Thoughts on the new PSM II assessment

Last post 04:42 pm June 14, 2019
by Filip Łukaszewski
51 replies
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Messages
06:57 am August 17, 2016

I just took the new PSM II assessment and thought I'd write down my thoughts while still fresh in memory.
As you may know scrum.org changed the assessments recently so what was previously PSM II is now PSM III and PSM II is an all new 30 question assessment with multiple choice, multiple answers, true/false questions just like PSM I.

Questions are quite long and often relate to real life scenarios. Typical question is "situation X exists, how would you act in this situation?" There are usually several answers that may seem right, and few alternatives that can be quickly ruled out as an incorrect answer. Some questions relate to scaling scrum so taking the open assessment for Nexus and some reading on scaling scrum is a good idea.
I think I had only one true/false question and most are multiple choice or multiple answers (about 50/50 I'd say). There are no/few questions like "what is the time-box for the daily scrum" that are clearly defined in the scrum guide. You have to reason to get to the right answer more than using the muscle-memory you may get from taking the open assessments. The total time allowed is 90 minutes for the 30 questions. I had time to answer and go through and double-check my answers but no more.

The good
I think this assessment is a good fit between PSM I and III. You can pass PSM I by just reading (and understanding) the scrum guide. PSM II requires some real life experience and more in-depth knowledge. I haven't taken the PSM III but by just reading about it and seeing how few that passed indicate that there's a huge difference in knowledge, both theoretical and practical required, from PSM I to III.

The bad
Some questions are unnecessarily complex. The essence of the questions could in many questions be phrased a lot shorter.
The language used could be simplified and on a few questions I think there are even grammatical errors. Although I am not a native English speaker I consider myself to be able to read and understand English well but I still had problems understanding some questions. This should not be a factor for being able to pass the test.
It would be valuable to be informed what questions that was answered incorrectly. If only for my own curiosity. You are informed about in what area you missed, but not what specific questions that were answered incorrectly.

02:51 pm August 17, 2016

Thank you Fredrik for your feedback on the PSM II.

Do you know of any relevant practice exams that are similar to the types of questions posed in the PSM II exam?

Thanks.

06:41 am August 18, 2016

Timothy,
I am afraid not. All other practice tests/exams that I have come across has either been too simplistic or full or errors and misconceptions so I cannot recommend them. Forums like this as well as other forums on linkedin, yahoo groups etc.are excellent resources for discussing real-life scenarios and you get the input of others as well. Books/blogs are also useful but again, I think real life experience is needed.

01:25 pm August 18, 2016

Thank you for sharing your experience and insights.

11:51 am August 24, 2016

Thank you for the insights Fredrik. I have been planning to take PSM II sometime soon. I suppose the passing % for this would also be 85.

04:47 pm September 14, 2016
05:47 pm September 14, 2016

Thank you, Fredrik, and congratulations on acquiring your PSM II.

09:24 am September 17, 2016

> Although I am not a native English speaker I consider myself
> to be able to read and understand English well but I still
> had problems understanding some questions. This should
> not be a factor for being able to pass the test.

Then again, being able to give timely responses to poorly expressed thoughts *is* a real-life Scrum Master skill. It's important to be able to see through the fog, to think quickly on your feet, and to get to the nub of the matter.

06:17 pm September 18, 2016

@Anton, thank you!
@Ian I fail to see how that applies to this test. I doubt that questions are intentionally poorly written but maybe it's just me.

07:03 pm September 18, 2016

> I doubt that questions are intentionally poorly written but maybe it's just me

No, I also doubt that any questions will be *intentionally* poorly written.

However, I wouldn't be entirely surprised to find more advanced questions approaching those we find in real life.

04:21 pm September 21, 2016

Hi everyone,

Congratulations Fredrick and thank you very much for sharing your insights.
I just cleared the PSM 1 exam and planning to go on with PSM 2.
A part from taking the open assessment for Nexus and some reading on scaling scrum, did you take some mock exams on the web or something? If so, would you provide some links please?

Thanks again
Amine

05:23 pm September 21, 2016

Thanks Amine! No I did not try any mock exams. The ones that are out there are of *very* varying quality. Some very good and close to the scrum open assessments and some with many flay out incorrect questions and answers. Bottom line is that the best preparation is real life experience with scrum. No assessment or training can substitute the level of knowledge and experience that that brings.

