product Owner is also a great plus. Had the following link with the token order, that I couldn't find elsewhere (http://www.scrum.org/Assessments/Ways-to-learn-about-Scrum). Those advised requirements are not enough, for a PSM II exam at least, in my humble opinion. Oh, and also pass the new open PSD I assessment with a great score before!

Hope this answers some questions around the Scrum community. I don't have the results yet, but in any case, taking the exam really worth it!

Kind regards,

Romain

11:25 am February 12, 2013

Following-up on Romain's advice, I took the PSM II exam last week and while I am still awaiting my results, I would HIGHLY recommend viewing the 2 ScrumBut videos linked from this page: http://www.scrum.org/scrumbut. Not only are they incredibly informative videos, they provide great context for the types of questions you may see on the exam.
-Jason Osborne

10:03 am April 29, 2013

Around 45 questions and No, other areas are not evaluated

http://www.agiledistributed.com/

05:06 am October 9, 2013

Hi Jason and Romain,

Can you tell if you have participate in training PSM before the exam?
I am still wonder if I need to participate or can learn my self.

Thanks

06:00 am October 9, 2013

Hi Krystian,

I did not participate to a PSM training before taking the PSM II exam.
Learning the basics and passing PSM I can be done without a training, by studying on your own/with the help of your team and preparation though the open assessments. Back to PSM II, it's a different story, it requires a solid experience with Scrum, and there, the training would indeed be a great way to clear the gaps, as recommended by Charles.

Cheers!

03:11 am October 28, 2016

Hi team,

Can somebody provide me an input to start the PSM 2 certification? It would be great if you could provide few books, study materials and what ever artifacts which helps to tame the PSM 2. I have just completed the PSM 1, got 91%. Looking to do PSM 2 in a months time. Any advise on this is greatly appreciated.

Cheers,
Anoop

Scrum on......

08:09 am November 23, 2016

Hi Anoop,

Did you get any information regarding the PSM2 study tips or study material yet?
It would be great if you can provide any tips on PSM2.

Thanks in Advance.

07:53 pm January 23, 2017

Hi Anoop/Sumit,

Any luck with getting any any more info on the PSM II. Would be great if we can sync up if you are preping for the same.

Thanks,

03:47 am January 24, 2017

The study area will remain the same as is PSM I however the questions will become more tricky and situation based. I would recommend practicing Scrum for some time before going for PSM 2 exam

11:25 pm May 19, 2017

Hi,

Any guidance on how to prepare for PSM II (which books to reference etc.) without taking Scrum course? Also, are these any free assessments for PSM II which can give an idea of what type of questions to expect in the certification exam?

Thanks!!!

 

11:12 am June 9, 2017

I am also looking for some tips related to essay type questions. It would be great if anybody share the same.

01:40 pm June 9, 2017

Please be aware that as of July 2016, the former PSM II (with essay questions) became the PSM III, when we introduced a new intermediary assessment. More information on this can be found in this blog article.

Experience is by far the most important thing to have when preparing for the PSM II. Scrum mastery is a journey, not a destination. The PSM II is more difficult than our Level I assessments, but less challenging than the PSM III. Passing this assessment demonstrates that not only do you know Scrum but also that you can apply your knowledge and experience in complex real-world situations. 

While applied experience is a recommended prerequisite for the PSM II, the assessment uses the most recent version of the English Scrum Guide as the source for questions and answers regarding the rules, artifacts, events, and roles of Scrum. Many questions will ask you to interpret concepts from the Scrum Guide and apply them to a scenario presented in the question, and the correct answers can be arrived at through extrapolation from the Scrum Guide in tandem with experience practicing true Scrum. While we do encourage people to use "Scrum, and..." in practice, we can only assess on the core concepts as outlined in the Scrum Guide, the industry-recognized source of Scrum. As such, while you may have been using Scrum in your organization, what you practice may not be in line with Scrum by the book. 

To maximize your understanding of the concepts that will appear on the PSM II, we suggest that you once again go through the Scrum Guide in your native language as a refresher. Once you feel confident in your knowledge, please then review the English version of the guide, so you can become more familiar with the vocabulary and other terms which may be seen on the assessment. We also recommend that you read the Nexus Guide several times to strengthen your understanding of Scaling Fundamentals. 

A good portion of the PSM II is derived from PSM subject areas and PSPO subject areas. We suggest you look through some of the recommended readings there.

For suggestions on how to prepare for the essay questions in the PSM III, please see this support article.

When you are ready to purchase a password to attempt the PSM II or III, please navigate to the PSM page.

We hope this information is of some help! Best of luck in your continued journey with Scrum!

07:22 am November 22, 2018

Hello Friends,

I have cleared the PSM 1 certification 2 months back and want to go for PSM 2 certification. I could not find much practice exam or material on preparation for PSM 2. 

Could anyone in the community suggest about approach \ preparation strategy for clearing PSM 2?

