In March 2012, I sat the Professional Scrum Master I assessment provided by Scrum.org. I did not attend any formal training beforehand and relied only on my experience and exam preparation. In this article, I tell you how to prepare for the Professional Scrum Master I assessment.
After 12 years as an agile practitioner, I decided that I’d like to formalise my Scrum knowledge and earn a recognised certificate for doing so. I researched the field and decided that the Professional Scrum Master certificate, provided by Scrum.org, met my needs.
One of the great things about the Professional Scrum Master I assessment is that it simply assesses your knowledge. You are not required to attend an official training course beforehand. (though it is recommended).
It costs $100 to sit the assessment so thorough preparation is recommended. I followed the advice given on the Scrum.org site to prepare for the Professional Scrum Master I assessment. I also took advice from colleagues that have sat, and passed, the assessment.
The best advice, by far, is to read and understand the Scrum Guide that is authored by Ken Schwaber (the founder of Scrum.org and co-creator of Scrum) and Jeff Sutherland (co-creator of Scrum).
Personally, I find the Scrum Guide to be an excellent document. It has condensed Scrum to only the vital elements that you MUST know to work with Scrum. At only 16 pages long, it’s easy to think that a quick 15 minute read will suffice but you’d be wrong. You’ll want to thoroughly understand the entire content of the document. Read it often.
Scrum.org also provide another hugely valuable resource by way of the free, online open assessment. You have an hour to answer 30 multiple choice questions. I strongly suggest that you do this open assessment as many times as you can until you consistently score 100%. You should also aim to complete it in less than 20 minutes. This is to prepare you for the Professional Scrum Master I assessment which consists of 80 questions and a time limit of only one hour.
Some of the questions in the open assessment also appear in the Professional Scrum Master I assessment so, every time you take the open assessment it’s an investment in getting ready for the Professional Scrum Master I assessment.
There’s one final piece of advice I have. Find out as much as you can about burndown charts. Though they’re no longer a part of the official Scrum Guide, I found that there were three or more questions in the assessment that required knowledge of them. With a pass mark of 85%, and four questions carrying a potential 5% of the result, it pays to be as thoroughly prepared as you can.
Passing the Professional Scrum Master I assessment is not easy. Even with many years experience in agile and Scrum, I found there were gaps in my knowledge. I spent considerable time on diligent research, the right preparation, revising and consistent effort. It was worth it in the end because I passed the Professional Scrum Master assessment at the first attempt.