How to Pass the Professional Scrum Master (PSM) Certification

May 14, 2024

Becoming a certified Professional Scrum Master (PSM) is a significant achievement that showcases your understanding and expertise in Scrum principles and practices. The certification not only enhances your credibility but also equips you with the skills needed to lead Agile teams effectively. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you prepare for the PSM certification.

Understanding the Exam Format

The PSM I exam is designed to test your knowledge of the Scrum framework comprehensively. It consists of 80 multiple-choice questions which you need to complete within 60 minutes. To pass, you must score at least 85%, meaning you need to answer at least 68 questions correctly. The exam covers various aspects of Scrum, including its theory, roles, events, artifacts, and rules.

Study the Scrum Guide

The Scrum Guide, authored by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, is the definitive resource for understanding Scrum. It outlines the roles, events, artifacts, and rules of Scrum in detail. Reading and re-reading the Scrum Guide is crucial as the PSM exam questions are heavily based on this document. Highlight key sections and ensure you have a thorough understanding of each concept.

Enrol in Online Courses

Structured training can provide a comprehensive understanding of Scrum. Enrolling in a Scrum Master training course can help you gain insights from experts and understand real-world applications of Scrum. These courses often include interactive sessions, practice questions, and detailed explanations which are invaluable for exam preparation.  Click here for more details on Training courses

Practice with Mock Exams

Practicing with mock exams is one of the best ways to prepare for the PSM certification. Mock exams help you get accustomed to the format and timing of the actual test. They also identify areas where you need further study. Websites like offer open assessments that are similar in format and difficulty to the PSM exam.

Engage in Scrum Communities

Joining Scrum forums and online communities can be extremely beneficial. These platforms provide opportunities to discuss topics, ask questions, and share experiences with others preparing for the exam. Engaging with the community can offer new perspectives and study tips that you might not find in books or courses.

Study Additional Resources

Beyond the Scrum Guide, there are several books and online resources that can deepen your understanding of Scrum practices and principles. Recommended readings include:

  • "Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time" by Jeff Sutherland
  • "Scrum Mastery: From Good to Great Servant Leadership" by Geoff Watts

These books provide valuable insights into the practical applications of Scrum and can help solidify your theoretical knowledge.

Review Key Concepts

Ensure that you have a solid grasp of key Scrum concepts:

  • Empirical Process Control: Understand the pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation.
  • Scrum Accountabilities (Previously called Roles): Detailed knowledge of the responsibilities of the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Developers.
  • Scrum Events: Familiarity with the purpose and timing of Sprints, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrums, Sprint Reviews, and Sprint Retrospectives.
  • Scrum Artifacts: Clear understanding of the Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, and Increment, including their characteristics and the importance of the Definition of Done.

Take Care of Exam Logistics

On the day of the exam, ensure that you have a stable internet connection, a quiet environment, and all necessary materials ready. Manage your time efficiently during the test, aiming to answer each question in less than a minute to leave time for review.

Utilise Practical Experience

While theoretical knowledge is crucial, practical experience can significantly enhance your understanding. If possible, involve yourself in a Scrum team or work on Scrum projects. This hands-on experience will provide you with real-world insights and a deeper understanding of how Scrum principles are applied in practice.


Preparing for the PSM certification involves a blend of theoretical study, practical application, and continuous learning. By leveraging the resources mentioned and following a disciplined study plan, you can enhance your understanding of Scrum and increase your chances of passing the PSM exam on your first attempt. Achieving this certification will not only validate your skills but also open up new opportunities for career growth and professional development. And if you're tempted to try and shortcut the learning process and to pass your exams using AI, you may wish to read our cautionary tale on that very subject...

For more information and resources, visit Agility Arabia and start your journey to becoming a certified Scrum Master today.

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