If you’re looking to demonstrate your understanding of Scrum to yourself, or prospective employers, the PSM II certificate is an excellent option. You earn it by passing the difficult PSM II assessment. This article, from a Scrum.org certified Professional Scrum Trainer (PST), gives you hints and tips to improve your chances of passing it.
One of the great things about the Professional Scrum Master II (PSM II) assessment is that it simply assesses your knowledge. You do not have to attend an official training course beforehand. (though I recommend it).
It costs $250 to sit the assessment so I recommend thorough preparation. Scrum.org offers advice on their PSM II Suggested Reading page but I think that is probably overkill in terms of preparing for the assessment.
PSM II Assessment Format
Here’s the format of the PSM II assessment:
- Online assessment accessed via unique link supplied by Scrum.org
- 90 minutes time-box
- 30 multiple-choice questions
- 85% pass mark
- Open book / Not proctored
Study Tips to pass the PSM II assessment
Here is the advice that I offer to students that attend my PSM II classes on how to pass the PSM II assessment:
Before the Assessment:
1. Read the Scrum Guide, once a day, every day, for seven days prior to taking the assessment
Reason: You’ll discover something new on every read and solidify your understanding of Scrum
2. Watch my Scrum video:
Reason: Another reinforcement of Scrum as well as some good practices.
3. Take the following Scrum Open assessments until you feel completely comfortable with the questions (and answers!)
- Scrum Open
- Product Owner Open
- Scaled Professional Scrum (Nexus) Open
- Agile Leadership Open
- Evidence Based Management Open
Reason: The practice assessment is in the same format as the real assessment and you have a chance to experience the format. Also, some of the open assessment questions appear in the real assessment so it’s effectively ‘answers for free’.
4. Consider the following focus areas:
- Think Scrum
- Focus on Principles and Values
- Think as a Servant Leader
Reason: Focusing on these areas when interpreting questions will help you to identify good answers.
During the Assessment:
5. RTFQ! Always read the full question (and answers)
Reason: Some of the questions (and answers) are long. Don’t throw away points by neglecting to read the full text.
After the Assessment:
6. If you fail your assessment on the first attempt, give yourself at least one day, preferably three days, to reflect before reviewing, revising and re-sitting.
Reason: Rushing at another attempt at the assessment means you’re likely to repeat the same errors. By reflecting, you may study scrum mastery further, get a better understanding, and improve your chances at a pass.
When you have passed the PSM II assessment, you can download a printable certificate from your Scrum.org member account profile. Feel free to use your Scrum.org certificate and badge to represent your status and understanding of Scrum.
Derek’s Scrum Mastery Tips
The work of a Scrum Master is challenging. Here are some tips that I have found useful in my Scrum Master career:
- The Scrum Master is a leader who has no authority. They have no ability to tell people what to do. It is up to the Scrum Master to create an environment where the people they work with choose to listen, because they believe in them.
- The Scrum Master coaches by consent. You cannot coach people that do not want it. Don’t use it as a passive-aggressive approach to getting the Scrum Master’s way.
- The Scrum Master can have no ego. Scrum is not about the Scrum Master, it is about the people.
- The performance of a Scrum Master is measured by how well the Scrum Team do their job.
- The Scrum Master takes delight in the achievement of others.
Want to Improve Your Chances of Passing the PSM II assessment?
You have other options available if you’d like to earn your PSM II certificate:
- Join one of our public Professional Scrum Master training courses. You will receive world-class training from Europe’s first dual-licenced Scrum Trainer. You’ll also get TWO attempts at the PSM II assessment (worth $500) as well as a discount on the PSM III assessment.
- Watch the ‘Introduction to Professional Scrum‘ video series at Pluralsight. Scrum.org endorse this learning series.