Thoughts on the new PSM II assessment

Last post 04:33 am January 2, 2020
by Emily Pechal
54 replies
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 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.

04:42 pm June 14, 2019

I have not noticed the linguistic problems you mentioned.

"Demanding questions are fine. But please phrase them clear and straigtforward."

Unfortunately, unclear and not straightforward questions could reflect the reality Scrum Masters need to face :/

02:06 pm November 21, 2019

Hello all,

I just succeeded to PSM1 exam, without having any practical and consistent experience as a PM or other role in project management environment. Just reading the materials from SCRUM.ORG and doing some tests and quiz found on the internet.

I read some articles and I understood that , in the conditions mentioned above, it would be real difficult to obtain PSM2 as the PSM2 exam is based on practical situations and the candidate has to have important practical experience.

Can someone confirm please ? or, at contrary, giving me more details / study materials?

Thank you in advance for your help

01:00 pm November 22, 2019

Hi Robert, 

        Congratulations on acquiring your PSM I certification. As I understand it,

- PSM I is more about the 'theory' and PSM II is all about the 'practical' aspects of Scrum.

I have used Scrum for about 6 years and have been an sm for 3 of those but I have to say, when I took the mock test on the site, the questions do make you pause and reconsider what the best answers should be. (I too am planning to take the PSM II) 

PSM II will likely need more knowledge of 'real' situations where/how Scrum is applied and its challenges and resolutions, so it might be a good idea to get some practical experience under your belt before you attempt it.


All the best!


03:38 am January 2, 2020

I passed my PSM II yesterday. I don't want to say anything that would violate's policies so I'll keep it brief and general.

* Expect to take the test more than once. The format and difficulty on II are far different from the I. Use the SCRUM pillars of inspect, adapt, and transparency to get better each time.

* Read's study suggestions *very carefully*. Examine every word that could have multiple meanings. For example, when the guide says that you should "understand" a concept, think about what that word means to you at that moment and what it could mean and in as many different ways. What do you understand about _x_ competency? It's benefits? The Scrum rules? Do you understand it from a Scrum Master's perspective or from other roles? In addition to the benefits, do you understand the risks and consequences of not following specific rules for that competency? I also suggest reading and carefully inspecting every word on the test the same way. 

* In my opinion, the most valuable learning source outside the scrum guide, nexus guide, EBM guides was THIS FORUM. Check here for your question/curiosity before reading a new blog post. If you do read a blog post, come back here to re-inspect. 

* Scrum is a "framework". I strongly suggest finding your own way to "re-frame" the work of the framework. I cut out 3 copies of the scrum guide and cut/taped rules bound to other parts of the guide. I ended up with 5 giant taped together sections of the Scrum guide (overview, empiricism & values, roles, events, artifacts) with relevant, cut out content taped to other binding areas in the guide. I also came up with color-coding and symbols to explain the relationships of different rules to different components. Physically binding everything together and seeing it re-framed was a really helpful exercise.

Best of luck and don't give up. I am already working toward the III and look forward to the challenge.