Passed PSM I with 98% (Experience Share)

Last post 07:36 pm September 22, 2020
by Girish Sherikar
16 replies
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07:37 am March 15, 2016

I'm very happy to pass the exam this morning with 98%. I'm also very upset(!) that my long post about the exam experience is lost due to forum timeout so I need to write everything from scratch again. Very frustrating.

BACKGROUND:

I've been working as an old developer, team leader and solution architect in one of the top telecom vendor companies, mainly using the traditional project management approach (PMI and CMMI Level 3). Thanks to my job responsibilities, I need to travel worldwide and engage with different project teams from different R&D companies. I've seen the Scrum in action for the first time when I was working with the Telefonica R&D group. I was quite impressed with the lightweight methodology they are using for managing their teams and projects. Cross-functional, self-organizing and focused teams with experienced members, carrying out creative and productive work, in a very dynamic manner. The exposure was quite enough for me to get interested in Scrum, as the differences between the traditional and scrum approach was obvious.

At that time I decided to read about Scrum, however I had no intentions to get certified as I had no space in my daily work to apply Scrum, as a vendor company, doing invisible stuff for the operators, I still believe that the traditional approach suits more in my domain. Recently I've accepted a job offer as Technical Product Manager from a telco operator which is practicing agile methods, so I decided it would be a good step to get the certification. Although I will be playing the PO role, I decided to go with PSM I, as it is much more valued and recognized.

PREPARATION:

1) http://www.scrumtrainingseries.com/
If you are not practicing Scrum, this training is the best material you can ever find. It is fully cognitive learning experience, which will help you to understand how Scrum is practiced. Don't take this as reference for the examination though, stick with Step 2.

2) Scrum Guide:
Don't read the material, digest it! Think about every sentence and look for the conceptual gaps left deliberately by the author.

3) "The Scrum Master Training Manual" of Mplaza.
I don't recommend this one which is lurking in this forum and many members referring to it. It includes some very fundamental mistakes such that the "Sprint Backlog is frozen and no more items can be taken from Product Backlog etc."

4) Scrum A Pocket Guide:
Although this one is recommended by Scrum.org I don't see any benefit in it considering the PSM exam.This one is more about the philosophy of the Scrum, and I think therefore it is recommended by the people in this community. If you are looking something with PSM exam focus, considering also the price tag for only 100 page, I don' recommend it.

5) Open Assesments:
Go with PSPO and PSM open, until you score %100. Take note of the intermediate level questions which seems ambigous. You will see some of the questions, at least the full terminology in the real exam.

6) http://mlapshin.com/index.php/psm-quiz/
This is the best mock exam which will shock you after you think that you are ready after Step 2&5. If you can score over 75/80 in first attempt, you are in good shape.

7) Some more free mock questions:
http://scrumstar.com/scrum-certification-practice-exam
http://mplaza.pm/product/psm-preparation-practice-test/

8) Scrum Narrative and PSM Exam Guide:
I was not very confident about the number of questions I solved, hence decided to go with this one, as it includes plenty of questions. The overall format of the book is awful, fonts, colors, formatting. It is like personal notes of a person in a wordsheet. However it is very focused on the exam and the author has sound understanding of the exam pitfalls and guides the reader in a thorough manner. If you can bear the format, you will benefit.

9) Scaled Scrum related topics:
This one is one of major confusion area in the forums and among exam applicants. There are major reasons for that, as there was no standards like Nexus from Scrum.org, and there are many plenty of other alternatives for scaling in the past. Even a recommended reading, "Scrum A Pocket Guide" from Gunther Verheyen puts some concepts like multiple product owners and chief product owner, which will totally misguide you.

In order to be confident with the questions, search for "Scrum Practitioner Open" which is currently not available now. This one has really difficult questions which are above intermediate level. You can find the discussions of the questions in google. One example is given below:

https://www.scrum.org/Forums/aft/1292

Also I found the following official "Scaled Scrum Open" link which is still working.
https://www.scrum.org/open-assessments/nexus-open

EXAM EXPERIENCE:

I was a little bit anxious as there was many people in the forum failing in the exam. Hence my expectation about the difficulty of the exam was higher. Actual exam is not that difficult, it is in line with the official declaration that it is an "intermediate" level exam. However don't be fooled by the level of open exam questions.