12:49 pm September 29, 2016

Could someone tell me which books are 'must reads' from this list?

https://www.scrum.org/Courses/Professional-Scrum-Master/PSM-Subject-Are…

11:20 am October 13, 2016

Nevermind, passed PSM II. :)

02:57 pm October 21, 2016

Hey Tom

Could you provide any advice on self-study?

05:28 pm November 5, 2016

Hey Tom, Many Congratulatiions.

I have passed PSM I and interested to take PSM Ii. Would you please provide some guidance, any material which will help me?

08:31 pm November 15, 2016

Hi everyone, is there a set of official documentation to prepear for the PSM II this because in differents groups of Scrum adopters i read some topic than can be accept as a good practies but this is not accepted by Scrum.org, for example, in a gruop there was a discution about if de Product Owner has to attend the Daily Scrum or no, or if only if the Development team invited him. Someone said, " According with the Scrum Guide and as I see in an Open assesment only the Developmet Team attent this event", but i agree with other than the PO can be on it not for give anwser to the impediments in that moment, but to know the dynamic of the group and for, if is possible, after the event start a new meetting to get into solve of impediments, this is a realy fast way to work on solve it. An other ambiguos position is the how de PO must be present on the Sprint, interacting with the Developement Team, for example I think if all the Backlog Items of the Sprint are well document, the are no questions about the backlog items and the PO is satisfied with the increments, i think this is enough to conclude than there was a good relation between both Roles and the time used for the Product Owner on create and detail the backlog item is enough.

08:32 pm November 16, 2016

Hi Byron!

Ways to learn about Scrum:
https://www.scrum.org/Assessments/Ways-to-learn-about-Scrum

Regarding your specific question about the daily scrum, see the following thread:
https://www.scrum.org/Forums/aft/202

09:36 pm November 16, 2016

I just failed the exam with 83.5% 2 times in a row now and I have to say I am totally not happy with some of the questions. Some of the questions are pretty streight forward. At least for me, it seems like the situtation is clear and there is a reasonable response.
But for some of them I think either the context is not clear enough to point out a ultimate golden bullet answer (that in my opinion is often a mix between several of the possibilities and not an extreme reaction) or there are several answers that could apply.
I am not sure if I am allowed to give examples here so I'll not do it for now. I'm anyway pretty sure I know which questions I, in your standards, answered wrong and I would be interested to discuss them, if there is a right place for that.

09:46 pm November 16, 2016

Hello Till,

Thank you for your post and for your feedback. You are correct in that specific questions and answers from our Professional-level assessments for certification are not to be posted on or forums.

If you have specific feedback to provide, we ask that you please, kindly send it to support@scrum.org. Thank you, Till!

09:37 am November 17, 2016

All I can say is that it's wise to invest time in reading books about coaching, training and facilitation.

https://www.scrum.org/Courses/Professional-Scrum-Master/PSM-Subject-Are…

04:42 pm November 17, 2016

Fredrik, thanks for sharing this. I'm also interested in taking PSM II at some point (although I feel that I need more real life experience first.

The part of not clearly understanding the questions due to not be a native speaker worries me a bit though, but I guess it's just to woman up and read as much blog posts, forum threads and books as possible.

03:38 pm November 18, 2016

I thought that the way the questions were phrased was more problematic than the language. Your strategy seems wise.

07:47 am April 9, 2017

Hi @fredrick and Tom

Congratulations on clearing PSM II

Would you please suggest some must read areas (books, concepts, contents, etc..) needed to clear PSM II.

I have cleared PSM I and looking forward to clear PSM II. It would be great help if you guys could guide on this.

Thanks,

03:27 pm April 17, 2017

Hello PSM II aspirants, 

You may consider going over this thread written by our own PST, Charles Bradley 

http://www.scrumcrazy.com/Scrum.org+PSM+II+Study+Tips

Best 

 

 

01:42 pm April 20, 2017

congratulations everyone who cleared PSM II and thanks Fredrik for such a helpful blog

01:46 pm February 5, 2018

Thanks Fredrick , and everyone else for their guidance and help.

But is there a book which can post examples from real scenarios.

 

Thanks

09:07 pm June 27, 2018

Guys, I am wondering if I should pass PSM I or go straignt to PSM II

I worked in the industry as a dev, and now as a PM for few years now, but mostly in small companies. I've aced several Open Assesment and did a bit of reading as advised here "http://www.scrumcrazy.com/Scrum.org+PSM+II+Study+Tips"

Is there any point of doing PSM I or can I jump to PSM II - problem is there is no open assessment I can find for PSM II

04:51 pm June 28, 2018

How good are you with PSM I Open?

