How to Pass the Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I) Assessment

In March 2012, I sat the Professional Scrum Master I assessment provided by  I did not attend any formal training beforehand and relied only on my experience and exam preparation.  In this article, I tell you how I prepared for, and passed, 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, 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 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 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. 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.

To help with your research on scrum, and address any questions you may have as you prepare, why not join our mailing list?



    • Derek says

      Hi Rob

      You’re very welcome. Have you sat the actual assessment yet? I’d be very interested in hearing how you got on.



      • says

        Only the free open assessment so far.

        Scored 74% on first attempt as a baseline for my current knowledge without referring to the official guide.

        I’ve just registered for the paid assessment so will let you know…

      • says

        Hi Derek,

        Here’s how I got on:

        – What I did.

        OA attempt 1 to baseline current knowledge – 74%.
        Read and took notes on the scrum guide. OA attempt 2 – 90%.
        Reread guide for incorrect answers.
        OA attempts 3/4/5/6 – 100% (average time spent 6 minutes)
        Scrum Master assessment – 89% (Pass)

        – Observations.

        I was surprised by the number of questions in the final assessment that I hadn’t encountered on the OA despite having taken the OA six times. I found some of these questions challenging and deliberated for some time before answering. They were not black&white answers and not covered in the guide so judgement was required. Perhaps they are covered in the book, which I did not read. The tip on burndown chart revision was useful; I saw three questions on this. I used the full hour.

        Thanks again for your advice. I’m pleased to have passed but would like to improve where there are gaps in my knowledge. I understand that won’t let me know which questions I answered incorrectly by default ( so I will email them directly.

        • Derek says

          Hi Rob

          Firstly, many congratulations on passing the assessment and welcome to the community of Professional Scrum Masters!

          Thanks also for coming back and letting me know how you got on.

          With regard to the Open Assessment, you’re absolutely right. It’s very much a subset of the questions asked in the full assessment. Like you, I found some of the questions in the full assessment challenging. I think the exam is designed this way to stop people from just taking the open assessment multiple times and learning answers by rote with a view to passing the exam. want to see that candidates actually understand Scrum and I think that’s absolutely the right approach.

          I’m delighted that you found the tip on burndown charts useful. It’s one of those odd vagaries where the Scrum Guide no longer includes them as an artifact but the assessment still includes them. I suspect that the assessment is simply lagging behind the Scrum Guide in terms of content.

          As you correctly state, won’t tell you directly which questions you got wrong. However, they will let you know which areas might benefit from further study. Hopefully this will be enough to give you the improved understanding you’re looking for.

          Congratulations again!

      • Srini says

        Hi Derek,
        I have a fail story , my prep was good consistently hitting 100% in OA for atleast 7 times, mastered scrum Guide, fair understanding of burn charts, TDD, planning poker etc.. but I failed by just 1 mark..very disappointing , the areas where I went wrong was scrum of scrums and running short of time ,my mind set was 60 minutes & 60 questions.
        Can you please suggest books in question answer mode – I am too busy to read 100s of pages to cover my little gap

        Thanks in advance.

        • admin says

          Hi Srini

          I greatly respect you for sharing the outcome with us. You embody the pillars of Scrum:

          1. Transparency. Sharing your story with us.
          2. Inspection. You’ve asked where you went wrong and examined it.
          3. Adaptation. You’re looking at ways to adapt the current status and improve.

          After reading your post, I’d like to suggest firstly that you review examination techniques, rather than Scrum itself and secondly, I’d recommend that you read a bit more on Scaling Scrum (which is usually done with the Scrum of Scrums approach).

          If you need help with any of those two items, please let me know. Either way, I know we’d all benefit from hearing more about your experiences.

          Best wishes


          • Srini says

            Derek, Thanks for the swift response, I appreciate the feedback. I am very much interested to work the missing pieces , Please help me, especially on Scaling scrum.


  1. Chandra says

    Excellent piece of advice, Derek. Thank you once again. I’ve given my open assessment yesterday. I scored in the high seventies – like you pointed out, the test may not be a piece of cake unless the preparation is thorough.

    Greatly appreciate your suggestions regarding any other reading material besides the Scrum Guide.

    • Derek says

      Hi Chandra make recommendations on preparing for the PSM I assessment. This includes Ken’s book on Agile Software Project Management with Scrum. However, inadvertently, it highlights a major fault with books. Scrum is evolving so fast that books often end up out of date and Ken’s is no exception. In his book, he states that “… the ScrumMaster can abnormally terminate the Sprint” but this is completely wrong now according to the Scrum Guide which states that only the Product Owner can abnormally terminate a Sprint.

      So, the advice that I always give is to read the Scrum Guide every day, for up to seven days, prior to taking your assessment. Also, keep taking the free assessment regularly until you can score 100% every time.

  2. Jay says

    Good job, Derek…

    So…. I don’t have any knowledge of Agile or Scrum but really wanted to acquire the same. I came across the open assessment yesterday and thought to give it a try. While answering the questions, I related them with my best practices as a project manager and to my surprize, I scored 65%. Not bad, huh?

    Anyway, since you’ve already researched this certificate, can you please share your opinion with me as to whether or not the companies recognize this certificate? I’m a novice here who has read a lot of postings, comparing and scrum alliance. I’ll get to the point rightaway. Which of these two is more recognized in the market and is known to give an edge to the ‘certifieds’?

    Any thoughts will be appreciated.


    • Derek says

      Hi Jay

      A score of 65% for a first attempt at the free assessment is a good start 🙂

      I have had no problems whatever getting the Professional Scrum Master certificate recognised by an employer so I wouldn’t let that concern you.

      Between the CSM and the PSM certificates, the CSM is better known, mostly because it’s been around a lot longer. You can read much more detail in my article that compares the Certified Scrum Master and Professional Scrum Master certificates.

      Hope that helps. Please feel free to raise any other questions that may arise.

  3. Etienne Savard says

    Hi Derek,

    Your advices were very useful, particularly the tip about burn down charts. Thanks a lot.

    Here is how I prepared for the exam : I read some books on Scrum (Scrum & XP from the trenches (free ebook), The Scrum Field Guide) and the Scrum Guide several times (I’ve used flash card to memorize the important parts). I did the Open Assessment several time until I reach 100% at each attempt (I’m glad I did, it bought me some time to revise the most trickier questions).

    I did manage to answer the exam questions in about 30 minutes or so, leaving me time to revise the trickier questions (those not in the Open Assessment). The questions that are not in either the Guide nor the Open Assessment are just common sense. Put your Scrum Master hat and you will do just fine. Keeping in mind the 3 pillars of Scrum helped me : Transparency, Inspection, Adaptation.

    Final score : 94% in 50 minutes.

    Thanks again Derek.

