This article helps you to get ready for the Professional Scrum Master I certification from

Free resources from have many free resources in its website that can help you to learn Scrum and also to have a bigger chance of succeeding at their certifications. Let’s review them:

The Scrum Guide

The Scrum Guide is the official definition of Scrum, written by their inventors Ken Schwaber and Jeff Shuterland. It puzzles me that many attendees to my courses have not read it, because it is so useful to understand correctly the basics of this framework. 

This Guide introduces the theory of Scrum and the definition of its components and rules. It is critical to read it carefully, and more than one time if possible. Some of the PSM I assessment questions can be directly answered by reading the Scrum Guide.

What is not explicitly written on the Guide, is something you should experiment in your context. Be aware of the false obligations in Scrum, because it’s a fairly flexible and non prescriptive framework.

This Guide also avoids popular myths and misunderstandings about Scrum. Some examples are:

  • The Product Owner should validate each item before its considered «Done».
  • The Product Backlog Items are always «User Stories».

Open Assessments has published Open Assessments for most of the certifications. They allow to try for free a subset of the questions from the certification assessments. They are short and the questions are sampled from a small list, so you can try several times until you learn all the questions. It is important to check carefully the answers to learn deeply from your mistakes. Although it’s quick to try all the assessments, the most important ones for the PSM I assessment are:

  • Scrum Open: contains generic questions about Scrum, specially about the framework (roles, artifacts, events and rules). I recommend to do it until you get 100% consistently.
  • Product Owner Open and Nexus Open: while some of the questions are specific for the Product Owner role or Scaling Scrum contexts, some others may inspire you the PSM I exam.

Our exam simulators

ITNOVE has developed several free exam simulators, that are closer to the real exams than the’s Open Assessments. The welcome pages are in Spanish, but the exams are fully in English.

Scrum Master Learning Path has developer a Learning Path for Scrum Masters which contains many interesting resources, mainly blog posts, classified by the competences taxonomy that also uses in the exams.

When you take one of the Professional Scrum assessments, you will receive an email with the score broken down according to this taxonomy. You can then review the areas with the lowest scores and access the specific content for those areas with the links available on the email.

Forums website contains a forum in which you can ask your questions or check other answers provided by Scrum experts. Use it!

Scrum Glossary

The Scrum terms are well defined in the Scrum Glossary. Those definitions could help you to solve some ambiguities or misunderstanding that arouse while reading the Scrum Guide.


Those books could help you with the exam:

  • Scrum Pocket Guide by Gunther Verheyen. This book is quick to read and in my opinion is the best to explain very precisely the Scrum Framework.
  • Scrum Primer: this free guide contains an extension to the Scrum Guide in 20 pages.
  • Mastering Professional Scrum: this book, written by two Professional Scrum Trainers, helps to understand how to make Scrum work in real organizations. It is not strictly going to answer your exam questions, but can help you to understand the toughest ones.

Doing the exam

These are some tips I took while doing more than 25 assessments:

  • Be calm, there is enough time!: the PSM I has 80 questions to be answered in 60 minutes. It seems too much, but if you practice with the Open Assessment and you know well the keywords, it should be enough.
  • Use the «bookmark» feature: my advice is to answer any question, even if seems hard, in less than one minute. You can use the bookmark feature and carry on. If you follow this guideline, you will typically have left around 10 minutes to review you bookmarked questions. And then, you will probably stick to the original answers, so… you didn’t need to dedicate more time to answer!
  • Have a tab in your browser with the Scrum Guide and the Scrum Glossary: if you are wondering how to answer one question, a quick visit to those pages may help to review a concept.
  • Read carefully the questions! Reading too fast a question may make you answer it wrong!
  • Beware of the false obligations: terms such as «must», «may» o «best choice» may imply that a concrete implementation of the Scrum Framework is the only possible. Scrum is a flexible framework, be aware of the importance of the context.

And good luck

If you are still wondering about the exam, reach me through the social media and I will help you:

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Alex Ballarin

Alex Ballarin es Professional Scrum Master y Business Agility Coach. Además de este blog, publica contenido frecuentemente en las redes sociales

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