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How Do I Prepare for the PSM III or PSPO III?

Please note that password processing takes one full business day, so please plan accordingly.

The PSM III credential is very difficult to earn, as it is used to demonstrate the certificate holder’s ability solve advanced, complex problems in real-world applications of Scrum. Anyone attempting the PSM III should have advanced Scrum knowledge and in-depth experience prior to taking this assessment.

As a first step, we would recommend that you review the subject area score breakdown (bar graph) in your PSM I and PSM II results emails, and then look through some of the resources in the correlating categories where you scored lower on the assessment.

As the PSM III asks questions based on complex situations that arise during the implementation of Scrum, nothing prepares you quite as thoroughly as real-world experience as a Scrum Master. If you are currently a Scrum Master or Scrum Practitioner, continuing to gain additional experience in a Scrum environment is hugely beneficial in developing the depth of knowledge and understanding that is needed to pass the PSM III. Please also note that while we do encourage people to use "Scrum, and..." (as oppose to “Scrum, but…”) in practice, we can only assess people based on the core concepts outlined in the Scrum Guide, the industry-recognized definition 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. We kindly ask you to bear that in mind while taking the assessment.

Here are two separate links to pages that have been created by our Professional Scrum Trainers, offering preparation suggestions for the PSM III (formerly called the PSM II) assessment:

  • (Scroll toward the bottom half of this page to get to the portion addressing preparation for level II assessments).

When taking the 2-hour PSM III assessment, please see the following suggestions:

  • If you attended a class, it would be helpful to revisit your course materials
  • Begin with providing short answers to the questions being asked. Don’t waste time with supporting text unless it’s helping to answer the question.
  • Jot down the question numbers for more challenging questions so it will be easier to know which ones you'd like to review later.
  • Diligently track your time as you go through the assessment.
  • Carefully read each question to make sure your answer covers each point being asked.
  • Look for question marks within the question to help you determine if multiple points are being asked.
  • Budget for extra time at the end to review and polish your answers

Here is a sample PSM III question:

One of the Scrum events is the Sprint Review. How does the Sprint Review enable empiricism? What would the impact be if some members of the development team were not present? 

Bad Answer
The Sprint Review enables empiricism, because people talk about what was done during the Sprint. 

Why this is a bad answer
It does not address the second part of the question, and does not explain how the Sprint Review enables empiricism. It only vaguely describes what is done during the Sprint Review, which should be considered common knowledge for this higher level assessment. 

Good Answer
The Sprint Review enables empiricism by providing an opportunity for the Scrum Team and the interested stakeholders to inspect the increment and adapt the backlog. The Sprint Review supports transparency, because everyone can see what has been produced. 

If only part of development team was present, there would be less transparency. The development team members who were not present lose the opportunity to directly hear the feedback provided during the review. Directly hearing from stakeholders increases their understanding of what the stakeholders want. 

Why this is a good answer
It answers both of the points being raised in the question. It doesn’t include a lot of unnecessary supporting information like describing what a Sprint Review is.

Unlike our other assessments, the PSM III does not have a bookmarking feature. As such, we ask that you please make a separate note of the question number for those you would like to flag for follow-up.