04:54 pm June 28, 2018

I am sorry, I have just noticed that you DID write: "I've aced several Open Assesment", but I can no longer edit my post :( Apologies for that.

PSM II is not easy. I would start with PSM I, unless you have a lot of money :)

12:52 pm June 29, 2018

Hi Filip!

Thanks - thats the thing, I dont know how to assess if Im ready for PSM II - do you know of any tests I can take / buy that will have questions tailored to look like to ones in PSM II ?

03:21 pm June 29, 2018

Hello Piotr,

The PSM I is considered to be the practice assessment for the PSM II. While passing the PSM I first is not required before attempting the PSM II, it is strongly recommended. 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. We feel it is important to first pass the PSM I to get a good baseline of your level of knowledge before continuing to the PSM II. Those who achieve a score under 95% on the PSM I will find it very difficult to pass the PSM II.

If you would like to pursue this path, you are able to purchase a password to attempt the PSM I assessment.

For preparation we would recommend that you first follow as many steps as you can on our Ways to Learn About Scrum page

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 and PSPO subject areas. We suggest you look through some of the recommended readings here:

One of the most helpful books on this page is 'Scrum - A Pocket Guide' by Gunther Verheyen (it is a fairly short read, but a fantastic one). 

When you are ready, you may purchase a password to attempt the PSM II.

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

10:59 am July 3, 2018

Thank you both! I decided to go with PSM I first and it was a good choice - you were right that PSM is harder than Open Assessment would make you belive. Now I have a good base to think about PSM II

04:35 am July 8, 2018

Attempted PSM II and ended up at 84.2.My experience on this exam is its truly phenomenal.Questions are real time scenarios.Trying hard again for my luck to achieve 95%, may be in a month,will give a try again to pass with flying colors.

 

From scrum forum can you pls suggest sample questions related to product backlog management and maximising value,

01:08 pm July 9, 2018

We'd recommend the Product Owner Open and the suggested readings here: https://www.scrum.org/resources/suggested-reading-professional-scrum-product-owner

04:43 am July 17, 2018

After reading this thread, I am a little discouraged to take the PSM II exam :(

12:42 pm July 18, 2018

@Harley Dangan, I feel the same way :-(

04:36 am July 19, 2018

I wouldn’t be discouraged because it is a tough exam. I would encourage you to see it as a challenge and something to aspire to achieve in the future. If it were easy, more people would have it. The PSM I is hard but if you can read the scrum guide enough and other materials, you can pass it with no experience as a SM. The PSM II is not that way. Experience plays a vital role in passing the exam.

03:27 pm July 19, 2018

After reading this thread i know i have to prepare very well to take the PSM II! Thanks for all the information about it!  I Feel completely motivated! It's a challengue for me! I'm enthusiatic about it!

09:08 pm July 25, 2018

Just did my PSPO1 and passes of. Half a test ago I passes PSM1. Do you think i will be ready enough for PSM2 after reading the Nexus guide as well? Ons year Scrum master experience.

01:39 am August 18, 2018

Thanks Scrum resources for supporting my PSM II preparation.I completed my PSM II with 89%.

 

07:35 pm September 28, 2018

I have to say! It´s done! It wasn't easy but was very interesting!

09:16 pm October 17, 2018

Hi Gilberto. Congrats!!!. I've just cleared PSM I and I woould like to start wiht PSM II preparation. Could you please share the resources you used to pass the exam?. Reading the thread it's not very clear for me.

Many thanks and kind regards!!!!!!!!

11:49 am October 19, 2018

Hi Balakrishnarao - could you please shed some light on the strategy you adopted for the preparation?

 

Cheers

 

08:33 pm January 8, 2019

I cleared PSM II assessment in Dec 2018. I would like to share my thoughts about this assessment, books/blogs I read while preparing for the assessment.

