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Scrum Master III Assessment

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Our Scrum Master III Assessments


How to pass the Professional Scrum Master III Assessment

Please note that any practice assessments offered on this site are neither created nor endorsed by Scrum.org.

The Professional Scrum Master III (PSM III) assessment is one of the hardest Scrum assessments in the world. There is no way to debate this; fewer than 1500 people have ever passed it. It is designed to validate your deep understanding of how to apply Scrum, its practices and the Scrum Values. It forms part of the Scrum.org trainer validation process and is incredibly challenging to pass. Bearing that in mind, you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t interested in finding out more, so let’s continue.

The PSM III contains 24 questions in 150 minutes. It is a combined essay-based and multiple-choice examination which you can access online in your browser. We recommend that you do not attempt this assessment without scoring 90% on both the PSM I and PSM II. Alongside this, having at least two years practicing as a Scrum Master is vital. All of the questions are presented in English and must be answered in English. The assessment is submitted for grading at the end of the timebox and typically takes 4-6 weeks to receive a result.

Unlike the PSM I and PSM II, there is no equivalent training class that is associated with the PSM III. Why? Well, simply because this assessment is about applying experience and context to scenarios and theory that would vary from individual to individual.

When you purchase an assessment code directly from Scrum.org, it does not expire and you can take it whenever you choose. There is no requirement for this examination to be proctored, nor no requirement for a webcam to record you whilst taking it.

Now, you’re obviously here because you are trying (or considering) to pass the Professional Scrum Master III and we want to provide you with our top tips to improve your chance of success:

  1. Practice questions – Learn by teaching your brain to use its muscle memory. Start by looking here and practicing these questions. They aren’t really representative of the questions in the exam, but that doesn’t matter – it is practice for a reason! Try varying the time restriction, giving yourself shorter and short time-boxes to convey the information. Once you feel good with that, restrict yourself on word count too – the aim is to be precise and concise as fast as possible.
  2. Take one or more of our paid SM III practice question bundles. There is very little content available to enable you not just to practice these questions, but also to have them assessed by a Professional Scrum Trainer who has taken the assessment themselves. Please note that these questions are neither created, nor endorsed by Scrum.org but we feel they are representative questions from the PSM III examination. These are submitted answers and therefore be advised they will typically take 7-10 days to receive a grading.
  3. Engage with the Scrum.org community – This might be a complete game-changer for you. Using the Scrum.org forum and posting a few questions that you need help with will generate a huge amount of support. The community are fantastic. They are willing to critique opinions and offer their understanding really promptly. You might even choose to reach out to a few Professional Scrum Trainers (PSTs) on LinkedIn and you’ll often find they’ll be generous with their time.
  4. Mic-drops – The PSM III contains quite a lot of questions about Scrum theory. Make short, one/two sentence descriptors of all key terms and complementary practices you can think of. The purpose is that you have some very precise starters when a topic comes up in the exam. For example, ‘The DS is an I+A opportunity, run by the Ds every 24h, to inspect the progress on their Sprint Backlog. It makes it more likely that the SG will be met’. It doesn’t contain everything, but the mic-drops you write need to convey all of the key information, not everything you know about a topic.
  5. Scrum glossary – There is a great resource called the Scrum Glossary produced by Scrum.org here. It’s incredibly helpful to understand ‘their’ interpretation of the key terminology.
  6. Road to Mastery – R2M is a series of blog posts by Sjoerd Nijland. It is focused on explaining the Scrum framework in detail. It’s not aiming to be concise, however there are some incredible quotes in there that you can apply in your answers. Best of all, the blog posts are free and can be found here. Yes, it was initially written for the 2017 Scrum Guide, but nearly everything is still applicable and is being updated slowly.
  7. Read Mastering Professional Scrum by Stephanie Ockerman and Simon Reindl. It is concise and clear and will prepare you well. Pay attention to their use of language when explaining core concepts.
  8. Scrum Tapas videos – As part of their community support, Scrum.org Professional Scrum Trainers occasionally produce short videos explaining Scrum. You can find them for free here.
  9. Don’t go it alone – Create a study group to create, complete and review answers together. That last part is important – get someone else to review your answers. Take a big black pen and put a line through everything that doesn’t add anything to the answer. Save all of the time you can by avoiding unnecessary words.
  10. Answer the full question – most questions will have multiple question marks, meaning multiple points you need to make. Practice separating your answer into distinct bullet points or paragraphs to make it easier for the markers to give you credit.
  11. Don’t over-study – Once you feel ready, go for it. It’s very easy for the assessment to become a huge, mental monster that prevents you from even trying it. Remember that Scrum is all about empiricism. Inspect and adapt.

Some of these tips above might resonate with you, and some might not – that’s okay. Everyone learns in different ways. Whenever you feel ready to attempt the assessment, we recommend you follow the link provided in the Scrum.org email that contains the code (there will be a link straight to the assessment). Ensure you have a quiet space, a stable internet connection, a drink and a pen and paper ready. Even though on average you might calculate that you will have 5-7 minutes per question, remember that even within the variety of essay vs. multiple-choice, some of the essay questions are short, and some are long.

The best advice we can give you is ‘don’t talk yourself out of a good, precise answer’ – the more words you use, the more likely you are to bring in ambiguity. Utilise the ‘flag’ tool in the top right to highlight any questions you aren’t sure about because at the end, you can view any questions flagged to return to them quickly. One quick additional piece of advice is to not overthink every question – that is a fast way to waste the assessment timebox. Remember that the questions aren’t designed to ‘trick’, but rather to assess your understanding of the principles behind the question.

Our final piece of advice is to remember that this examination can only assess Professional Scrum as written in the Scrum Guide. The context at your organisation and any ‘realities’ you think might impact your answer should be put to one side, allowing you to provide an answer that is in-keeping with Scrum theory.

We wish you the best of luck with this assessment, and look forward to supporting your journey towards becoming PSM III accredited however we can. If you have any additional needs with respect to taking online assessments, we recommend you contact [email protected] regarding your circumstances so that they can examine your individual case and make adjustments accordingly.

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