In January 2020, I became one of over seven hundreds PSM III holders in the world with a very high score of 95.9%. I had a post on Linkedin, many people cheered me on the achievement and asked me for sharing experience and learning materials. I had a post on scrum.org to share my PSM III journey that is really about my own experience rather than a guide or recommendation for the PSM III.
(1) Set a correct objective
I believe if you make enough effort you can get anything done including passing the PSM III exam. However, to be honest I only think about PSM III when I really love and want to master my Scrum knowledge.
(2) Read a lot
Beside Scrum Guide, I studied a lot from excellent books and articles. I am grateful to learn from books of Ken Schwaber, Jeff Sutherland, Mike Cohn, Gunther Verheyen; posts by Barry Overeem, Christiaan Verwijs, Ian Mitchell, Chris Belknap & other scrum.org PSTs; many blogs & articles from Scrum.org & other websites like medium.com.
(3) Build learning in my daily work
I didn’t put any pressure on me to have PSM III quickly in a few months. My role is to support the company, teams, leaders, and developers understand Agile mindset, Scrum framework, how to effectively work in Scrum teams. So, I read a lot but do this on purpose. My daily work relates to internal coaching & training, and this is my advantage as I can take time to investigate every concept, practices deeply before sharing & practicing with others. I also create a file to store all links to good articles, blogs so that I can revisit later.
(4) Have a good preparation with level 1, level 2 scrum.org certificates
Before taking the PSM III exam, I prepared myself with other certificates at level 1 and level 2 such as PSM I, PSM II, PSPO I, SPS including the PSM II class training with the scrum.org PST. A class training 2 years ago helped me fill the gaps between knowledge I have from books and what defined by Scrum, clear the myths, and know what knowledge domains Scrum focus on. Other certificates don’t directly help me pass the PSM III exam, but I felt inspired to keep going on the PSM III journey.
(5) Try the best and learn from failure
The PSM III will evaluate your Scrum knowledge in 120 minutes with 34 questions which most of them are essay questions. I think PSM III is not only difficult at the minimum score of 85% like other Scrum.org certificate, but also at the time pressure. I can do a search with SPS or PSM II but I even didn’t have a spare second to think with PSM III. Try the best but it’s normal if you don’t get enough the minimum score of 85%. I failed but also learn a lot from feedback.
Good luck to your Scrum learning journey. If you need any support from me, I am willing to share my experience!
Khiem Huynh, Agile Coach | PMI-ACP | PSM III
For more about Scrum & Agile, check out my videos on YouTube channel Agile Education