In mock exams, the only area I was not very confident was about the "SM facilitation". Many SM role questions are not direct asking concepts on the boundaries of SM role. We know SM is a "facilitator" but how much does he facilitate? What is level and scope of such facilitation? Sometime SM takes an active role and acts as the protector&knight of Scrum process, and sometimes in a passive role, letting the team to do it or, sort it out. Hence the grey are causes many ambiguous questions in several mock exams, where the answer depends completely on the mindset of the person who prepares the question.

Not to my surprise, I missed the questions in this subject area:
Scrum Framework 97.5%
Scrum Theory and Principles 100.0%
Cross-functional, self-organizing Teams 100.0%
Coaching & Facilitation 83.3%

SUMMARY:
I'm very glad that I learned the basic fundametals of Scrum and looking forward to practice it. I hope my experience above will help people who are new to Scrum like me. Scrum on guys!

03:48 pm March 15, 2016

Congratulations Talha and I appreciate the extensive advice since i'm studying for the exam myself.

08:52 am March 16, 2016

Hi Talha,

First Thanks for your detailed update on your exam preparation.

I will be taking PMS1 in a couple of week. Currently taking up exams online :-) have few questions

is it worth to subscribe http://www.testtakeronline.com.htm ?
is it required to take up SCRUM Developer open ?

Br,
Pugal

10:45 am March 16, 2016

Talha - Thank you for a detailed guidance

10:25 am June 9, 2016

Thanks Talha... I'm so grateful for the extensive and very detailed explanation for the exam prep. I literally followed the exact approach, I took the exam yesterday and passed with a 93% score. Here's a breakdown:

Scrum Framework: 97.5%

Scrum Theory and Principles: 80%

Cross-functional, self-organizing Teams - 92.9%

Coaching & Facilitation - 100%

To other aspiring candidates, follow the approach stated above and you there won't be surprises.
Just to add

1. About 25%or 20 questions: few from the Scrum Open free assessment and most, are from the mock exam websites such as http://mlapshin.com/index.php/psm-quiz/learning-mode/ . Take the exam as often as you can, it's better to fail the mock exam than the real deal.

2. A lot of the questions are tricky and a few ambiguous. Only a handful are straightforward, but a bulk of the questions are designed to confuse you; however, understanding the concepts and principles guiding each subject area will help you choosing your answers wisely.

3. Finally, be conscious of TIME. Preferably, answer the questions correctly as you go, and bookmark for later review, questions you're not t too sure of. DO NOT rely on websites to provide the answers BECAUSE most of the exam questions are based on real life scenario questions no website, blog or online book will give answers to.

Thank you!

07:06 pm September 10, 2018

Awesome instructions, thanks for sharing!

 

I put together a summary for a quick review before taking the test: 

https://www.slideshare.net/DanielArajo52/scrum-scrum-guide-summary

10:26 pm September 10, 2018

Hello all, 

Thanks for sharing your learning and certification experience. I cleared the exam last Friday with 3/80 incorrect answers.

A few tips from me.

1. A few noted that the interface is slow. Yes, the test interface was a little slow and not as instant as you might have experienced in the Open assessments or other test sites you might try. There was a lag of 3-5 secs between the screens. And be sure to see "Please wait" after pressing the button to move forward or backward. 

2. Do "bookmark" the questions you are not sure of so you can revisit them at the end.

3. I had to rush through a few questions to try to complete the test in time and ahead so I could get back to the ones I was not sure of. Which means you may get only 1 chance to get it right!

4. Remember, to pass you may get only 12/80 incorrect. Once you clear the test, the certificate does not mention the % you receive in passing the test.

Good luck!

Lakshmi

07:50 am March 1, 2019

Thanks to Talha in providing this detailed experience. i just followed yours and got certified today with 98.3%. The overall effort was 2 weeks. 