    • Derek says

      You’re very welcome, Etienne. Welcome to the community of Professional Scrum Masters!

  4. Nave says

    Hi Derek
    A new manager joined our company and started talking about SCRUM terminology with the team who had no idea about. But being experienced in SCRUM 6 years ago, I thought I would question the practices since I didnt see anything SCRUM related being followed. So I took the OA test and scored 97% in first attempt. So now I can challenge the manager But my goal is to take the real certification and get through. Your site really helps. As you suggested I’ll go through the SCRUM guide and the burndownchart. Thank you for putting it on the blog. Please let me know if those two resources will really be enough to take the test if I opt to go with self preperation.

    • Derek says

      Hi Nave

      Scoring 97% at your first attempt at the OA is excellent – congratulations!

      In answer to your question, you’ll be well prepared for the actual assessment by following the advice in the article. As you can see from the comments, a number of others have done just that and passed their PSM assessment first time.

      Do please come come back and let us know how you get on.

      • Nave says

        I passed the PSM 1 last week. Now thinking about PSM II ? Is there a way we can do it without any training?

        • Derek says

          Hi Nave

          I don’t know of anyone that has passed it without training so the experience tends to indicate that training is needed.

          Also, last time I checked, there were over 6,000 PSM I qualified people but fewer than 200 PSM II qualified people. This tends to confirm that the assessment is more complicated and students would benefit from the formal training.

  5. Luke says

    Thanks for your post! I’ve already finished the 2-day PSM course and have two weeks to pass the PSM assessement. My first attempt to the free assessement was 74% without reading the guide, then read it and got 87% and a few minutes ago I got 100% in 10 minutes. I hope your advice will help. I agree that you must think in Scrum to pass the exam, it’s not just the test. Best regards!

    • Derek says


      Sounds like you’re in good shape. Don’t forget to become a subscriber and get a free copy of my Scrum Aide-Memoire. Packed with tips and reminders for the assessment and fine-tuned purely for the Scrum Guide and Professional Scrum Masters.

  6. Yogesh says

    I’ve consistenly scoring 100% in Scrum Open Assessment and now looking forward to to give professional scrum master I certification. However; i understood we have to answer 80 questions in 60 min. I’ve gone thru scrum guide several time and now would like to know is there any other doc which give me confidence to clear this exam in first attempt. I am worried about rest 50 questions. please guide.

    • Derek says

      Hi Yogesh

      Sounds like you’re in great shape. Don’t forget to have a quick look at burndown charts. Also, if you haven’t already done so, become a subscriber and get a free copy of my Scrum Aide-Memoire.

      Then, when you’re ready, apply for the online assessment. You’ll have a few days after paying for the exam before you have to take it so make sure you set aside a quiet hour where you can concentrate on the questions.

      Very best of luck and do please come back and let us know how you got on.

  7. Ryan says

    Thank you for your information!

    I also took a two day course and now I am studying for my exam, which I will have to take tomorrow.

    I took the open assessment a few times now and now my score is a 100% (I copied and paste all the questions in an Excel document and then studied them).

    I also was missing the burndown chart in the Scrum guide and I read that I am not the only one. Futhermore I also miss the user stories in the Scrum guide. Are there questions about this subject in the exam?

    Anyway, after my exam I will provide some feedback again.

    • Derek says

      Hi Ryan

      You’re very welcome and do please come back and let us know how you got along.

  8. Rakesh says

    Firstly, thank you so much for writing this article.

    I was ‘googling’ for some inputs on this certification and fumbled on this article. After reading the article I took the OA and got 74% based on my two years experience working on agile projects. I read the scrum guide and took the OA three times and managed a 97% all three times in under 7 minutes. There seems to be something or the other I goof up every other time. Though these scores seem good, I am having second thoughts about giving the exam based on what you said, “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.” Do you want me to refer something else or read the scrum guide again?! When do you think I will be ready for the final assessment?

    • Derek says

      Hi Rakesh

      If you follow the advice in the article, you’ll be in great shape. Keep taking the Open Assessment until you can pass it regularly with a score of 100%. Keep reading the Scrum Guide every day. Research burndown charts.

      If you haven’t already done so, become a subscriber and get a copy of my Scrum Aide-Memoire.

      As you’re scoring 97%, you’re very nearly there. Just take an extra couple of days and keep going through the steps in the article.

      Do come back and let us know how you got along.

  9. Rakesh says

    Derek, Followed your advice and just gave the PSM I assessment. Managed 96%. Thanks a ton.

    • Derek says

      Outstanding! Congratulations, Rakesh. Welcome to the Community of Professional Scrum Masters.

  10. Dom says

    Hi Derek,

    Thank you ever so much for your guide!

    I guess in the end, it was your hint about spending the extra time with burn down charts that did the trick.
    I did successfully pass PSM1 just recently.

    I had my preparation done with the official scrum guide, 4 takes of the open assessment and a few additional external sources.
    Plus I had been involved in agile environments and projects for years, albeit not in any of the Scrum roles. Which is probably the experience part you cannot learn.

    Side note: I did calculate how much time I had for a question on average and was checking progress after each 10 questions. By the time I reached 40, I was a few minutes ahead.
    Unfortunately, my home internet connection decided to stop working for about 10-15 minutes. Which made me check router, cables and run around like a raging little goblin. That left me with 15 minutes for about 40 questions after it worked again (ISP issue).
    So for PSM2, I would try and make sure I had a backup connection, maybe my phone ready with WiFi tethering.
    I wonder what would have done if I hadn’t passed due to the technical issues…

    I also found it critical to compare what your environment practises with what the theory and guides say. You could be around an experienced Scrum team, but the framework might not be updated (e.g. no “commitment” anymore) or very much adapted to the business.

    Thanks again.

    • Derek says

      Hi Dom

      Thanks for letting me know how you got on. I’m always delighted to hear that the site, and this article, has proved useful.

      Welcome to the Community of Professional Scrum Masters (especially given your Internet connection issues!)

  11. fereydoun says

    hello dear derek
    i am preparing myself for the PSM I test. one of my friends send me few questions. i answered the questions, but there is no one here (tehran) to help and correct my answers.
    my request is that you correct my answers and reply to me.
    so may i have your email address to send you questions?

    • Derek says


      I’d strongly advise that you take the free assessment at rather than relying on questions from a friend. There’s also the added benefit that some questions appear in the actual assessment.


      • fereydoun says

        thanks to your advice. there is some question that i cant find their answer (free assessment or scrum guide):
        for example:

        … sample questions provided and removed by site admin …

        would you answer to these questions?

        • Derek says


          Thanks for supplying your list of questions. They do look familiar to me and it’s possible that your friend provided you with real questions from the actual PSM I assessment. While I am delighted to help people learn Scrum, and learn enough to pass the PSM assessment, I don’t think it would be helpful for me to provide answers to actual exam questions.

