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Professional Scrum Developer: How to pass it?

by Jakub Dąbrowski

Professional Scrum Developer: How to pass it?

Scrum. This mythical thing I’m sure you’ve at least heard about. There is also a pretty fair chance that you already know that Scrum is a framework for developing and delivering all sorts of products. That it has events, roles, values, and artifacts. If you don’t, you definitely should. If you do, you probably don’t. Trust me, if you’re about to take a PSD certification you’ll find out soon enough.

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Choose wisely

There are three main Scrum certificates — Professional Scrum Master, Professional Scrum Product Owner, and Professional Scrum Developer. It might be a little tricky when choosing the right one for yourself. One might wonder why even bother taking any other exam when you can just go with a Scrum Master title? The bottom line is that PSD or PSPO is not worse than PSM. Each has its own area of expertise and each is equally valuable. Developer’s exam focuses not only on Scrum’s theory but also requires strictly development-related knowledge like Test-Driven Development and Continuous Integration. So, if you’re a developer and you’re not planning to be a Scrum Master anytime soon, taking a PSD exam is more recommended. It will give you the skills to work efficiently as a professional in a Scrum-led project.

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First and probably the most important rule is: STICK TO THE SCRUM GUIDE. There is no way around it. The Guide is short enough to get to know it in just a few readings, but you will probably need more than that to truly remember every detail. I would also recommend reading it in your native language at least once to make sure everything is clear. Also, don’t get me wrong — there are tons of different sources out there. Most of them are free and good. Reading them might be profitable as far as you can relate to every information you read to the Scrum Guide content.

PSD also requires knowledge that is specific to the developers’ world. That includes:

  • Writing clean code

  • Automated tests

  • Test-Driven Development

  • Continuous Integration

If you have any doubts about any of those subjects, I recommend filling all gaps before taking an exam.

Later, after the reading is done, you should proceed to practice. There are two online preparation tests I’ve been doing. First is the official Open Assessment. It contains solely legitimate questions that will most likely appear in the exact form on the exam. The second option is the Scrum Quiz provided by Mikhail Lapshin that covers the most important aspects of Scrum theory. When to know you’re ready? I had a simple rule. If you pass the official test with a 100% score five times in a row, then you most likely know enough to pass the exam. Take your time — mastering those quizzes will definitely pay you back.

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The exam itself

The idea of the exam is rather simple. First, you create an account at Then you need to buy a password key for the PSD certificate. The cost, as of August 2018, is $200. When you’re ready you enter the password and the exam begins. There are 80 multiple-choice and true/false questions. Time-box is 60 minutes. You’ll need at least 85% to pass the exam which gives at least 68 positive answers. You get the result instantly after finishing the exam.

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Step by step preparations to PSD Certificate exam

The good thing about the exam is that you can take it wherever and whenever you please. Thanks to that you can (and definitely should) make certain preparations. First of all, have a Scrum Guide by your side at all times. Best if it’s printed so you can quickly look-up things you’re not sure of.

Secondly, you might be tempted to google things as nobody is watching you — it’s not an entirely bad idea but you must know that almost always you won’t find exact answers to exact questions, and looking for others will be a waste of your precious time.

The system gives you a great feature that lets you mark questions you would like to come back later. Use it. Mark questions you’re don’t know an answer to and leave them for the end. The exam gives you less than 1 minute per answer so time is essential here.

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What is most important in passing the PSD certification exam is that you are familiar with the type of questions you will be asked. There is a certain idea behind them which in short sounds like “Scrum is the best. It will cure all your problems and make your life a paradise.”. Seriously, that’s the key. Also, there won’t be too much time for contemplation so make sure you buckle down to preparations. Mostly to the official Open-Assessment as you will tackle the same questions during the exam. Lastly, don’t worry! The exam is fairly simple so you’ll be just fine! 🙂


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