Some Tips For Scoring Well On The Certified Scrum Master exam

Certified Scrum Master

The Certified Scrum Master certification requires that one take and clear the Certified Scrum Master examination (CSM examination). It is not an easy exam which can be seen from its failure rate which is  50%. This means that half of the people who take the CSM certification exam fail to clear it. So it is advisable that one takes the proper amount of time and make a preparation strategy for the CSM examination if they aspire to become a Certified Scrum Master.

What are the eligibility requirements for the CSM examination?

Scrum Alliance requires that one be present for and attend a 2 day workshop which counts as the CSM certification training. One is required to be present in person and the workshop is not available online. The instructor of the workshop will notify Scrum Alliance that an individual was present for the workshop and participated in it fully.

What is the cost of the CSM examination?

The CSM examination has a cost of $50. Normally, this CSM examination cost is included along with the cost of the 2 day workshop or the Certified Scrum Master certification training.

What is the CSM examination format?

There are 50 multiple choice questions in the CSM certification exam. The passing score of the exam is 74%. This means that the candidate has to give the correct answer to 37 or more questions. The duration of the exam is only 1 hour or 60 minutes. So one can see that there will be less than a minute to answer each question in the exam. This is one of the reasons why the exam is so difficult and candidates often find that they aren’t able to think for an adequate amount of time before answering each question.

The results of the examination are given to the candidates immediately after they finish taking the test.

What is the syllabus of the test?

The syllabus of the test can be found in the current edition of the Scrum guide. All the questions of the CSM examination are based on the latest Scrum learning objectives released by the Scrum Alliance.

Is the CSM examination an open book test or a closed book test?

The CSM examination is an open book test.

How much time do I have to take the CSM examination?

The candidate will receive an email with a link to the online CSM examination within 48 hours of completing the 2 day workshop. They may receive the email on the same day on which they complete the workshop too. From that point they have a total of 90 days to take the CSM examination through the link emailed to them. If they have not taken the exam after 90 days, they will have to register for the 2 day workshop again.

How many times can I take the CSM examination?

If a candidate does not pass the CSM examination on their first attempt they are given a second attempt. They are also informed about which questions they answered incorrectly. They have a total of 90 days from completing the workshop in which they can appear for the examination a second time. If the 90 day time period elapses they have to pay a fee of $25 to take the exam.

What comes next after passing the CSM examination?

After a candidate has successfully cleared the CSM examination, they should visit to create a profile and sign their acceptance of the Scrum Alliance licensing agreement. After accepting the license one should download the certificate which is available as a PDF file.

Tips for clearing the CSM examination –

1. Go through the last sentence of the question first.

The question is usually posed in the last sentence. So if one has already read the last sentence they will know what the main question is and will look for the corresponding answer in the paragraph even when they read it for the first time. They will also be able to skip the information in the paragraph which is not relevant to the question, thus saving time.

2. Think of the answer to the question before looking at the choices.

The multiple choices are often designed to be confusingly similar to each other which is tricky for the candidate. If they already know the correct answer they will not be swayed by the incorrect choices.

3. Use the process of elimination on the choices.

Some answers are very blatantly wrong. If one eliminates them they will be left with fewer choices to consider and their likelihood of selecting the right answer will increase.

4. Be wary of choices with the words all, always, none, and never.

Such choices are usually there to pass under the candidate’s guard unobserved. There are very few cases in the CSM examination where these choices are the correct answer.

5. Revise all your answers before clicking submit.

Many times when we take a look at a question a second time some vital piece of information which we missed the first time leaps out at us. So it is important to revise all our answers at least once and make changes where appropriate.

6. Make sure that you choose the right class and instructor.

The trainer must be a Certified Scrum Trainer. They should be fully qualified to teach the Scrum subjects and should have a lot of experience from working in the industry. The curriculum of the class should be completely up to date and should cover the topics given in the current edition of the Scrum guide comprehensively. The right CSM certification training is very important for clearing the CSM examination successfully.

7. Take as many sample exams as possible.

It will give the candidate confidence about facing the actual CSM examination and examination environment. It will also prepare him to analyze and answer questions in a limited time. It might even turn out that the sample examinations that the candidate appeared for were more difficult than the actual CSM examination. Any good online CSM certification training always provides many comprehensive sample tests.

8. Use the ‘flag for review’ feature in the actual exam.

This is a point many candidates forget. They do not have to answer any question right then and there before moving on. They can skip answering the question and flag it for review so that they can come back to it later when they have answered other questions. So if the candidate is not sure about what the answer to a question is, they can skip it for the time being instead of choosing an incorrect choice in a hurry.

9. Go through the official course material which Scrum Alliance provides. The CSM exam is based on the most current edition of the Scrum guide, which contains all the materials needed for the CSM exam, including the Scrum learning objectives.10. Know all the Scrum roles by heart. There are three main Scrum roles – Scrum Master, Product Owner, and development team member. They have different responsibilities and carry out different tasks in a Scrum team. Questions from Scrum roles are asked very often in the CSM examination.