, and myself, are keen to help people adopt Scrum. We’re also very happy to teach Scrum and to provide information and assistance to people free of charge, as they learn Scrum.

          I can tell you that the correct answers to the questions you provided are contained within the Scrum Guide. I encourage you to read the guide and follow the instructions in this article. I know from experience that doing so diligently will give you everything you need to earn your PSM I certificate.


  12. fereydoun says

    hi derek
    i read your usefull article about burndown charts. now i have question:
    in my class material we have this sentence:
    ” Monitoring Sprint Progress For and by the Development Team”
    in Scrum Guide on page 13 lines 30, 31 & 32 we have:
    ” The Product Owner tracks this total work remaining at least for every Sprint Review. The Product Owner compares this amount with work remaining at previous Sprint Reviews to assess progress toward completing projected work by the desired time for the goal”
    from first sentence we figure out that the development team is responsible for prepare and update the burndown chart.
    from second definition we figure out that the product owner is responsible for prepare and update the burndown chart.
    now my question is: who is responsible for prepare and update burndown chart?
    development team? product owner? or both of them?

    • Derek says


      The first important thing to note is that the latest edition of the Scrum Guide does not refer to burndown charts.

      In the section of the Scrum Guide that you are referring to, the Product Owner is responsible for assessing progress.

      I don’t know why your class material is different but, when it comes to passing the PSM I assessment, the Scrum Guide is the only reference you should use.

  13. Vijay says

    Hi Derek,

    Thank you so much for this insightful article. I followed most of the advice and tips mentioned here during my course of preparation. The tidbit about burndown charts was very useful too. This is how I went about the exam –

    Took the OA without going through the Scrum guide – Scored in the 70s
    Read Scrum Guide and then took OA a few times until I scored 100 consistently.
    Re-read the scrum guide and studied up a bit on scrum in general (burndown charts included) and then took the assessment.

    I am glad to inform that I passed the test with 96%!

    Again, thanks for sharing your valuable inputs. I wish you well in your career and life!


    • Derek says

      Hi Vijay

      Congratulations and welcome to the community of Professional Scrum Masters! It’s always great to get feedback from people that I’ve managed to help and I’m delighted that the articles have proved useful to you.

  14. Guillermo Sanchez says

    Hi Derek
    First of all, thank you so much for all your tips.
    I have a few questions for you.
    1. Could you please provide additional information about the certification process once you have paid the $100 fee? how much time do we have to take the test? How many attempts do we have to pass the test without repaying the fee?
    2. I have been taking the OA at least 4 times and the questions don’t vary too much, I mean, I barely see 2 different questions at most each time I take the OA. I’m surprised because the website indicates those are randomly selected from a larger pool. I just want to make sure if the scrum guide, OA and burndown charts would be enough material to get ready.


    • Derek says

      Hi Guillermo

      From memory, I think you have 14 days from paying the fee to take the test. You will get an email from that gives you all the latest information and it will state there how much time you have.

      You only have one chance to take the test per fee paid.

      The Scrum Guide, Open Assessment and information on burndown charts are indeed enough to get you past the PSM I assessment as feedback from other successful test applicants indicates. Do feel free to sign up for our newsletter though and get a free copy of the Scrum Aide-Memoire which will also help.

      Do please come back and let us all know how you got on.

  15. Guillermo Sanchez says

    By the way, I downloaded your Scrum Aide Memoire, it summarizes the Scrum guide pretty good 🙂


  16. Joanna says

    Hello everyone! I’ve just passed PSM I 🙂 99% I’m so excited!!!
    How I did it? I have the role of Scrum Master for 6 months so I know a lot from experience. What else? PSM Course and, most of all, Scrum Guide and other web materials about Scrum.

  17. Cynthia says

    I downloaded the cheat sheet. On top of the cheat sheet is written ” based on the scrum guide October 2011 edn”. the cheat sheet says A sprint goal is defined before sprint backlog is devised. But the scrum guide says ” After the dev team forecasts the PBI it will deliver in the sprint , the scrum team crafts a sprint goal”. The scrum guide is Oct 2011 edn. These 2 are contradicting. Which is correct????

    • Derek says

      Hi Cynthia

      That’s a really good question. Whenever you’re faced with any doubt over a question such as this, ALWAYS rely on the Scrum Guide. In this particular case though, you need to really understand the Scrum Guide to know that the cheat sheet is also right. Here’s why:

      Page 10 of the Scrum Guide, in the section titled ‘Part One: What will be done this Sprint?’, third paragraph, first sentence: “After the Development Team forecasts the Product Backlog items it will deliver in the Sprint, the Scrum Team crafts a Sprint Goal.”

      At the top of page 14 of the Scrum Guide, in the section titled ‘Sprint Backlog’, first sentence, it reads: “The Sprint Backlog is the set of Product Backlog items selected for the Sprint plus a plan for delivering the product Increment and realizing the Sprint Goal.”

      So, to create a Sprint Backlog, you do these three things, in order:

      1. Select PBI’s for the Sprint
      2. Devise the Sprint Goal
      3. Create a plan for how you will build this functionality into a “Done” product increment

      Hence why the Sprint Goal is defined before the Sprint Backlog is defined. The cheat sheet and Scrum Guide are both correct.

      • Cynthia says

        Derek thanks. I kept looking at it and now finally understood. Thanks for clarifying quickly.

  18. Cynthia says

    Derek I got this question in the exam.
    A software build creates executable software the can be run on a computer. Which of the following must be done to build an executable

    A) compilation of all relevant source code.
    B) unit testing of the executable
    C) refactoring the code
    D) scanning the code to ensure that it conforms to standards

    What is the answer… I choose a and I think it’s wrong

    • Derek says

      Hi Cynthia

      While I’m delighted to help people prepare for the exam, I do refrain from giving answers to actual assessment questions.

      The reason is that I have a passion for helping others to help themselves rather than simply providing answers for set questions.

      I’m sure you understand.

      • raj says

        Hi Derek,

        I was going through this forum and read this post. Understand and appreciated your passion. However Cynthia did ask very genuine question and giving your opinion on such tricky question could help others too.

        By the way – In little knowledge – I would choose B as unit testing can start when it is fully coded and complied and if satisfied unit testing it will classify as done.

        Please correct me, if other have different opinion on it.


        • Derek says

          Hi Raj

          My intention with this site is to help people learn Scrum, not how to pass a test. The reading material recommended by will give you the answers to the questions in the assessment.

          I’m afraid that giving my opinion on your view won’t help you, or anyone else. I encourage you to read the Scrum Guide and other recommended reading material. If you have any questions about them, I’d be delighted to help out and clear up any ambiguity.