Thanks in advance.

 

05:06 am November 29, 2018

Hi all, 

I just took -- and passed -- the PSM 2 exam (37/38, or, 97.4%).

I took Joe Krebs' PSM-2 training two weeks ago. I wouldn't have attempted the PSM 2 exam without the training, although it certainly can be done without training if you've got deep experience with well-done Scrum.  As a trainer, Joe was terrific, and I highly recommend him (he lives in New York City, but does frequent training in South Florida, too).

The PSM-2 training isn't an exam prep, but it helps with the exam.  What I mean is, the PSM-2 training is reinforcing and expanding one's understanding of Scrum, of the Scrum Master role.  The training is developing your Scrum mindset, your understanding of the values and pillars and practices of Scrum.  The PSM-2 training doesn't cover exam questions like an exam prep class might do.  But you walk away from the training feeling more confident about trying the exam.

Another benefit of the PSM-2 training is it includes two attempts at taking the PSM 2 exam.  If you fail the first attempt, you can take it again for no extra cost.  I didn't know what to expect, so I half expected to fail my first attempt, but then I'd know what to expect for the second attempt.

Turns out, I passed on my first attempt!

The exam is 30 questions, some true-false, some multiple choice, some multiple answer.  Some questions are worth 1 point, some 2, some 3.  Some questions award partial credit if part of the answer is wrong (multiple answer questions).

Some of the questions and answers are quite long (you have to scroll the screen to see all the possible answers), but others are refreshingly short.

I spent maybe 40 minutes answering all the questions, then another 20 double-checking everything before submitting.  So, I finished in maybe an hour although the test allows 90 minutes.

There's not much point in Googling anything during the exam.  I did have a copy of the Nexus Guide (which I referenced a couple of times) and Scrum Guide (which I didn't need to reference).  No other study aides needed at test time.

I thought the questions were very fair, and though some questions were rather long (with long answer choices), it was easy to understand and clear what the question was in nearly every case (one question was a little unclear to me, based on how it was worded).

Surprisingly, I didn't think the test was that hard, really.  After the fifth question, I felt very comfortable and confident that my knowledge and preparation were sufficiently matched to the level of difficulty.  In fact, I scored higher on the PSM-2 than when I took the PSM-1 eighteen months ago (all that extra months of Scrum experience certainly helped with the PSM-2 test).  If you understand (good) Scrum, empiricism, and the expansive role of a Scrum Master (and how it differs from the limited way many orgs treat the Scrum Master, often like a mini-functional manager), then it's quite easy to sift right and wrong answer choices.  Sometimes, the wrong answers were so obviously wrong, that it was easy to pick the right answers!

Of the 30 questions, I felt very confident answering maybe 25 of them.  Of the five remaining, I only had a little doubt about maybe two questions.

I do strongly recommend taking the Nexus Open Assessment repeatedly until you score 100% multiple times.  I had one Nexus Open Assessment question appear in a different form but which had the same underlying concept being tested on my PSM-2 exam.  And taking the Nexus Open Assessment strengthened my understanding of scaled Scrum.

Beyond my experience and attending Joe Krebs' PSM-2 training course, and taking the Nexus Open Assessment, I watched a few interesting videos here on Scrum.org, read a bit on Ken Schwaber's blog, and that was about it.  Oh, and I read (and re-read) both the Nexus and Scrum Guides.  I haven't read any Scrum books in quite a while now.

I hope this helps someone who aspires to take the PSM-2 exam!  

10:23 pm January 14, 2019

Thanks William, Your detailed explanation on the exam pattern and resources you read was really helpful. I appreciate you sharing that with everyone. Big Shout out & High five to you. 

06:43 am January 16, 2019

Thanks William, This is really helpful.

 

Planning to take PSM II certification exam within next 60 days.

 

Thanks.

08:11 pm February 29, 2020

@William W. Davis. 

 

Thank you for sharing your insight and experience. Really helpful. I do not have any public training sessions conducted by scrum.org in my area. I would have to either drive 9 hrs for the training or watch videos and prepare as much possible from guides before attempting it. 

I am planning on attempting this in next 2 months. 

 

02:21 pm June 26, 2020

Thank you @WIlliam W. Davis 

Your detailed explanation is defintely gonna help me for the exam which I will be taking in a couple of days. 

I have been preparing myself really hard to take this exam from last 2 months and studied books such as Scrum Pocket Guide - Gunther , Software in 30 days - Jeff & Ken.

Hoping for the best results but I bit nervous.

 

09:03 am August 10, 2020

I did not participate in PSM training before taking the PSM II exam.
Learning the basics and passing PSM I can be done without training, by studying on your own/with the help of your team and preparation though the open assessments. Back to PSM II, it's a different story, it requires solid experience with Scrum, and there, the training would indeed be a great way to clear the gaps, as recommended by Charles.