It was actually tough exam for me and not sure until i got the last screen with the score. My preparation was good enough with all the points from Talha, this really helped to clear the exam. PSM I aspirants please use this for your preparation. Thanks again to Talha

04:41 pm October 6, 2019

Thanks guys for such a valuable tips and guidance. I am preparing for PSM 1 exam and taking up exam in next week. I am already following the below, guide me if anything else I need to read before the actual exam:

1. Read Scrum guide 3 times and understood well. I will still read couple of time more

2. I am already giving various mock test such as SM Learning and Real Mode and PO Learning and Real mode on the site - https://mlapshin.com/index.php/scrum-quizzes/ and getting score 95%-100% for continous 3-4 times.

Apart from above anything more I need to do to get more confidence? Please let me know how should I proceed on the day of actual exam? 

Thanks in advance!!

03:06 am April 14, 2020

Thanks for such a great and useful discussion, I've spotted another useful test to add to the lovely collection

http://www.thescrummaster.co.uk/professional-scrum-master-i-psm-i-pract…

Hope you find this useful

Cheers

08:54 pm May 22, 2020

Lessons Learnt for Professional Scrum Master - 1 (PSM-1)

I will like to thank the Scrum.org community and forum members. It was a tough nut but tips shared by members were very useful.

I scored 100% in PSM-1 with one week prep (full time).

Tips:

1. Read Scrum Guide multiple times. I will say, you shall remember every word of it :) - After reading 10 to 12 times, it will be easy for you.

2. Do the open assessment from Srum.org. You must score 100% in it

3. Do as much as mock up exams as you can. I found Volkerdon assessment very useful. It is worth buying

4. Do not over think and if your practical experience contradicts with Scrum Guide, following Scrum Guide. (Earlier you will realise it, earlier you will be prepared for exams.

Reference:

Following have been my references for study & mockup exams:

1. https://www.scrum.org/forum/scrum-forum/7198/passes-psm1-938-first-attempt-experience-share-tips

2. https://www.scrum.org/forum/scrum-forum/6756/passed-psm-i-98-experience-share

3. Scrum Guide - Slides : https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/DanielArajo52/scrum-scrum-guide-summary

4. Mockup Examination questions : https://mlapshin.com/index.php/scrum-quizzes/

5. Volkerdon : https://www.volkerdon.com/enrollments

 

Further information / questions:

Feel free to contact me over here. I can be reached on email: nabeel.ur.rehman1@gmail.com.

Linkedin Profile Link: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nabeelurrehman/

12:58 pm June 1, 2020

I had searched for lots of useful tips to pass PSM I exam, here is an article I found the most helpful. It combines the most useful tips in one place. 
Use this as a guide to success in your PSM I exam!
https://medium.com/@simonakranina/psm-1-exam-tips-53e6f445d670 

I passed PSM I with 98.8% several days ago. 

05:47 pm June 8, 2020

Dear All,

I took PSM I certification on 7-June-2020 and scored 95%. I would like to share my journey so that everyone can benefit from it.

As a student myself I had so many questions and felt 'unprepared' till the last minute.

Preparation:

1. I started working on PSM I certification 3 weeks ago. I looked for online resources and found about this course on Udemy https://www.udemy.com/course/scrum-master-certification-preparation-mock-exam-questions-psm-i/. Based on the reviews and positive feedback, I registered for it and started viewing the lectures.

2. The Scrum Guide was extremely dry for me, I am a person who doesn't like to read much. I am much into technology, coding, etc. Reading does not excite me.

3. I read the Scrum Guide in pieces, created handmade notes.

4. I went through this course 2 times, 1st time without attempting any mock tests and the second time to brush up all the topics after writing multiple mock tests.

5. I wrote all the mock tests that are part of this course multiple times until I started scoring 95% and up consistently.

6. The mock tests include:

     - Practice test 1 (learning mode): This is a great start because you get immediate feedback on the answer you select.