          I hope that helps.

        • Jim says

          I agree, I think this is a tricky question. Or actually, a badly written one.

          From a Scrum point of view there’s a focus on Unit Testing so I think I’d choose B. However, from a literal point of view, Unit Testing an executable can’t be a part of creating that same executable. So the only good answer is A, which is agnostic of Scrum.

          So I think this question is badly written and ambiguous (if indeed it has been reproduced accurately).

          So I really hope it doesn’t pop up when I take PSM I in a few days!

          • Rob says


            Not only badly written, but irrelevant IMHO. Unit testing, refactoring etc are all Agile engineering practices that the ScrumMaster should promote to further the development team’s ability to meet “Definition of Done”, but are certainly not required to build an executable.

            Answer A is the the only reasonable one.

  19. Kavitha says

    Derek, I was referred to your site by a friend. A ton of useful information. Thanks.

    I will be taking my PSM 1 is the next couple of weeks and information on your site has been very helpful. I have been getting 75%, 100% and 100% in the free assessment.

    I am certainly going to be one of the frequent visitor to your site.

    Please keep up the great work!!

    • Derek says

      Hi Kavitha

      I’m delighted that you have found the site useful and thank you for your kind words.

      Do please come back and let us know how you got on with your assessment.

      • Kavitha says


        Happy to share that I passed the exam couple of week ago in the first attempt. I started a new job and coincidentally they use scrum. So the certification came in handy..

  20. Raj says

    Guys. Need to pick your brain. Details around definition of DONE. Can a scrum tream decide to have a separate Sprint only to deliver the completed documents, while code is delivered in another sprint? Similarly can a Scrum team decide to only fix high priority defects? i.e. fix lower priority defects in another Sprint?

    • Derek says

      Hi Raj

      The Product Owner decides the order of the Product Backlog Items. This is true whether its documentation, code, high priority defects, low priority defects or anything else. Other members of the team can influence the Product Owner but it’s entirely up to Product Owner to make the decision.

      You may find the following article useful: What a Product Owner Does

  21. Subramanyam V R says


    I was referring your site contents to take my PSM 1 and thanks for your valuable content and cheat sheet. Got certified today but with exactly 85% and don’t know where I was wrong 🙂

    Subramanyam V R

    • Derek says


      Congratulations on passing the assessment! As to questions you got wrong, if you write to they’ll tell you what areas you should focus on to improve your understanding.

  22. Denis says

    hi Derek,
    I’m currently self studying for the PSM 1 exam. I’m approx 10 years out of the Software industry and I feel that having this qualification would greatly assist my chances of finding employment again in the software sector. it seems that most employers are looking for a Scrum certification. My concern is that as I don’t have any day to day experience of Scrum in a working environment at present, it is realistic for me to expect to pass the exam ? I understand that some of the exam questions relate to real life day to day activities and are not necessarily covered in the Scrum Guide. Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • Derek says

      Hi Denis

      I’d say its definitely possible. I think the easiest way to answer your question is for you to sit the free Open Assessment at, after having read through the free Scrum Guide provided at the same site.

      Hope that helps.

  23. Amit says

    Hi Derek,

    Came across your website while searching for helpful resources for PSM-1. Have registered for it couple of days back and have been getting 100% consistently in OA (have taken it quite a few times now). Have also studied the Scrum Guide a few times but am not very confident about my chances.

    Will read up more on the Burndown Charts as you suggested and take the test after a while. Thanks for the tips.

    • Derek says

      Hi Amit

      You’re very welcome. Please come back and let us know how you got on with the assessment.

  24. Hennie says

    Hello Derek,

    Thanks for your tips about the Burndown Chart. There were indeed 3 questions about Burndown Charts.

    I just passed the test with 94%, 75 of 80 questions correct. You have to interpret the Scrum Guide correctly and it sure helps if you’re already working in a Scrum team and environment.

    Thanks mate.

    PS. What bothered me the most during the assesment was the stability of my internet connection, here in the outback of Germany :-). It’s not always reliable.

    • Derek says

      Hi Hennie

      Congratulations on earning your PSM I certificate! If you’re interested in earning your PSM II certificate, keep an eye on the site as I’ll be writing about that soon, too.

  25. Hayri says

    Hi Derek,

    Thank you for your post and “Scrum Cheet Sheet”, they helped me to pass PSM I with a 90% score.

    Fresh experience may help the ones who want to take this exam :

    – Took open assessment a few times and understand all answers. This will make you gain additional time (remember that there are 80 questions; but 60 minutes).
    – Know everything about 3 roles, 4 ceremonies, 3 artifacts. It is important to know answers of such questions “who is responsible, what is time-box of each, who makes, who updates, who removes etc…”
    – Some questions are tricky. For example, pay attention more to Product and Sprint backlog. The responsibles of them are different so do not click Product Owner option automatically.
    – I saw 3 questions about Burndown Charts. Know what it is and used for.

    What is next? Maybe it is better to gain more experience especially in practice. There are many valuable books on Scrum and other agile subjects that i can understand the subject deeper.

    By the way, Happy New Year!

    Thanks a lot.

    • Derek says

      Happy New Year to you too, Hayri

      Congratulations on passing your PSM I assessment and thanks for keeping us all up-to-date with the current status of the assessment.

      If you’re interested in how to pass the PSM II assessment, keep an eye on the site as I’ll be reporting on that soon, too.

  26. Srini says

    Hello Derek

    Thanks a lot for your articles and your suggestions. It helped me pass the PSM – I with 94%. It was a slightly tougher than the Scrum Open Assessment. The mocks in testtakeronline were good as well and helped in the preparation.

    Let me see if I can carry on this momentum and take up the PSM – II exam as well sometime soon. I will keep an eye on the website!.

    Happy New Year!!!


    • Derek says

      Hi Srini

      You’re very welcome. Thanks for coming on and letting everyone know how you got on.

  27. says

    Thank you for this useful information. I have passed the test! I found several questions about multiple scrum teams, and I didn’t have enough information or experience in this subject. I will keep applying agile in my organization and learn more with experience.


  28. Jean says

    Hi Derek,

    I read through many of your posts on Monday regarding the certification test preparation. I had been studying but heard the test was difficult. I applied what you and others had posted and I passed the test today!! Thank you all.

  29. Tomislav Dedus says

    Hi Derek,

    thanks for your excellent Scrum sheet. Today I’ve passed the PSM I assessment with a score of 96%.

    Kind regards,


    • Derek says

      Hi Tom

      That’s excellent news! Congratulations and welcome to the community of Professional Scrum Masters 🙂

  30. murali_l1 says

    Hi Derek,

    The assessment welcome letter recommends reading the book “Software in 30 Days” by Ken Schwaber. is it necessary to pass the PSM 1 assessment?