Books
- Scrum Guide, I read this guide multiple time top to bottom and bottom to top. Sometimes, I picked up specific topic within the guide
- Scrum Pocket Guide by Gunther, I read this book twice. Chapter 2 within this book, I ready 3-4 times
- Scrum Insights for Practitioners by Hiren Doshi
- Nexus Guide by Ken Schwaber
- Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts
- Coaching Agile Team by Lyssa Adkins

Blogs
- There is Value in Scrum Values by Gunther
- Recommended blogs on Scrum.org for PSM II

Open Assessments by Scrum.org
- Scrum Open
- Nexus Open
- PO Open

Others
- PSM I course content (referred multiple times)
- PSM II course content (referred twice)
- PSD course content (referred once)

Assessment
Students are assessed in 9 different sections. Sections are...Coaching and Facilitation, Cross-Functional, Self-Organizing Teams, Done and Undone, Maximizing Value, Product Backlog Management, Scaling Fundamentals, Scrum Framework, Scrum Theory and Principles. This information can be found in the Scrum.org site.

I read Scrum Guide multiple time thoroughly. I read all the books I mentioned about. Top 3 books that helped me for the assessment are Scrum Guide, Scrum Pocket Guide and Scrum Insights for Practitioners. Nexus Guide will help you answer the scaling question. So is the Nexus Open assessment.

PSM I course content, I read the content multiple times. Especially the exercises provided in the content. Thinking through them and understanding them.

Mind mapping - many of you has used this or heard about this . Before giving assessment, I decided that I will mind map each question that comes up during the assessment to the specific section of the assessment. 
While giving the exam, I used the same mind mapping technique to answer the questions. Example: a question start with talking about sprint retrospective and ends up talking about sprint review. This question is directly mapped to Scrum Framework section. Then, I thought about the Sprint Review section of Scrum Guide and selected appropriate answer.

Is it mandatory to go for PSM II classroom training?
I would say No. You don't need to go for a PSM II classroom training in order to clear the assessment. 

Will PSM II course content helps?
Helps a little. More than PSM II course content, I liked the PSM I course content. This because PSM I course content is directly related to the 9 different sections students will be assessed during PSM II assessment.

Points to remember
- Scrum team is a self-organized team (Scrum Insights for Practitioners book helped me)
- One of the traits of the Scrum Master is actively do nothing
- Scrum Values, very important (Gunther blog helped)
- Definition of Done. Not an artefact in Scrum Guide. But, if Scrum has to bring down to one thing, it is getting things Done by end of Sprint (Gunther blog helped me)
- As a coach, don't resolve but reveal
- Done is important, Undone is important too.
 

 

Thanks,

Thota

06:07 pm January 24, 2019

Thanks Narayanarao..

Nicely articulated your inputs and thoughts.

Any specific practice exams or mock tests on PSM II, which you have gone through and found useful. 

If so,  please share.

Thanks.

12:24 pm March 12, 2019

@Akbar Masha Md - there are no practice exams or mock test on any PSM tests other the open assessments provided by Scrum.org.

Thanks,

Thota

12:25 pm March 12, 2019

Correction - @Akbar Basha Md. Sorry for spelling your name wrong.

02:30 pm March 14, 2019

@Narayanarao - thanks a lot for your insights. What are your thoughts on the below books with respect to PSM2 prep. How helpful were they?

- Scrum Mastery by Geoff Watts
- Coaching Agile Team by Lyssa Adkins

thanks,

V.

08:11 pm April 17, 2019

Passed my PSM II on Monday with a 97.1% mark!

My observations:

  • Read the questions very carefully.  There is a lot of information that you are given in some of the scenarios and you need to fully understand what is being asked before you answer the question.
  • There is sometimes more than one good answer and you need to consider the BEST answer.  Your practical knowledge & experience is required for this test!
  • Pay attention to if the question requires more than one response!
  • Know how to scale scrum
  • Be confident in your coaching skills.
  • Be sure to mark down questions you aren't sure of and go back and review them at the end.
  • There is ample time to take the test.  Don't rush it.

Good luck to anyone on their own PSM II journey!

12:09 pm June 13, 2019

Hello everyone,

I'm prepearing myself for the PSM II test and my experience with PSM I and PSPO I is, that the grammar is quite often quite odd. I'm Dutch (we have to learn three foreign languages in school and Englisch is officially concidered as our second native language) and the comma placement is aweful in the Scrum guide.

Sentences are confusing and not state of the art and me and other pasrticipants often get the feeling,that Scrum does it on purpose to make life hard for all the people,who are trying to get a certificate.

When attending communication meetups, one of the most focussed features is to communicate clean and simple. Demanding questions are fine. But please phrase them clear and straigtforward.

Regards,

Rob