     - Practice test 2 (real mode)

     - Practice test 3 (real mode)

     - Scrum Open assessment - Keep repeating it until you start getting 100% within 20-25 minutes. Writing multiple times also exhausts the entire pool of questions.

     - Product Owner Open assessment - I wrote it 3 times, scored in the range 90-95%. As Valentin had advised, this is just to get familiarized more with the PO role.

     - Mikhail Lapshin assessment in both real and learning mode

7. If it happens that you score 98% and in the next attempt, you score 95%, don't worry! Your knowledge is still intact. Just make sure you write that exam one more time to make sure you haven't forgotten any concept. Go back to Scrum Guide and read that particular piece where you lost points. We are all humans and our memories are volatile.

8. I also took screenshots of all the questions that I started getting wrong in the last 3 days to go through them the night before. I focused on the questions from last 3 days because these incorrect answers indicated that some of my concepts are still not clear.

9. Finally, when the course instructor advised that I was ready for this test, I bought the exam online and received the password.

Day of Exam and Exam experience

1. Questions are tricky, wordy and you need to read them with 100% focus. When I say tricky, they are not difficult. These are questions that are reworded from one of the mock questions.

2. Do not attempt the exam if you don't start scoring 100% on Scrum Open Assessment back to back. I keep repeating it because most of the questions were either as is from the pool or reworded. So, you should spend time only on reading the questions carefully.

3. As everyone mentions, your internet connection should be good, keep a glass of water with you and make sure there are no distractions or disruptions.

4. Right before writing the exam, I went through my screenshots of a few difficult questions to set up the brain that it is going to see more questions of this sort in the next 1 hour.

5. 60 minutes' time was enough for me, I had marked questions for review that I wasn't confident in the first attempt and I could go back to all of them at the end. But I did not get time to review the complete set at the end. And I was prepared for it. I made sure that I kept only a handful of questions for review, which means I needed to get the questions correct in the first time as I wouldn't come back to review them later.

6. My personal suggestion - Do not drink water right before or during the exam, this is a kind of distraction and you might want to use the restroom in between. Trust me, every minute counts in this exam.

Final note:

I wish everyone good luck, we can all do it with good preparation and consistent practice.

Most important tip:

If you have made up your mind about PSM I, do not delay it. Prepare and write within 3-3.5 weeks. The content is volatile and there is no way you can attempt the questions based on your gut feeling or prior Scrum experience. Scrum Guide is the bible!

Thanks & Regards,

Ankita Bhatnagar

12:53 am June 9, 2020

@Ankita Bhatnagar 

Congrats!     :)!

05:37 pm September 13, 2020

Just thought of sharing that as part of my preparation for PSM 1 I took help from few practice exams which are available in online learning platforms. But found not every one of them resonates the pattern and in deapth concept of the Scum Guide and Scrum Priciples. Few other practice tests to sharpen your knowledge: 

https://www.udemy.com/share/103yumB0Abc15URHw=/

06:16 pm September 18, 2020

Passed PSM 1 with 97.5%

Read the Scrum guide along with EBM & Nexus guide thoroughly, at least three times

Also, these websites were very helpful - Mikhail Lapshin, Volkerdon, MPlaza, Udemy

Went through suggested reading & learning resources on scrum.org 2 days before

Last but not the least, this forum has been very helpful :)

09:07 pm September 21, 2020

Passed the PSM-I certification last weekend. Key success factors:

  1. Study and internalize the official scrum guide, use annotations, highlighters (with PDF), and other means to really bring out the key concepts, terms.
  2. Develop love for the subject, not just the certificate.
  3. The official guide is an example in itself of "less is more" in communication.
  4. Some questions rely on/test logical reasoning, common sense and experience.
  5. Practice open assessments until you are comfortably get 100% at least 5/7 times and in under 10 mins.
  6. Make use of bookmarking questions when in doubt but keep moving along.
  7. I used Mikhail Lapshin Mock test a 3 times  as a practice for test taking technique and of course to test with questions which are not in open assessment.
  8. Cannot emphasize enough on truly understanding the scrum guide. 

Good luck!