    • Derek says

      Hi Murali

      It’s been almost a year since I sat the exam (how time flies!) and Ken and Jeff’s book, ‘Software in 30 Days’ has been released since then. It’s realistic to expect that it will contain information that will help candidates.

      I’d recommend reading the book in any case. It’s an easy read and well worth the effort.


  31. Ashish says

    Hi Derek,

    After reading the book “Agile project management with Scrum” from Ken Schwabar, I took the open assessment but only managed to get 67%.

    Plz could you suggest any reference material, book to prepare before taking up next open assessment so that I manage to score 100%.

    • Derek says


      I would avoid the book “Agile project management with Scrum” by Ken Schwaber for the simple reason that some if it has been superceded by the current version of the Scrum Guide. For example, the book says that a ScrumMaster can cancel a Sprint but the latest version of the Scrum Guide says that only a Product Owner can do this.

      Your best read, without doubt, is the official Scrum Guide by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland. It’s a small document, easy to read and free of charge. Know the content of this guide really well and you’ll sail through the Open Assessment and have an excellent foundation for the real assessment.

      Good luck!

      • Ashish says

        Thanks Derek for your feedback. I have started reading scrum guide and hope to score better in next open assessment.


        • Ashish says

          HI Derek,

          I have attempted OA 4 times and have observed that majority of the questions are repeated with only couple (max) are added new in each test.

          My scoring has been as follows;

          OA – 1 => 67%
          OA – 2 => 97%
          OA – 3 => 97%
          OA – 4 => 100%
          OA – 5 => 100%
          OA – 6 => 100%

          Is this good enough preparation for me to go for final assessment or I need to refer to any more reference books to be totally prepared for the final test? Plz suggest.

          Many thanks for your support

          — Ashish

  32. murali_l1 says

    Hi Derek,

    I cleared PSM1 today with 86%. I must say I found the questions tricky which can make you go wrong even if you know the concepts well.

    I really appreciate your assistance through this site. You Rock!!!!


  33. RK says

    Passed the PSM I today!!! The tips on this site were very useful. Thank you!

    There were some questions from the open assessment, but also several tricky ones that I had never seen before. Reading the Scrum guide and taking the open assessment should be sufficient preparation. It would help if you’ve had the chance to implement Scrum in the past.

    Reviewing other Scrum material and learning from different sources will also be useful (there are tons of material out there).

  34. Jenny Aldrin says

    Have a few of questions regarding roles…
    If a new team member is not working out in a scrum team, who is responsible for taking him/her out – the dev team, the SM or HR?
    What is a tester’s role in scrum besides finding bugs?
    Who decides how to organize Daily scrums when some team members are in different locations?
    Does the Product manager decide on the estimate on PBIs in a product backlog?

    • Derek says

      Hi Jenny

      Some interesting questions. I note you supplied some answers in a follow-up question as well but I’ll answer without referring to them.

      1. This is an interesting question. An important element of Scrum is that a Scrum Team should be self-managing. That said, it’s very unlikely that the team would have the authority to fire or move a team member. Any solution then, is going to depend on someone that does have the authority. This would likely involve a manager and/or HR. So, the route to moving a team member is for the Scrum Team to agree that the team member needs to be removed and then involving those that have the authority to effect that removal.

      But that said, I firmly believe that any discussion regarding the removal of a team member should involve the team member under consideration. It should never come as a surprise to a team-member that they are under-performing or that they are under consideration for removal from the team. Recall that Transparency is one of the pillars of Scrum. If we follow this advice then it’s very likely that a team member will either improve or volunteer themselves for relocation. This is definitely a preferred solution for the team-member and the Scrum Team.

      2. In Scrum, all team members are responsible for delivering regardless of their specialisation. While testers are a natural fit for testing, they’re also well skilled for drawing up Acceptance Criteria for Product Backlog Items, for example. But there’s no need to stop there. If the tester has other skills that the team can use, and those skills are needed to deliver, then make best use of them.

      3. The Scrum Team decide how to organize their daily scrums

      4. Scrum doesn’t use Product managers. They have a role of Product Owner. That said, the only people that provide estimates on the PBIs are the people that will be doing the work. In Scrum terms, it’s a collective activity by the Development Team.

  35. Stephen Turner says

    I see a few questions in the practice exam about scaling Scrum to cases where several Scrum teams are cooperating to build one product. But I don’t think that’s covered in the Scrum Guide. Are there questions on that topic in the real exam? And where could I learn more about it?

    Thank you.

    • Derek says

      Hi Stephen

      You’re quite right, the Scrum Guide says nothing about scaling Scrum. The most usual method of scaling Scrum is the Scrum of Scrums approach. Here’s what one of the authors of the Scrum Guide, Ken Schwaber, says about Scrum of Scrums Search for the term “Scrum of Scrums” for more references.

  36. Jenny Aldrin says

    Thank you so much, Derek for answering all of my questions so sincerely. It gives me the courage to ask you a few more:
    1)When is Sprint 0 used and is it a time boxed event?
    2)Can multiple teams having a single product backlog run their particular sprints at different times? Shouldn’t all the events (planning, review, retrospective) be held together? Maybe a separate retrospective again per team afterwards?
    3)What happens if all engineering tools/infrastructure is not ready before a sprint? Do you change the PBIs in the sprint until everything is in place or play it as you go?

    P.S. In the previous lot, I had mistakenly typed in product manager instead of product owner! Oops!

    • Derek says

      Hi Jenny

      You’re welcome. In answer to your questions:

      1. There is no such thing as Sprint 0. As a result, time-boxing does not apply.
      2. Yes, multiple teams with a single product backlog can run their sprints at different times and, on occasion, it is beneficial to do so. Scrum events should be kept unique to each team. If you have more than one Scrum Team working on a project, consider the ‘Scrum of Scrums’ approach to Scaling Scrum, and the use of ‘Communities of Practice’ to keep technologists aware of what’s happening across teams.
      3. Good question. My advice is to start with what you have and amend the ‘Definition of Done’ as the engineering tools and infrastructure become ready.

      Hope that helps.

      • Aaron Collett says


        Sorry Derek I would disagree with number 3.

        The aspect of developing potentially shippable products cannot be achieved if the infrastructure is not correctly in place.

        In Scrum to counteract this you would firstly aim to get your environments and tools up to scratch whether its a case of delaying building the products and running sprints to bring everything up to par but as you do not want to inherently build in a degree of technical debt and potentially non-shippable products (it’s like building a house on weak foundations).

        The “definition of done” should never be flexed to allow for poor practice and ineffective quality review.

        Another aspect is transparency and making the product owner aware of the situation and why this is being done.

        • Derek says

          Hi Aaron

          I’d say that depends on what elements of the infrastructure are absent.


