PSM1 CERTIFICATION. HOW I DID IT
This article was written under the impression after passing PSM1 certification. The intention of this article is to share the knowledge and experience. I thought that this info might be helpful.
- Test preparation
- Straight into battlefield
- Wrap up
Once upon a time, I decided to switch from Dev to PM. Here is the story about how it all started. My personal development plan looked like this — first PSM1 certification, next major milestone — PMP or/and PRINCE2. Maybe after gaining more experience — PSM2.
So, I started preparing for PSM1 to get a strong knowledge and understanding of SCRUM theory. A bit upfront — now, I can say for sure that that the test is worth the price you have to pay.
Therefore, working in the Scrum environment is the first step, reading Scrum Guide is another one, but implementing Scrum, solving real-life situations in the way Scrum promotes — that is a completely different story here.
These kinds of tasks to solve are included in testing and are the key to gain a full understanding of how Scrum works. But let’s focus on one thing at a time.
To be brief, my relationship with Scrum was quite diverse. There were startups with all needed attributes, ScrumBut one, even one without retrospectives, or ScrumAnd PM mixed. But, one was almost perfect — big, dynamic and with full SAFe integration. So, experience is quite large and this is a good point — to have a strong vision about good and bad points.
What is the test itself? That’s a strong understanding of pure Scrum from Scrum Guide perspective. So, this is the First pitfall. Result of my very first attempt to pass it was ~60%. Not impressive if we take into account that most of the questions I answered were based on my overall experience. Therefore, as we can see — the bad mark is the result of answers not aligned with what the Scrum Guide tells us to be or how to act. There should be no Zero, Hardening, etc. sprints, status meeting and so on.
That demonstrated the level of my theoretical knowledge, so I started acting in a proper way. First of all, I read The Scrum Guide thoroughly to eliminate all not needed stuff. After doing that, the result was 80% with ease. But how to make it 100%? I started reading different blogs and Scrum.org itself. There you can find useful articles, insights, and real cases. All these resources can provide you with a context within which Scrum is used.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that Scrum Guide itself is some kind of encapsulation, and it just strictly describes all the stuff that is going on inside Scrum. All external things are barely described. So, this is the Second pitfall while passing the assessment. It’s quite rewarding to clearly understand the context where Scrum is used; not only Scrum Guide statements, but more from Product Owner’s and Development Team’s perspectives. Therefore, learning by heart each and every Scrum Guide line won’t work. Deep understanding behind each statement is critical. This is the Third pitfall here.
My steps were the following:
- Researched as much as possible for free online tests, checked here, here and here;
- Passed each literary 10 times to go through as many questions as possible;
- All complex questions recursively studied and noted to clearly understand them;
- Found a new, must read book — “The Scrum Master Training Manual” by Nader K. Rad and Frank Turley”;
- Read again Scrum Guide;
- Learned and clarified Product Owner responsibilities;
- Development responsibilities and SDLC are also vital, but as I’ve been in IT for 6 years already — everything is more or less clear here;
Now, the assessment rate increased to a constant 99–100% of success. Yes, some questions repeat a lot😉.
STRAIGHT INTO BATTLEFIELD
And then one day I decide that I’m ready for assessments. What next?
- Register here official website;
- Visit assessment page;
- Scroll down and select “Buy PSM I Assessment”;
- Input general data and Card credentials;
- Pay 150$
- Hooray, all set now.
So, if you’re ready to start immediately, on the same page press “Start Assessment”.
But, don’t forget to check your First and Last name spelling; that data will be printed on the certificate.
Next, find a quiet and calm place to pass the assessment.
Quite not an easy one. Keep in mind:
- 80 questions, 60 minutes for all of them;
- Questions are far more advanced than on the open assessment. More than 80–90% were tricky and to be analysed thoroughly. Not easy to pick or guess the right answer here;
- Most of them were ‘single’ select, few were ‘multiple’ (the number needed was mentioned), and a few ‘true/false’;
- Most frequently questions are from real cases, so analyse hard but stick strictly to the Scrum guide;
- Really, there’s not so much time to wander around. Hurry up. Coming back to those doubtful questions took too much time, and to be honest, I was pretty exhausted from that. Moreover, there’s no convenient way to jump to a certain question; you have to click through each of them, one by one.
- Read every word of both the question and the answer option thoroughly; it is very easy to misunderstand something or miss some critical details.
- If you are confident in your skills — just answer questions the way you think is correct. Don’t google the answers or look them up somewhere. There is simply no need to do so and not enough time for this.
The assessment I passed at 95%. Baseline was 80%. I did it in the morning when my brain was still fresh enough for brainstorming. I recommend finding a place without any disturbance, switch off everything and fully concentrate on your success. I felt quite nervous, so an extra cup of coffee was not an option there. Take a cup of water, have enough fresh air, a notebook and pen.
To summarise — yes, it was not easy, but quite doable. Read what was laid out, understand the topic, and you are set to go. Just try to keep calm.
Good luck there!🌈
P.S. Having questions or disagree? please leave a comment!
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