How to get Scrum master certified
There are no shortcuts to get certified as a Professional Scrum Master (PSM1) or a Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO).
Every certified Scrum master or product owner who achieves their accreditation honestly follows the same steps:
- Study the Scrum Guide until you know it off by heart.
- Scour over the recommended reading for the exam.
- Supplement the Scrum Guide with a Scrum Certification Study Guide or online course.
- Test your knowledge by taking practice Scrum master exams.
- Get some hands on experience in the field as a Scrum master.
Once you gain confidence in your skills, schedule your exam and put your knowledge to the test.
The Scrum certification exam trick
When it’s time to take the Scrum master certification exam, there is one trick you can use to help you pass, if you’re hovering around the margins of the required 85% score.
If you’re fully prepared, this simple trick will help you get closer to earning the coveted 100% passing score on the Scrum master exam.
Whenever you encounter a difficult exam question that pushes your knowledge of how you’ve applied the Scrum framework in the field of software development, reframe the question in an alternate problem domain.
For example, an exam question might ask when is the right time for a developer to integrate their work into the product.
- During the sprint review so stakeholder can see it?
- During the daily Scrum so it’s coordinated with fellow developers?
- After permission comes from the Scrum master?
- After the product owner has validated it?
- Right away without telling anyone?
On the surface, all of those options sound valid with exception of the last one. Curiously, the last one is correct.
Reframe the Scrum exam questions
Now reframe the question. Instead of software development, imagine using Scrum to build a house. A carpenter on the Scrum team has built the front door and tied to the roof of her truck.
When should she hang the door on its hinges?
- Should she leave the door on the roof of her car for two weeks until the Sprint Review?
- Should she leave it on her roof until tomorrow morning’s Daily Scrum happens?
- Should she wait for the next time the Product Owner or Scrum Master visits the house to see if it fits?
- Or should she just take the door off the roof of her truck and hang it?
Obviously, she should just hang the front door on its hinges and make sure the door integrates properly with the house.
What about other questions about the door?
- Does the door fit?
- Is it the right color?
- Does it swing open and closed?
None of those questions is truly answered until the front door is attached to the house. It makes no sense to wait for a Scrum event or permission from the product owner to integrate it.
That’s the trick.
Whenever a product owner or Scrum master certification exam questions gets too confusing, bust it out of the frame of software development and think about it in an entirely separate domain. The correct answer often becomes obvious.
Sample Scrum certification practice exams
To emphasize this point, I’ve put together two Scrum master certification exam quizzes.
The first asks the 10 Scrum master certification exam questions my students have the most difficulty with.
The second set of Scrum master exam questions mirrors the first set, but all of the questions are reframed on the backdrop of a life-and-death survival situation.
- Scrum exam prep 1: Ten tough Scrum master exam questions
- Scrum exam prep 2: Scrum certification exam questions reframed
Do the first exam and see how well you score. Then tackle the second exam and see what type of difference it makes when you reframe a difficult question outside of the domain of software development.
It’ll help you understand the Scrum framework better, and it’ll give you a better chance at a 100% perfect score on the Scrum master certification exam.