          1. The intention is to deliver a working solution to the cloud. However, the target location isn’t available but we can deploy and test the application locally.

          2. We want to produce a solution using Microsoft ASP.NET MVC 4 but we currently only have MVC 3 available.

          3. We will get extra testing capability, and speed, using a new test application being produced by a third party.

          In the circumstances above, I think we can manage successfully without those elements having to be in place on day one.

          I completely agree that we don’t want to incur technical debt and we don’t want to build on weak foundations but, in the circumstances I’ve described above, I don’t think they’re issues. Also, with regard to the Definition of Done, it’s an evolutionary artifact. It’s appropriate that it reflects what can be done when you start, rather than what might be possible in the future if some infrastructure becomes available.

          One of my favourite sayings in Scrum is that “You can only work with what you know today.” If today consists of local infrastructure, MVC 3 and current testing technology, that’s what we build our DoD on. After all, Cloud infrastructure, MVC 4 and the new testing app may never happen. If, and when, they do, we adapt the DoD accordingly.

  37. Jenny Aldrin says

    And one more, if I may…
    I felt the PO’s job is mainly to get the product backlog in order but I read a post by Ken Schwaber where he’s not happy how the PO’s role has been reduced to that of ‘requirements engineer’.
    So how does one define the role of the PO? A person who adds value to the product, a liaison between customer and developer?

    • Derek says

      Hello Again 🙂

      A PO is much, much more than a requirements engineer. In my view, they have the most important job on the Scrum Team. As well as being the owner of the Product Backlog, they’re responsible for the ROI and TCO of the work that the team does. They’re like a mini-CEO for a Scrum Team! Powerful stuff.

  38. Jenny Aldrin says

    Hey Derek!

    I got my PSM 1 certification a couple of days ago. Besides all your useful tips, I also went through the set of videos at They are easy viewing and I believe I did get a couple of questions based on what I learnt there.
    Bottom line though, the scrum guide should be the key reference you turn to again and again. It should be understood thoroughly and not just studied by rote. I loved the questions. Some of them really made me think.

    My only 2 grouses are that (a) the questions are not numbered when you want to go back and reread, recheck. It takes up precious time when you need to wade through all of it looking for what you want.
    And (b), I wish they’d point out which questions you got wrong at least to those who cleared the test. The correct answers don’t have to be revealed. Sigh!

    Anyways, thank you for your help and encouragement, Derek!
    – From a newly certified scrum master! 🙂

  39. says

    Took the PSM 1 certification exam today and passed. Didn’t spend more than a couple of days preparing possibly because I have had previous experience with scrum in 2 medium-term scrum projects. Nevertheless, thank you for this post and the cheat sheet that you posted. They still helped immensely.

  40. Hans-Erik Stegeby says

    So I loved the information on this blog. I took the PSM I assessment and passed with a 88%. I read the Scrum guide multiple times. Utilized the Scrum Cheat Sheet sent to me, videos and more. I have not had the opportunity to practice scrum yet as I took this to get my feet into possible positions where Scrum can be implemented. But I am very excited. My PM skills will now turn into Scrum skills.

    Anyway. Thanks for all of this helpful information. Also if there are any pointers you have for breaking into the scrum world I would love it!


    • Derek says

      Congratulations Hans-Erik!

      To break in to the Scrum world, I’d strongly advise starting work as a ScrumMaster at a company that already has ScrumMasters on-board. Even better if they have Agile coaches too.

      Starting out as a ScrumMaster is not easy, especially if you’re used to a waterfall or ‘command and control’ environment. Having experienced colleagues around means you not only have someone to refer to for help, but also a group of peers that can advise you if they see you heading in the wrong direction.

      Good luck!

      • Tanvir Ahmed says

        Hello Derek,
        I have read most of your responses on this thread. I have been a practicing Scrum for the past few years.

        I would like to be a Scrum Trainer. To that end, I took a test for PSM1 and scored 90%, I understand, I need to score 95% that could enable me to apply for the scrum trainer.
        I requested few times to let me know the knowledge area, I need to improve upon but am still waiting.

        I would appreciate if you could forward to my email the “Scrum Aide-Memoire” or any other suggestion that you feel could help me towards scoring 95% for PSM1 as well as PSM2. I have already subscribed to your website.
        Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

        • Derek says

          Hi Tanvir

 should come back to you shortly. While they won’t tell you exactly which questions you got wrong, they will tell you which areas would benefit from extra study. Perhaps drop them another email if you feel you’ve been waiting a long time?

          If you’ve subscribed to the site, you will have received a link to download the Scrum Aide-Memoire. Check your email (especially the junk folder) and see if it’s there. If not, contact me, giving me your email address and I’ll send you the link.

          What I found helped me when studying for the assessment was concentrating wholly on the Scrum Guide. If you know the contents of that really well, you’ll be fine. In my experience, most people that have problems with the exam are either drawing on personal experience of Scrum (which is often flawed) or reading old publications about Scrum (Scrum evolves, so you have to stay up-to-date).

          I hope that helps and good luck with your goal of becoming a PST!

  41. Esau says

    Dear Derek,

    I have found this thread because I am very eager to learn more about scrum as I have taken the PSM1 assessment today and I failed it. I have always been a developer but recently I have changed jobs and am now in charge of managing software development projects. I got to know about scrum only a year ago and did not give it much attention untill two months ago. The material I used to prepare, Scrum Guide, Scrum reference card, Burndown charts, checklist for scrummasters, online scrum training and the open assessment. This all helped me a lot and felt very confident but there were some questions on the PSM1 that I just couldn’t answer with confidence. Now I saw this thread and the posts from Jenny and it all makes more sense now. Have I only found this thread earlier, I might have have passed the assessment as I scored 84% today. So I just wanted to thank you for this great information you are sharing here, I feel that this will fill in the gaps I need to pass the PSM1. Will update my results here for sure as I am going to take a second try in two weeks.

  42. Jannie says

    Hey Derek

    Thanks for this great thread, I nearly made a grave mistake when considering the scrum institute online certification. I was concerned when I noted that there certification is 10% of any other prices. I did some research around them and found the general sentiment is that it is a scam. I have now followed your advice and had my first attempt at the OA without any guides or reading. I only scored 59% which was not surprising but gives me a great foundation to work forward. I will give feedback here on my progress.

    • Derek says

      Hi Jannie

      I’m delighted to have helped and thanks for letting me know. I look forward to hearing back on how you progress.

  43. Kaustubh says

    Hi Derek,

    Thanks for your wonderful post. I started with an open assessment (without reading anything) and failed miserably. Then I read the scrum guide over and over and took the open test multiple times until I score 100% consistently.

