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How to Ace Your First Product Owner (PSPO) Certification Exam

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Getting the Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) cert is no doubt, a milestone!

 

 

You might have heard it is not easy though. 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.

 

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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

blog icons_ideal pace-06Your 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!
 
 

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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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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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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 .

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​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!

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