Last month, my manager introduced me to the PSM certificate and encouraged me to take on this test. After some research, I decided to follow his advice.
I have spent around 15 days preparing for the certification exam, going through materials and documents, and finally, on the 19th of April, I passed the exam with a high score of 95 (pass score is 85).
Today in this blog post, I’m going to introduce this certificate to you (who should take it, why take it), with my preparation strategies and the cost associated with the certificate.
Hopefully, it can help you understand this certificate better and decide whether it’s for you, and if the answer is yes, you can spend less time wondering about “How should I prepare for it”.
I believe with the proper preparation strategy, anyone can pass the exam in 2-3 weeks (with a total studying time of around 10-20 hours).
Now let’s get started!
1. The Why
The Professional Scrum MasterTM level I (PSM I) assessment is available to anyone who wishes to validate his or her depth of knowledge of the Scrum framework and its application. Those who pass the assessment will receive the industry-recognized PSM I Certification to demonstrate their fundamental level of Scrum mastery.
First of all, I’m not the type of person who loves collecting different certificates just to prove that I’m capable of doing something. I look at the value of the certificates and try to align them with my studying plan, my current work requirements, and the benefits they can provide in the short term (within 6 months, no longer than 1 year).
I’m currently a tech team lead in a medium-sized IT company, with the rapidly changing environment and the need to scale our business, we are hiring more people, thus exposing a pressing need of establishing a more effective internal process to deliver values to our clients.
We are in the process of adopting agile and scrum methodologies, as a team lead, I have undoubtfully responsibility to learn the best practices and apply them.
Furthermore, the PSM Certificate is an industry widely acknowledged certificate, which means the knowledge I’m going to learn is of high quality.
2. Exam Format
- Fee: USD 150 per attempt
- Passing score: 85%
- Time limit: 60 minutes
- Number of Questions: 80
- Format: Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer and True/False
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Language: English only
- You can purchase the exam and do it on the same day
- Your organization might be able to cover the exam fee for you, so make sure to check with your manager
3. How to prepare?
Based on the official website
The assessment is difficult; preparation is required to achieve a passing score. Reading the Scrum Guide and taking the Open Assessments alone isn’t typically enough preparation and we recommend reviewing the content below:
- The assessment covers topics from multiple Focus Areas defined by the Professional Scrum Competencies .
- Many questions ask you to think about or interpret the meaning from the Scrum Guide and how you would apply Scrum within a Scrum Team.
- The PSM I Suggested Reading lists the Focus Areas from which questions may be selected during the assessment.
- The Scrum Master Learning Path contains many additional resources to help you prepare to take the PSM I Assessment.
Do I need to take a course?
Taking a course is not required and if you feel that you already possess a high level of Scrum knowledge, understanding of the Scrum Guide and how to apply Scrum within Scrum Teams, you have the option to take the PSM I assessment directly.
However, there are courses available to help you prepare for the assessment and gain a stronger understanding of Scrum. Depending on your role, either the 2-day Applying Professional Scrum or Professional Scrum Master course is highly recommended.
- Based on the website, taking a course is not required if you already have a high level of Scrum knowledge.
- There’re some free materials (the scope of the exam)
So I took a look at the courses provided by the website, and they usually take 2 days, with a cost of $1000.
Ummm, too expensive for me :)
Also, based on the knowledge of the exam format, I believe there’s a need to take some mock exams to get an understanding of the question format and how to get the right answer.
Therefore, I explored other options.
4. My Preparation Strategy and Materials
After some googling, I found this Udemy course Scrum Master PSM 1 - Scrum Master Certification - Agile 2022 , with a price of AUD 17.99, it contains 2 mock exams with explanations.
Sounds like something I need, so I enrolled in this course.
To save you some time, these are the materials I have read to pass the exam.
Scrum Guide: https://www.scrumguides.org/
Scrum Glossary: https://www.scrum.org/Resources/Scrum-Glossary
Agile Manifesto: http://agilemanifesto.org/
The Three Pillars of Empiricism: https://www.scrum.org/resources/blog/three-pillars-empiricism-scrum
Evidence-Based Management: https://www.scrum.org/resources/evidence-based-management-guide
Preparation - Step by Step
- I spent around 10 days listening to the Udemy course while cooking, cleaning, and walking (I downloaded the udemy mobile app so I can study anytime anywhere).
- I also used the 1.5x speed so I can watch it in less time.
- I find the Practical Videos too easy for me, so I skipped these sections and went directly into the mock exams.
- I failed the mock exams (both of them), and I learned from my mistakes and used the materials listed above to find the supporting theory.
- I take notes of all the questions that I did wrongly / I was not certain about my answer.
- Then I took the 2 mock exams again (on the next day), and passed both of them.
- I purchased the official exam on the same day I passed the mock exams.
- I reviewed my notes before the exam.
- I took the exam and finished it within 30 minutes and got a 95 score.
5. Other Important Info
After the Exam
- I claimed my certificate (https://www.credly.com/badges/cbcc478d-8ff2-414b-b0db-ba9bf32e04c5/public_url )
- I decide to write this article and another one later (more about what I’ve learnt in the PSM I course and materials, like a summary of my study notes).
- I applied my learnings in my daily work (sprint planning, daily scrum, sprint retro, etc).
- Udemy Course: $18 AUD
- Exam fee: $150 USD ~ $220 AUD
In short, if you are currently in a scrum team, or you would like to learn more about how sprint should properly work, then this certificate is worth taking!
The answer is yes, PSM has three levels - I, II, III, if you want to go deeper, you definely can.
Hope this blog post has helped you in some ways, and feel free to leave me a comment :)