    Finally took the PSM I assessment and scored a 95% 🙂


  44. Marcos Moura says

    HI Derek,
    I am project manager and I never worked with Scrum before, but I am interest in use the Scrum in some kind of projects. I took the open test multiple times until I score 100% consistently, but in this evening I failed in the exam, I am so disapointed with my score 84%, only one more question to pass !! I didn´t have time to review some questions and I am afraid to spend another $100.

    Marcos Moura

    • admin says

      Hi Marcos

      Thanks for feeding back and letting us know how you got on. Being able to pass the Open test with 100% doesn’t guarantee a pass on the PSM I, I’m afraid, as you have discovered.

      I suggest reading through the article above again. Pay special attention to the advice to read the Scrum Guide (the 2013 edition now) every day for a number of days prior to taking the assessment.

      Also, if you write to, they will tell you which areas of Scrum you need to concentrate on so that you focus your efforts.

      Good luck!

  45. Duc Dinh says

    Hi Derek,

    I’ve passed the PSM1 based on your valuable advices on the first try. I have also tried to read more stuff to understand more deeply about the Scrum Guide.

    Thank you so much. Keep up your great work!


  46. Venkat says

    Hi Derek,

    I am preparing to take PSM I exam in December 2013. I am have gone through some of the initial posts of the thread above and noted a few points to be considered for the exam.

    Could you provide some suggestions on how to prepare and which areas of Scrum you need to concentrate?

    Thanks in advance.


    • admin says

      Hi Venkat

      All the information you need is included in the above article.

      Good luck!


  47. Luke says

    Many thanks for the guide and the aide memoir. I followed the advice by reading the guide daily for nearly a week along with some additional research on burn down charts and took the open assessment a number of times until I got 100% each and every time. I took the PSM I assessment a few days ago and achieved 94% on my first try. I’m a Business Analyst with no prior experience of scrum.

  48. Kimberly says

    Hi Derek,

    Thank you so much for the post. I am just getting started and was overwhelmed by the volume of resources that popped up during my search. I decided to work with, however I wanted to let you know that Scrum Guide link does not appear to have the correct address. I found the guide here:

    I look forward to learning more and will check back in on progress or with questions.

    Thanks again,


  49. Suma says

    Hi Derek,
    I am planning to write the PSM 1 certification and wondering where to find “Scrum Cheet Sheet”?
    Thank you for your help.


  50. sravanthi says

    Hi Derek,

    I have read the scrum guide and have taken couple of tests in open assessment, i am planning to take the certification by next weekend, can you please share the cheat sheet to me?
    i need one more review of the scrum guide before i attempt!!


  51. Ashu says

    Hi Derek,

    I’m looking forward to get some understanding on PSPO I course and was unable to find any reference anywhere. So, thought of asking you in case you’re able to guide and provide some insights on PSPO I assessment. Will you be able to advise?

    PS: Apologies as this comment is not relevant to the topic above.

  52. Patralekh Satyam says

    Hi Derek,

    I took my PSM I assessment just now and was able to clear it in the first instance. This forum was a great help towards making a decision to take the assessment and to prepare for the same.

    I would like to thank you for the help you have provided through this forum and your active participation and responses to all who seek help or have things to discuss.

    Looking forward for PSM II assessment soon with the help of your other thread on PSM II assessment.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Patralekh Satyam

  53. Oliver B says

    Hi Derek,

    I took my PSM I assessment last night (and passed!) although I did find it tougher than I thought it was going to be, your preparation advice on this site really helped…….not forgetting the Foundations course also!

    I recommend people also having a try or two at the Developer Open, just to broaden their knowledge.



  54. Dan Tousignant says

    I also found that the Scrum Guide from was the most valuable tool. Once I failed it the first time, I created a practice exam based upon both my experience with the exam and the Scrum Guide. After taking that until I got at least a 95% every time, I was able to pass the real one no problem.

    • says

      Hi Dan

      Thanks for your comment though please note that I removed the link you had inserted into the post. This is both because of the commercial nature of the link and also because I found some of the sample questions in your quiz to be vague and possibly unhelpful.

      For example, you have a question : “Pick roles that support the scrum master in removing impediments.” I’d be interested in understanding where your suggested answers came from because they’re not in the scrum guide.

      Finally, for any readers that do like practice assessments, I recommend the open assessment from instead.

  55. Hendrik says

    Hi Derek,

    I just passed successfully my PSM-I assessment on new years eve.
    It is time to thank you for your article – it gave me some more confident to take the assessment after my self study approach.

    For the PSM II I want to collect some more practice and will come back for your article about that.

    I am also very interested in an article about “How to pass the PSPO I” – would you mind to write about that?

    best regards

    • says

      Hi Hendrik

      Congratulations on passing your PSM I!

      Thanks for the request for an article on passing the PSPO I. I’ll look at my schedule and see what I can do.

  56. Dave says

    Just finished the test. Got a 91%. Here are some random thoughts…

    1) The exam is a lot harder than the practice exams. Don’t go into this exam saying that because you can pass the practice open assessments, you can pass the real exam.
    2) Expect a lot of questions that 1 to N correct answers. There are a number of questions where you are asked to select three of the five available options. My point is those kinds of questions have many combinations.
    3) Study Scrum within a Scrum. Or when there are multiple Scrums in play. There are a number of questions around those and the doc doesn’t give much guidance around this.
    4) Watch your time. Bookmark ones that you are not sure of and move on. Don’t spend more than 30 seconds on a given problem. The system has a nice way to navigate to the bookmarked items.
    5) I do agree with others that tell you to study the sample burnout charts. There were several questions on those.

    Best of luck to those on the path to taking the Exam….


  57. ravi says


    Can some one tell me whether I can book my PSM1 exam?Is there any website link that I can book the test?


  58. says

    Hello Derek! I wrote an article with PSM I Simulated Exam Review.

    I think it can help people to succed. The article link is:

    Hugs ans Peace for all.
    Eduardo Rodrigues Sucena
    MBA | MCP | PSM | PSPO | Business Analyst

    • says

      Hello Eduardo

      I’m certain that producing the simulated exam required some effort on your behalf. Sadly, however, I usually discourage people for using simulated exams for these reasons:

      1. already maintain an excellent simulated exam which is guaranteed to be current.
      2. Scrum evolves. Simulated exams often don’t.
      3. Simulated exams occasionally contain real assessment questions, which prefer not to share. We like to help people learn scrum, not pass an assessment.

      Hope that explains the redaction

  59. mansukh says

    Hi Derek,

    I don’t find the Scrum Guide at the location mentioned by you.
    Do you have the updated information?


