Taking the Certified ScrumMaster® exam (also called the CSM exam) is an important milestone for many Scrum practitioners. They have just completed their CSM training and are energized to complete that last step in the process, which officially marks their entry into the professional Scrum community.
Because the learners have invested time and energy in the class, it is natural that many of them want to do well on the exam. As a result, many Certified Scrum Trainers® (CSTs) dedicate at least ten to fifteen minutes to explain the mechanics of the CSM exam — eligibility, duration, number of questions as well as some helpful hints on how to prepare. For many learners, a brief summary is often enough. For others, they want more and ask if there is a CSM practice exam.
For many years, my response to any inquiries about a practice exam was along the lines of, “Don’t worry…you’ll do fine. This course has more than adequately prepared you.” However, my position changed one day when I finally listened to the Product Owner’s voice in my head that was trying to tell me, “If people are asking this question, that suggests there is an unmet market need. You should investigate this.”
And like a good Product Owner, I began a cycle of product discovery by investigating what is available in the market today. First off, the Scrum Alliance does not offer a practice exam. OK… a perfectly legitimate product management decision. However, this opening has allowed industry providers to fill the gap with their own CSM practice exams and what I found was severely lacking.
In fact, the current state of CSM practice exams was so poor that a group of CSTs at Applied Frameworks decided to build our own test to fix the various deficiencies we discovered. These are the specific factors which motivated us to create our practice exam:
Why We Created Our Own CSM Exam
- Lack of Scrum knowledge: the practice tests out there today were created by people OUTSIDE of the Scrum Alliance — people who were never validated as experts in Scrum are writing practice exams supposedly testing your Scrum knowledge. Our practice exam was created by experienced CSTs who have real-world experience using Scrum.
- Out-of-date content: As a member of the Scrum Alliance design team who helped create and shape the current set of learning objectives for the CSM exam, I have the most up-to-date information on the CSM learning objectives. At the time of my research, the existing practice tests were based on the 2016 version of the Scrum Guide; two versions behind the current 2020 version of the Scrum Guide! Our practice exam is based on the most recent learning objectives and reference the correct documentation, Scrum Foundations and Certified ScrumMaster.
- Not a learning experience: Lastly, as a result of nearly five years of experience building and supporting online, on-demand advanced Scrum certification programs, I know a thing or two about how to develop an online assessment that is also a learning experience. Current practice tests only provide a pass/fail score. In addition to a pass/fail score, our practice exam provides cogent explanations supporting the correct answers, reinforcing your Scrum knowledge.
How We Prepared the Test
To make the practice test realistic, we carefully replicated the topics that were covered in the official test administered by the Scrum Alliance as well as replicating the distribution of those topics and the number of attempts. We made three notable modifications to our practice test to ensure it would be a good use of your time in addition to being a good learning experience:
- There are only twenty-five questions compared to the official CSM exam which has fifty questions.
- Learners have thirty minutes to complete the practice test compared to an hour for the official CSM exam.
- We offer explanations for both correct and incorrect answers whereas the official CSM exam only tells you if you answered a question correctly or incorrectly.
A Sample Test Question
Below is a sample question to give you a sense of what we have created:
Which of the following statements about the Scrum framework is true?
- Scrum works well for simple conditions with obvious solutions.
- Scrum is a framework that is purposefully incomplete.
- Scrum allows practitioners to adapt the rules of the framework based on the specific needs of their context.
- Scrum is a process cookbook that provides detailed instructions on what to do in every possible scenario.
Correct answer: 2.
Explanation: Scrum is a lightweight framework that helps people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems. Scrum is not a process, technique or definitive project management method. Rather, it is a framework within which you can employ various processes and techniques so that you can evaluate the relative efficacy of your management and day-to-day work techniques with the goal of continuous improvement. The Scrum framework is immutable. While implementing only parts of Scrum is possible, the result is not Scrum. Changing the core design or ideas of Scrum, leaving out elements, or not following the rules of Scrum, covers up problems and limits the benefits of Scrum, potentially even rendering it useless.
Are you ready to take the Applied Frameworks Certified ScrumMaster practice exam?