How to Prepare for Your First Product Owner (PSPO) Certification Exam - why innovation!

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How to Prepare for Your First Product Owner (PSPO) Certification Exam - why innovation!

Slava Moskalenko 3 min
How to prepare for your 1st Product Owner (PSPO I) Certificate exam, by Slava Moskalenko, Senior Consultant at why innovation!
How to prepare for your first Product Owner (PSPO I) Certification exam
If you plan to get the Professional Scrum Product Owner certification from scrum.org, passing the PSPO I assessment is no doubt a key milestone. You might have heard it is not easy. It is also not cheap! Having invested in 200USD, gosh you just want to get over it!

Having been an PSPO trainer for over 10 years, I have prepared for you five essential tips to nail the exam, 
on the way to obtain your first Professional Scrum Product Owner certification from scrum.org. But first, do please spend 15min on testing yourself with Product Owner Open – a simpler version of the PSPO I assessment. 

Ready? Now let's begin.
TIP 1. Assessment Strategy

Timing is the most difficult part of the real assessment. There’re only 60 minutes to answer 80 questions, 45 seconds per question. During the exam session you can use internet and google, but you will be loosing your time. Some people spend the first 30 minutes to answer only 30% of questions and then have to rush to finish on time. This is a very lousy strategy. The elements of your winning strategy are:

Swift pace

Your pace should be 30 second per question. When you see simple question, go straight to it and don’t spend too much energy to do double or triple check. Follow your intuition, best knowledge and common sense for the more difficult questions, choose the best options for your taste. Use paper and pen to quickly note the number of difficult questions for further review. Following this strategy, you should complete first iteration in just 40 minutes and save 20 minutes to revisit the more difficult questions. But do not leave questions without answer as if you don’t have time to come back on it.

Consistency   

Some questions can be similar. Make sure you have perfect consistency in your answers.

Example of inconsistency:
Example of inconsistency | PSPO certification | why innovation!
Example of better consistency:
Example of better consistency | PSPO certification | why innovation!
TIP 2. Memorise the Scrum Guide

On top of the assessment strategy, I’d now like us work on how to best implement the strategy. Let’s face challenge #1 – how to confidently achieve an average of 30 seconds per question? The answer is, if you memorize what is covered in Scrum Guide, you can ace at least 60%-70% of all questions.

Here’s an example of the question related to the Scrum Guide. If you know the Scrum Guide well enough, then answering this type of question should not take more than 10-20 seconds.
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TIP 3. Scrum Rules vs Recommendations

Some questions will test your understanding of what is a “must have” and what is recommended in Scrum. Therefore, you need to highlight in the Scrum Guide some strong and soft statements.
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Without spotting these subtleties, you can be easily led into “should vs could” trap:
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TIP 4. Scrum Key Words

There will be a bunch of lengthy questions. Best strategy to tackle this is to quickly spot the key words. Unlike the traditional project management approach, the Scrum framework makes delivery process highly adaptable. Therefore, more generic answer, reinforcing Scrum principle, is more suitable.

Here is the list of the scrum specific key words
  • Empirical control: transparency, inspection, adaptation, forecast
  • Value-driven development: incremental, iterative, frequent releases
  • Lean mindset: test, validated learning, experiment, feedback, user, market
  • Self-organization: collaboration
  • Multiple teams: integration, dependency management

Look at the different answers, decide which one reflects best the nature of Scrum .

TIP 5. Scrum Fluency

​Another good way to achieve better performance in the exam is to practice the open assessments many times until you consistently reach 100% in less than 5 minutes. In the real exam you will get some questions from the open assessments. Here is a list of relevant open assessments:

I hope you all get excellent results in your certification exam! May the Scrum be with you!
About the Author
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Slava is a Professional Scrum Trainer, Agile Coach, Change Agent, Speaker; and Evangelist of Agile Culture with 10+ years experience with Scrum and Agile and 15+ years of experience in IT. He is currently working as the Senior Consultant and Enterprise Agile Coach at why innovation!, a professional consultancy specialised in business agility and innovation management. 

​Check out some of other Slava's publications here.
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