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How to pass the Professional Scrum Master (PSM I) exam – Duncan Halley's Blog Skip to main content

How to pass the Professional Scrum Master (PSM I) exam

scrum training seriesScrum Training Series videos

When I first started fulfilling a Scrum Master duty, I found the video training series by Michael James to be a great resource. The videos add a visual element that you don’t get with the Scrum Guide, and really help you picture the activities of a real-life Scrum team. Also, depending on your learning style, you might prefer to learn by watching videos, rather than reading text.

The mini tests at the end of each chapter are a great way to check your knowledge.

Scrum Training Series


scrum guideThe official Scrum Guide

Following a general introduction to Scrum through the above training series, you really need to get an understanding of the official Scrum Guide. You’ll likely need to read it quite a few times to ensure you understand and remember it. Although the PSM exam is open book, the time limit means that you won’t have the opportunity to look through the Scrum Guide for an answer.

How you best learn the Scrum Guide depends on your preferred learning style. Perhaps you just want to read the Guide over a few times, or write down its points on paper to help you remember. I used the two methods above, in conjunction with the audio book version: Scrum Guide Audio Book.

This allowed me to concentrate on the words of the guide while blocking out any distractions.


Additional Learning – Nexus

Nexus is the Scrum.org version of scaled Scrum. You may get one or two questions on your exam about Nexus (as the questions selected are randomised, you don’t know for sure if you’ll get any Nexus questions).

I recommend reading over the Nexus Guide to get a basic understanding of it.


Mock Exams

Once you have become more familiar with the Scrum Guide, it’s useful to try some practice tests. This gets you familiar with the format of the questions and how much time you have to answer them. The Scrum Open Assessment even features questions from the actual exam, so if you ensure that you can repeatedly score 100% on this text, you’ll be in a good position for the real thing.

A more extensive exam is the one created by Mikhail Lapsin: PSM I Quiz. This has the same number of questions and time limit as the real exam. Although the questions are not exactly the same as on the official exam, they are very close. This quiz also has a learning mode, where each question has an explanation – this is very useful for reaffirming your knowledge, or understanding why you got a question wrong.


The PSM I Exam

  • Have a copy of the Scrum Guide available in case you need to refer to it. However you’ll only have enough time to use it once or twice.
  • Make sure you read the questions properly. Often there may be a negative word in the question i.e. “Which of these is not…”
  • You should have enough time to go back and check your questions. If you finish early, make sure you do this.
  • You can flag any questions that you’re not sure about, to make it easier to return to them.
  • Make sure you answer all the questions, even if you’re not sure of which option to pick.


I hope this post has provided you with some useful resources and tips. Let me know how you get on with your PSM I exam, and Good Luck!


One thought to “How to pass the Professional Scrum Master (PSM I) exam”

  1. I think this goes to show just how much work goes into becoming a scrum master. Not only do you have to read up and pass exams, but you must also know the best practices moving forward, ensuring that everyone in the company follows protocol. Best of luck to those that are looking to pass their exams!

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