Skip to main content

Why are there questions in PSM I that are not actually part of scrum

Last post 07:52 pm February 5, 2019 by Curtis Slough
10 replies
05:50 am April 27, 2015

Hi All,

I failed today by 1 question (this seems to be an oddly popular failing score), I am irritated though as I faced many questions about topics that simply don't exist in the scrum guide, for example burn-down charts and extremely rare situations. I feel this to unfair and to have been lulled into a false sense of security by the repetitive nature of the questions in the open assessment. Add into this the fact that no information is provided on incorrect answers or even accurate areas of deficiency leave a student irate.

I love learning about scrum genuinely but can help feel mislead by the inclusion of so many questions about items that in my understanding are not actually part of scrum. Please could someone explain their inclusion, as its hard to understand how an exam on a subject can include things that are not actually part of a subject.



02:14 pm April 27, 2015

Hello Kieran,

Thank you for your continued interest in and for your message. We are sorry to hear that you did not achieve an 85% or higher on your recent attempt at the assessment. We appreciate your request for more information on your assessment, and your continued drive to learn Scrum.

Bear in mind that passing our professional-level assessments for certification is an indication of a certain level of mastery of Scrum. As these are difficult assessments, simply reading the Scrum guide with little or no practical experience, or without supplemental study, is often not enough to achieve a passing score. Please also note that all assessments use the most recent version of the English Scrum Guide as the source for questions regarding the rules, artifacts, events, and roles of Scrum. As such, if you have been using other resources to study (like SBOK), those materials may not be in line with what has been agreed upon as the definitive source of Scrum.

We highly recommend following as many of the steps as you can on to improve your Scrum knowledge and increase your chances of passing the assessment.

Please be aware that the Scrum Open Assessment is a study tool, and will not have the same level of difficulty as the professional-level assessments. We provide detailed feedback with specific questions and answers on the Scrum Open Assessment to help people grow their knowledge of Scrum. We are unable to provide the same level of transparency for our professional-level assessments, because we feel that doing so would inhibit learning. Another important thing to keep in mind is that the PSM I is not merely a test of knowledge, but an assessment of understanding. You can easily be told *what* the correct answers are, but we want to ensure that our certificate holders understand *how* to correctly and successfully implement Scrum, and *why* some answers are correct while others aren't. Simply telling you the questions and answers would not improve your understanding of the framework and principles. This is why we provide feedback in the form of a bar graph depicting how well you scored in each category, so you can better direct your studies in the areas you are weakest in.

We also highly suggest that you refer to the subject areas score breakdown (bar graph) that was provided once you concluded the assessment and also in the email you were sent after the completion of your assessment. This bar graph displays how well you scored in each of the subject areas assessed on the assessment.

We encourage you to then navigate to and review the PSM I Subject Areas page available on our website at the following link:…

You may then wish to reference the suggested reading materials in order to further improve in those areas that need strengthening, as depicted by your bar graph results. These steps should greatly help in guiding your future studies and in building up Scrum knowledge and understanding in the areas where you scored lower on the assessment.

We hope you will find this information helpful.

04:12 am April 28, 2015

Thanks for the response but you have not actually answered my main question, I will reiterate;

Why are items like burn-down charts that are not actually part of scrum included in the assessment?

(in addition I am aware of SBOK but have not used it in my learning for the reason you stated)

07:33 am April 28, 2015

Thanks Scrum support, as i also resonate with Kieren ( having failed myself). but your explanation does help a lot and after going through lot many discussion questions in this forum. i understood, the difference of passing Vs understanding.

11:13 am April 28, 2015

Hi Kieren,

I actually appreciate that the PSM I assessment goes beyond the rules of Scrum (The Scrum Guide) and asks some questions about strategy as well.
Although not mandatory in Scrum, Sprint Burndown charts are a very popular and useful tool for teams. Do you not think that a Professional Scrum Master should know what they are?

When you go back and look into things like burndowns more and then retake the assessment and pass, my feeling is that you will look back at the assessment and appreciate that it wasn't just a regurgitation of the basic Scrum Rules. It has some teeth and passing it means something more than your ability to read and remember the guide.

If I had to guess, I would say that the foundational rules from the guide are good for about a 75% score on the PSM I assessment. To get to 85%, you will need to rely on some strategy, best practices, and experience.


02:07 pm April 29, 2015

Hi Kieren and Richin

The subject areas you will be tested on are in this content, as you will see is that to be a PSM is more than just a tick in the box affair, attendance course or WBT certification. The guide is what it is but the exam syllabus covers much more.
This is why the PSM and PSPO courses are the toughest out there, and they are if you do the research between organizations. My advice is look at the broader picture for PSM just knowing the guide will not get you 85% as they want you to take it beyond the guide to add value to teams.

Areas of subject testing…

PS don't be frustrated, you will crack it and when you do will be worth it.

03:47 pm May 7, 2015


Why don't you provide questions / assessments similar to the ones in an exam? For example you can find loads of similar questions for PMP exam, and you still can't pass it if you don't understand it...

12:52 am February 1, 2019

"I actually appreciate that the PSM I assessment goes beyond the rules of Scrum (The Scrum Guide) and asks some questions about strategy as well. 
Although not mandatory in Scrum, Sprint Burndown charts are a very popular and useful tool for teams. Do you not think that a Professional Scrum Master should know what they are?"

These are fine sentiments, but the problem is that on the website, the organization says that the Scrum Guide fully covers the scope of the exam. (They recommend additional readings and material, but they say the scope is not broader. From this and other posts, this does not seem to be correct. It is (unintentionally, I'm sure) misleading. 

05:20 pm February 1, 2019

Hello Michael,

We make a point to caution that the Scrum Guide alone isn't enough to pass the PSM I. Please see the section on preparing for the assessment under the PSM I page:

I hope this helps ease your concerns. Best of luck in your studies, and enjoy your weekend!

06:26 pm February 1, 2019

Plus, the notion of burndown / burnup / CFD are proposed (although not being elements of the framework) in the Scrum Guide :

07:52 pm February 5, 2019

What I have found is that typically the people who complain about the content of the PSM, are the ones who don't read the page that Scrum Support posted. It's simple. Look and pay attention to the information posted by the body that issues the exam. Stop just going to a forum and asking if you really need to know this or that. 

By posting on our forums you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.

Please note that the first and last name from your member profile will be displayed next to any topic or comment you post on the forums. For privacy concerns, we cannot allow you to post email addresses. All user-submitted content on our Forums may be subject to deletion if it is found to be in violation of our Terms of Use. does not endorse user-submitted content or the content of links to any third-party websites.

Terms of Use may, at its discretion, remove any post that it deems unsuitable for these forums. Unsuitable post content includes, but is not limited to, Professional-level assessment questions and answers, profanity, insults, racism or sexually explicit content. Using our forum as a platform for the marketing and solicitation of products or services is also prohibited. Forum members who post content deemed unsuitable by may have their access revoked at any time, without warning. may, but is not obliged to, monitor submissions.