  60. Adnan Badar says

    Hi Derek,
    Thanks for publishing this great post, very helpful. I am exploring and would much appreciate your response:
    1. Which certification is worthy to go CSM Vs PSM
    2. I see more graduates of CSM and little more Job postings asking for CMS certified.
    3. PSM looks more mature, though difficult to get compare to CSM (just pay more $ and get in 2 days)
    4. What would be value towards getting relevant job (Or they mainly look for hands-on Agile shop exp)

    Many thanks in advance.

  61. Vijay Sam says

    Hello All,

    Thanks to all for clarifying the difference between CSM vs PSM and providing detail on how to prepare for the PSM I assessment.

    Today I completed, PSM I certification with 96%.

    Though I have been part of multiple scrum projects I figured out that we weren’t 100% following all the principles specifically on inspection and adaptation. So in a lot of ways the Scrum Guide was an eye opener.

    Here is how I went about the preparation and it took about two and half weeks.

    a) Read through the Scrum Guide at least 10 times. Every time you read you gain additional insight.

    b) Took the open assessment at least 10 times and consistently scored 100% in the last 7 attempts

    c) Since the PSM assessment cost is $150 I did not want to risk so registered with [redacted]

    d) Then took the open assessment on Scrum Practitioner Open Assessment, developer open assessment and scaled professional scrum

    This gave me enough confidence to take the PSM I.

    Good luck

  62. Tundens Canis says

    The web site has 4 open assessments:
    – Scrum Open, which I’ve taken many times and can repeatedly score 100%
    – Product Owner Open, against which I usually score in excess of 90%
    – Developer Open, against which I usually score in excess of 95%
    – Scrum Practitioner Open, against which I am struggling to score more than 80% 🙁

    I’ve read the Scrum Guide many times, and read supporting texts such as Schwaber and Beedle’s excellent Agile Software Development with Scrum book, and I have exercised Scrum in practice.

    I would appreciate advice on:
    a) whether you think I’m ready to spend the $150 and take the PSM1 assessment?
    b) specifically whether aspects of Scaled Scrum, which come up in the Scrum Practitioner Open, are testable as part of the PSM1 assessment? (You’ll see that’s my weakest area in the open assessments.)

    Kindest regards,

    • says

      Hello Tundens

      It’s been some time now since I sat my PSM I assessment. Since then, new Scrum Open Assessments have been created and the content of the assessment has been changed.

      But only you can decide if you’re ready enough to take the assessment. Do come back and let us know what you decide and how you got on.


      It is likely that max of one or two questions may come from scaled scrum. Read the Nexus guide. Understand the how the feature teams are formed. Also know about integration and scrum of scrums.


    PSM is relatively tough exam.

    Unlike many other Scrum certificates, PSM is not a vanity means to claim Scrum knowledge, but a rigorous assessment of the intermediate knowledge in original Scrum.
    So, one should appreciate the high standards maintained by

    Some tips:
    – Be careful about the source of your Scrum Knowledge. It is essential to develop the knowledge of original scrum as defined in Scrum Guide
    – Understand of how Scrum Master enables Self organizing – There are of course impediments that is outside the team’s influence where SM needs to help. Not that they always let the team to solve it themselves.
    – Role of management and external interfacing
    – Product Ownership fundamentals

  64. Jarred says

    Great and clear information. Thanks!

    There are many useful comments too.
    I followed your advice on fully leveraging scrum open, and spent lot of time on scrum guide. It helped and I am a proud PSM-er now 🙂

    During my hunt for good sources to prepare psm, I found out few more resources too:
    – An excellent book by mohammed, named Scrum Narrative and PSM Exam Guide. I got it in Amazon kindle
    – Dr Ian Mitchel’s blog. The guy has lot to offer on Scrum
    – forums


    • says

      Congratulations! Thanks also for your helpful comment. I agree with your thoughts on Ian. I’ve seen a number of his posts on the forums and he does possess a good understanding of scrum.

  65. venkat says

    Very nice article Derek, Thank you.

    I am preparing for it . I have a question to ask you please help me. I am taking ‘scrum open assessments’ on There 3 assessment types as below i am able to do 95% with scrum open (1) assessment. Do i need to take the others (2-product owner,3-developer)? to clear PSM-1.

    1.Scrum Open – Assess your basic Scrum knowledge.
    2.Product Owner Open-Assess your basic knowledge of the Product Owner role in Scrum.
    3.Developer Open-Assess your knowledge of basic development practices used on a Scrum Team.

    • says

      Thanks for your kind words.

      You don’t need to do the product owner or developer open assessments to be successful at the PSM I However, you may find value in doing so for a more rounded understanding of scrum.

  66. Paul says

    Hi I sat the psn1 exam and failed by 2 marks I read the guide a few times and did the open assessments, is there anything else you can suggest? I know the areas I messed up on the framework and theory and principles and rules so maybe I should just study those again

    • Catherine Esined says

      I don’t think the test is that difficult but I did not pass. I failed a couple of times. It doesn’t seem that its that hard but I keep failing. I now wonder is that a scam factor.

  67. Lez says

    Dear Webgate,

    I am lezarkvy from check. i found your blog though multiple mention at liked the post and all the comments.overall, Found great advice on scaling scrum, self-org teams, info on the good book scrum narrative and psm exam guide, psm to other comparisons, and many more. great attitude in answering questions till date. love your dedication. Thank you

  68. Ricky says

    Hello Experts,
    I actually failed the PMP exam. I got pissed off and now i want to go for SCRUM.
    Is this a right decision?
    Now i want to directly take the SCRUM Master certification.
    What would you advice?

    Which one has more value PMP or Scrum(Agile)?

  69. Imtiaz says

    Hello Derek!
    This is Imtiaz from Samsung R&D Institute (Bangladesh). Currently practicing scrum in my organization. I am really willing to do PSM 1 certification. So, I have just started to take preparation. I have seen your suggestions and going accordingly.

    I just need to know – a 16 page guide ‘The Scrum Guide™’ is this the guide that you all suggested to go through number of times before I sit for the exam? Or there are any other essential material for my exam preparation?

    ——- Imtiaz.

  70. Andy Spence says

    Hi Derek,

    Thanks so much for this really helpful guide. This enabled me to pass this exam with Flying Colours. One technique that worked for me in my approach, was to write down and take notes of each section as opposed to just reading the Scrum Guide countless times. I personally found just reading it mean’t as some things went in, others went out. So the taking notes and writing statements in my own way helped things really sink in.

    Doing the open assessments is also key, great tip that. I recommend prepping yourself on the assessments a few times just before entering into doing the actual PSMI.

    Great blog post, thank you!



  1. Suggestions to pass the Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I) assessment | Elvis is still in the building says:

    […] so I would like to share my experience on preparing the assessment. I have got many advices from Derek Davidson, Eduardo Rodrigues Sucena, Krystian Kaczor and many other experts who have been practicing Scrum […]

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