The Enriching Journey in Attaining Exin Agile Scrum Master Certification
65% passing mark sounds like an easy examination? Not for Exin Agile Scrum Master certification. It requires a lot of my efforts to score 88% for the examination (Phew!). When I first heard about Scrum three years ago, I was intrigued by its principles that thrive in software development uncertainty. Or perhaps in product development as well. Scrum is a form of the quality management method that aims to create continuous value for customers. Scrum is a way forward with a 42% project success rate, compared to traditional methods such as the Waterfall model, with 13% (Mersino, 2021). Considering my career aspiration in the digital transformation space and how Scrum plays a role in this space, I decided to get myself certified as a Scrum Master.
The certification examination was not an easy one. The examination questions were tricky as you need to analyse the context of the questions before you can attempt to answer them. Hence, I hope that my journey in achieving the Exin Agile Scrum Master certification can help you to prepare for your examination.
The typical approach is to do research of all the Scrum certifying organizations and evaluate which would be better. You can read up an article here to see the different types of Scrum certifications. As I was enrolled in Simplilearn’s business analysis master program, and Exin Agile Scrum Master is one of the courses, I went ahead with Exin, although it is possible that I can get certified with Scrum.org’s PSM series. Some of the considerations I had was the difficulty, examination integrity, and examination fees. Exin was difficult enough to ensure that examinees know Scrum well. Exin requires authentication and scanning of your room and desk before taking the online examination. Lastly, the examination fees are more affordable, compared to similar certifications.
Prepare towards the Battle of Certification
Thorough preparation is necessary, especially for those who have no or limited working experience in Scrum. Training is one of the requirements for Exin Agile Scrum Master certification. Even for people with experience, they may not be practising the “true” Scrum. I attended my training with Simplilearn, which was a 20 training hours course. The beauty of the Simplilearn Scrum training is the practical exposure of using Scrum tools such as Jira. The training was concluded with a project before being issued with the training certification, which is needed as training proof for Exin Agile Scrum Master certification.
As part of the preparation, it is essential to read the “EXIN Handbook for Scrum Masters & Product Owners”. It is free to download here. The handbook comprises all the topics that will be tested in the certification examination such as adopting agile, Scrum basics, and managing large Scrum projects. While the training provided most of the key concepts to Scrum, the handbook will deep dive into the concepts to enhance your Scrum understanding. So, please read the 200 pages handbook!
Lastly, the practice papers help to build confidence for the examination. For Simplilearn, they had five sets of practice papers that you can practice. In addition, Exin has sample questions that you can practice too. The Exin sample paper interface is like the actual certification examination. Hence, it is good to familiarize the interface. I did all the practice questions that were available, and it enhanced my confidence to tackle the real examination. The average score for all my practice papers was 80%, which I felt was a good benchmark to complete my preparation and go for the real examination.
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay
Time for Battle of Certification
After the purchase of the certification examination, the online examination can be taken at any time. But there is an expiry of 3 weeks. Therefore, the examination should only be purchased once you are well-prepared. Before taking the examination, a location should be chosen that is free from distraction. The examination required a working camera to monitor examination. The identification document will be photographed, and a scan of the room and desk will be done to ensure there is no reading material. This administration for the examination takes about 30 minutes of my time.
With 90 minutes for 40 questions, it is not a lot of time. The questions are tricky, except for the few straightforward theoretical questions. It is crucial that you read the questions carefully and understand the context of the questions before answering. There are instances where more than one answers seem plausible, then, re-read the question is a must. Do not spend more than one minute on each question. If a question takes more than a minute, you can flag the question and move on, and come back to it later. To ensure all questions are answered correctly, time should be catered to check through the answers. I changed my answers to some of the questions when I re-read the questions again at this stage.
After you submitted all your answers, the examination results will be reviewed immediately, together with a Coach Report that indicates the performance for each area. It takes Exin a couple of days to verify the recording of the examination. Once that is verified, the training certification can be submitted for validation before the EXIN Agile Scrum Master certification is officially issued.
After going through some of the forums, EXIN Agile Scrum Master is not an easy examination to pass even for people with Scrum experience. It is important to understand your motivation for taking a Scrum Master certification. This motivation will help to set your determination to thoroughly prepare for the examination. Personally, I find the entire journey was rewarding as I have a much better understanding of Scrum and its success factors. The passing of the examination is a good testament to my Scrum knowledge and look forward to creating more value in my work using the new knowledge.
Mersino, A. (2021, November 1). Why Agile is Better than Waterfall (Based on Standish Group Chaos Report 2020). Retrieved from Vitality Chicago: https://vitalitychicago.com/blog/agile-projects-are-more-successful-traditional-projects/