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I recently took the EXIN Agile Scrum Master exam (the online proctored version) and did not pass it (43% score). Prior to taking it, I took the Agile Scrum Master training available through Courses P
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I recently took the EXIN Agile Scrum Master exam (the online proctored version) and did not pass it (43% score). Prior to taking it, I took the Agile Scrum Master training available through Courses Platform (aka Simplilearn). I thought I had enough knowledge and training to pass the test, but it turns out I did not. I also took the Scrum Assessment at scrum.org, but it's not nearly as difficult as the EXIN exam and does not cover the same material. I will therefore have to take the exam again. Can anyone out there recommend any books (Amazon?) or other reading material that I can find to prepare for the retake? Also, any other certification providers I should look into besides EXIN? Thank you!
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Andrew, good on you for pursuing the ASM, it isn't an easy one! It goes beyond the standard knowledge based certs (Bloom 1 & 2) and requires Applying and Analyzing the material (Bloom 3 & 4).
If you haven't already downloaded a copy, check the exam preparation guide (https://www.exin.com/certifications/exin-agile-scrum-master-exam)
It lists the exact texts selected by EXIN that cover the material in the ASM exam.

Cohn, Mike "Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum"
Cohn, Mike "Agile Estimating and Planning"
Schwaber, Ken & Sutherland, Jeff "The Scrum Guide™ -The definitive guide to Scrum: The Rules of the Game"
Measey, Peter "Agile and ITIL and how they integrate"
Schwaber, Ken "Agile Project Management with Scrum (Developer Best Practices)"

Links to download/purchase the texts is also included in the preparation guide.

Unfortunately, there is no easy route to completing this one, the ASM is the oldest (in the market) and hardest Agile Scrum exam I've ever attempted.
Still preparing for my retake as well.
If your goal is just completing any Agile or Scrum cert, you may consider:
Agile Project Management Fundamentals from msicertified.com
PSM I from scrum.org

Both of these are Bloom 1 & 2 level questions and can be knocked out over a weekend while you wait for the laundry to dry.

However, if your sights are set on the ASM or something equivalent, then you are squarely in the territory of the PMI-ACP or PSMI III. With the ASM being the undisputed lion of the pack in the ICT field, and the PMI-ACP the young upstart. The PSM III is still a cub but does have sharp teeth.
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Conrad, thanks so much for your advice and recommendations. I have "The Scrum Guide" by Schwaber and Sutherland. Do you know any thing about either of these books or could you recommend one over the other?

Cohn, Mike Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum Pearson Education (2009) http://www.amazon.com/Succeeding-Agile-Sof...g/dp/0321579364
-or-
Cohn, Mike Agile Estimating and Planning Prentice Hall (2005) http://www.amazon.com/Agile-Estimating-Pla...n/dp/0131479415

