How to pass SCRUM master exam PSM-I

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Last Updated on November 29, 2020 by Jacob

SCRUM is the most acknowledged framework for project management, within the IT industry worldwide. SCRUM is a framework which can be applied basically to any kind of project within development and maintenance.

SCRUM was originally developed by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland in the 1990’s.

SCRUM is not a definite method but a framework. The SCRUM framework binds together roles, events and artifacts. SCRUM is based on “empirical process control theory” also known as Empiricism. 

In the following I will describe how i prepared myself for passing the Professional Scrum Master exam level 1 in

PSM-I exam is about understanding fundamental SCRUM theory in and out.

Basically you need to familiarise yourself with “The SCRUM guide” on a deeper lever, and have a thorough understanding  and memorisation for each and every section of the guide.

UPDATE: Since I wrote this article the SCRUM guide 2020 edition has been released. Find it HERE

For a quick overview my preparation consisted of the following:

After above preparation, I managed to pass the exam on with 79 correct answers of 80 questions.

The hard part, is the fact, that you basically need to know the 18 page SCRUM guide in and out. Objectively 18 pages doesn’t sound like a lot, but the density and wording of those 18 pages, has been carefully selected and modified over more than 20 years, and you need to pay close attention to the wording of each and every sentence.

For the same reason, I chose to read the scrum guide aloud – record it, and uploading it to youtube: LINK  – Not exactly my best recording ever, but it was definitely worth the effort. I believe in diversifying the way you receive knowledge. In this case I listened to the SCRUM guide as audio version. I read it aloud, and I read it multiple times.

The practice I found most valuable though, was to read the SCRUM guide, and mark all words I consider to be “value attributed words”.  Those “value” words are, what makes the SCRUM guide and certification particular tricky. It makes a big difference whether something is “may”, “should” or “must”.  Just to mention some of the words I highlighted from the SCRUM guide, and for which you in their context needs to pay particular attention to:

  • Must
  • Should
  • Choose
  • Responsible
  • May do
  • Remains accountable
  • Only
  • Helping
  • As requested
  • May be
  • Solely up to
  • Usually
  • Can help
  • May renegotiate
  • Ensures
  • At any time
  • At least

Words above are hard to categorize as a whole, but whenever you read them in the SCRUM guide, pay particular attention to them and the context they are in.

Across the net I found a common consensus on recommending, you shouldn’t try and take the exam, before you have an average of 95 % correct in test exams. And please do not rely on your score in SCRUM’s free 36 question open assessment, since it is way below the actual exam level.

Below I have gathered some of my SCRUM notes, and nearly 50 exam questions and replies, for which, I at some point in my learning path had doubts on the correct answer.

The three pillars of Scrum is 

  • Transparency
  • Inspection
  • Adaptation

SCRUM events:

  • Sprint Planning
  • Daily SCRUM
  • Sprint Review
  • Sprint Retrospective

SCRUM values:

  • Commitment
  • Courage
  • Focus
  • Openness
  • Respect


The SCRUM team

  • Product Owner
  • The Development Team
  • The Scrum Master

Scrum Artifacts

  • Product Backlog
  • Sprint Backlog
  • Potentially releasable product increment

Scrum Time boxes

  • Daily Scrum – 15 min
  • Sprint review – 4 hours or less (for 1 month sprint)
  • Sprint retrospective – 3 hours or less (for 1 month sprint)
  • Sprint planning – 8 hours or less  (for 1 month sprint)


SCRUM Questions:

  1. When should a Sprint Goal be crafted?
    1. During the sprint planning meeting
  2. What is the essence of Scrum?
    1. A small group of people
  3. What is the role of the testers within the development team?
    1. The development team as a whole is responsible for the quality
    2. There is no “tester” role within SCRUM
  4. Development team delivers a done increment of product functionality every sprint. What does done mean?
    1. Ready for final user or customer
    2. The work is completed according to the “definition of done”
  5. The product is built by multiple scrum teams. When should their work be integrated into one product increment?
    1. Every sprint
  6. When is the development work on a product backlog item considered complete?
    1. When  there is no development work left to be done and the item is potentially releasable.
  7. In order to make investment decisions, the Product Owner is likely to look at the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of the product being built.  What costs will a Product Owner take into account?
    1. All investments required to conceive, develop, operate and maintain the product
  8. What is the result of the Sprint Review?
    1. Common understanding of progress toward the sprint goal and how progres are trending toward completing the work in the sprint backlog
  9. How does the scrum master help the product owner? 
    1. Finding Techniques for effective Product Backlog management
    2. Facilitating Scrum events as requested or needed
    3. Leading and coaching the organization in its scrum adoption
  10. Who is allowed to participate in the daily Scrum? 
    1. The Product Owner
    2. The Scrum Master
    3. The Development team
  11. What are the Scrum Artifacts?
    1. The Sprint Goal
    2. The Increment
    3. The Product Backlog
  12. Who is responsible for monitoring progress toward high-level goals?
    1. The Product Owner
  13. What provides guidance to the development team on why it is building the increment?
    1. The Product Owner
  14. Where can Scrum be Used?
    1. Development of products and enhancements
    2. Development of almost everything we use in our daily lives as individuals and societies
    3. Development of software and hardware
    4. Development and sustaining of Cloud and other operational environments
  15. Could the product owner and the scrum master be a part of the development team?
    1. YES
  16. Who is allowed to change the sprint backlog during the Sprint?
    1. The Development Team
  17. Who is responsible for crafting the Sprint Goal at the Sprint planning?
    1. The Scrum Team
  18. How does the definition of done help the scrum team? 
    1. DoD is used to assess when work is complete on the product increment
    2. DoD guides the Development Team in knowing how many Product Backlog items it can select during a Sprint Planning
    3. DoD ensures artifact transparency
  19. Other people than the scrum team can attend the sprint planning in order to provide technical or domain advice
    1. True
  20. Who is responsible for all estimates in the product backlog?
    1. The Product owner and the development team.
  21. Who is responsible for coping with incomplete artifact transparency?
    1. The Scrum Master
  22. Which SCRUM events represent the opportunity for the development team to change the definition of done?
    1. The Sprint Retrospective
  23. A senior Product Manager within the organization asks the Development Team for a status report for the current Sprint. The Development Team goes to the Scrum Master for advice. What should the Scrum Master do?
    1. Explain to the Product Manager how Scrum works and that progress can be asserted by inspecting the product increment during the sprint review meeting
  24. Who is responsible for monitoring the work progress during the Sprint?
    1. The development team
  25. An inexperienced Product Owner is unsure about estimates in Scrum and has asked the Scrum Master for help. How should the Scrum Master respond?
    1. Inform the Product Owner that the development team is responsible for estimates
  26. Which topic should among others be discussed during the Sprint review meeting?
    1. Sprint Outcome
  27. The Development Team did not complete the selected Product Backlog Items by the end of the Sprint. What happens next?
    1. The Development team learns what is possible within the sprint time-box and uses the experience in the next sprint. 
  28. What is the time-box for the Sprint Review event?
    1. Four hours for a one month sprint.
  29. The Development team members can invite persons external to the development team to explain how to turn the selected product backlog items into a potentially shippable Product increment. 
    1. FALSE – Since the development team is self-organizing. No one tells them how to turn the product backlog items into a product increment. 
  30. What is the relationship between technical debt and transparency?
    1. Technical debt reduces transparency as it may affect if the product increment is releasable at the end of the sprint.
  31. A new scrum team just started working on a new software product. When should an increment of working software be available for a potential release to the customers?
    1. At the end of the sprint
  32. The Daily Scrum should be held every day of the Sprint. The Development Team thinks it would be enough to have a Daily Scrum only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. What would most likely happen if they would reduce the frequency?
    1. The sprint plan might get outdated
    2. Opportunities to inspect and adapt are reduced
    3. Impediments would be communicated and solved with delay
    4. Increases the possibility of missing the sprint goal
  33. The product is built by multiple Scrum Teams. When should their work be integrated into one Product Increment?
    1. Every sprint
  34. Which of the following are among responsibilities of the Development Team?
    1. Planning work in order to meet the sprint goal
    2. Estimating product backlog items
    3. Dealing with inner team conflicts
  35. The product is built by multiple Scrum Teams. When should their work be integrated into one Product Increment?
    1. Every Sprint
  36. What should be delivered by the end of the sprint by the development team?
    1. A product increment (Usually a trick question where other options are available for multi selection process)
  37. Which of the following affirmations are correct about the Product Owner role?
    1. The product owner can be influenced by stake holders
    2. The product owner should optimize the value the development team performs
    3. The product owner MUST be only one person
  38. What are the role of tester within SCRUM
    1. There are no tester role
    2. The development team as a whole are responsible for testing
  39. The Scope cannot be changed once the sprint has started
    1. False – The scope can change (as more is learned)
  40. During the Sprint Planning meeting, the Development Team selects a number of Product Backlog Items, which when “Done”, will meet the Sprint Goal. What best describes the Definition of Done?
    1. It specifies what it means for the increment to be complete and releasable.
    2. Ensures transparency
  41. How can the Development Team support a good application architecture?
    1. Constantly working on improving architecture during each sprint
    2. Having guidelines in places which every team member understands and follows
  42. When is the sprint review held
    1. At the end of the Sprint
  43. The Product Owner seeks advice from the Scrum Master on forecasting when the work will be completed for reaching different business goals. How should the Scrum Master react?
    1. Teach the product owner to track the remaining work at least every sprint review
      1. At any point in time, the total work remaining to reach a goal can be summed. The Product Owner tracks this total work remaining at least every Sprint Review. The Product Owner compares this amount with work remaining at previous Sprint Reviews to assess progress toward completing projected work by the desired time for the goal. This information is made transparent to all stakeholders”.
  44. What is the aim of the Definition of Done?
    1. Guides the development team in knowing how many product backlog items it can select for the sprint backlog
    2. Creates a common understanding of what completed work means
    3. Increases transparency
  45. The Development Team has not managed to achieve the Sprint Goal during the Sprint. Which of the following topics can be discussed during the Sprint Retrospective?
    1. Working relationships
    2. Adapting the definition of done
    3. How the team performed in previous sprint
  46. Items on the Sprint Backlog are usually …
    1. Smaller that items in the product backlog
  47. During the Sprint Planning meeting, the Development Team notices that their capacity is smaller than the work selected for the Sprint. What are two possible actions?
    1. Inform the product owner, start the sprint and closely monitor progress toward the sprint goal.
    2. Collaborate with the product owner and remove or change the selected product backlog items
  48. The company is currently implementing a restructuring and cost-cutting plan. In order to reduce costs, part of the Development Team has members spread in different physical locations and different time-zones. For the Daily Scrum,  a remote conferencing system is needed, conference rooms need to be booked and the conference call needs to be started before the Daily Scrum can begin. What should the Scrum Master do?
    1. Let the development team self manage and figure out what needs to be done.
  49. Should team members outside the development team participate in the sprint retrospective?
    1. Yes (Since only team members outside is Scrum master and Product Owner)