Thanks!
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For the ASM, I actually recommend you review both books from Mike Cohn.
"Agile Estimating and Planning" - covers almost the entirety of Estimating, Planning, Monitoring and Control section of the exam.
Where as "Succeeding with Agile" covers everything else in the exam - Agile thinking, Complex projects, Scrum roles and Agile adoption. If you only had enough time to review a single text before your next retake, focusing on "Succeeding with Agile" would cover the most ground of the exam.
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Hi Andrew, Im in the same boat. The material at Simplilearn is very thin, and support from Simplilearn is pretty poor. Scoring high on their tests isnt going to prepare you at all. I saw a few people just like yourself complain and i decided to postpone the exam. There is the Preparation Guide - https://www.exin.com/certifications/exin-agile-scrum-master-exam, On page 13 and 14 there is a detailed table showing the list of topics which the chapters in the books as Conrad implied. The Mike Cohn books are easy to find online and download with a few google searches. The good thing about the Mike Cohn books is that they are easy to read. But i think the exam questions are convoluted and i suspect that it is written poorly (English). What did you think about the Exam? Was the English, framing of the questions reasonable? Which areas you think SImplilearn neglected and came? I think Exin integrates Agile/Scrum with other areas they specialize in like DevOps and ITIL, and this isnt covered too well in any of the referenced material by Exin. I think its important and one of the gaps why the Exin exam is difficult. I too am afraid and wish there was a study group specifically for Exin. Feel free to reply.
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2 replies by Andrew Watson and Osuozah Eweniwe
Mar 28, 2019 11:19 AM
Andrew Watson
...
William....Sorry for the delay replying....thanks for your input and comments. Yes, I find the Simplilearn training to be pretty high-level and not detailed enough. I'm not sure their sample preparatory exams are that good. The EXIM exam itself focuses a lot on understanding the overall Agile methodology rather than just Scrum, so that was surprising and obviously why my score was low. I didn't have any problem with the wording of the questions or the grammar or English language. Thanks for endorsing the Cohn books...I might check those out next.
May 18, 2019 7:33 AM
Osuozah Eweniwe
...
Talking about study group, can't we start one.
I just signed up for the ASM course on Simplilearn.
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Mar 23, 2019 3:03 AM
Replying to William Ganness
...
Hi Andrew, Im in the same boat. The material at Simplilearn is very thin, and support from Simplilearn is pretty poor. Scoring high on their tests isnt going to prepare you at all. I saw a few people just like yourself complain and i decided to postpone the exam. There is the Preparation Guide - https://www.exin.com/certifications/exin-agile-scrum-master-exam, On page 13 and 14 there is a detailed table showing the list of topics which the chapters in the books as Conrad implied. The Mike Cohn books are easy to find online and download with a few google searches. The good thing about the Mike Cohn books is that they are easy to read. But i think the exam questions are convoluted and i suspect that it is written poorly (English). What did you think about the Exam? Was the English, framing of the questions reasonable? Which areas you think SImplilearn neglected and came? I think Exin integrates Agile/Scrum with other areas they specialize in like DevOps and ITIL, and this isnt covered too well in any of the referenced material by Exin. I think its important and one of the gaps why the Exin exam is difficult. I too am afraid and wish there was a study group specifically for Exin. Feel free to reply.
William....Sorry for the delay replying....thanks for your input and comments. Yes, I find the Simplilearn training to be pretty high-level and not detailed enough. I'm not sure their sample preparatory exams are that good. The EXIM exam itself focuses a lot on understanding the overall Agile methodology rather than just Scrum, so that was surprising and obviously why my score was low. I didn't have any problem with the wording of the questions or the grammar or English language. Thanks for endorsing the Cohn books...I might check those out next.
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I took the EXIN ASM exam when it was first offered and it is a challenging exam. I've been working the Agile space since 2000 and teach Agile courses and only received a 68% so I wouldnt be discouraged with your result. One challenge the exam presents is that it is covers a wider range of topics that what you would find with a Certified Scrum Master or Professional Scrum Master certification. Spending sometime with the Mike Cohn references is a good idea as well as browsing sites like the Scaled Agile Framework will help. I'm glad to hear that the questions were well worded, the first version of the exam had some problems in that area (there were many grammatical errors and alot of ambiguity in the questions).

I still think the best Agile certification and exam on the market is the PMI-ACP.

BTW.. to read more about my experience with the EXIN ASM exam you can read this review (https://it.toolbox.com/blogs/bryancampbell...cation-050216).
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2 replies by Juan Carlos Flores Luna and William Ganness
Apr 04, 2019 11:28 PM
William Ganness
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Hi Brian,

I read your article and the question example you provided is a good illustration of the language problem, which is unfair to students. That question however is related to this chart that many learning providers use to illustrate the how demand for the roles of PO vs SM changes over time either in the organization or for a project. I guess the reasoning is that as new teams become more proficient they will need less coaching of the process and more time with the PO.

http://tinypic.com/r/33jicuh/9
Apr 05, 2019 12:11 PM
Juan Carlos Flores Luna
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Hi Bryan, I also read your blog. And I think if questions are just like the one you posted, they are more than anything a stone in the path and do not contribute to real life. For instance, I have an Agile project running these days and will last 6 months. So the PO´s time demands on the project will be zero after 6 months. No project, no PO time needed in the project. Maybe the question has a preamble. But, I think that the real value of such certification as you noted before is to have a kind of full stack SM.
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Bryan...sorry for the delay in replying. Thanks for your commentary! I've been retaking the EXIN practice tests and my scores are improving into the high 80's, so I think I'm close to being ready to take the actual certification test again. If needed, it looks like the next step for me is the Cohn books, so thanks for recommending them.
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1 reply by William Ganness
Apr 04, 2019 11:18 PM
William Ganness
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Hi Andrew thanks for replying. You say you are using practice tests? Where are you getting them from? I would like to know if they are close if you have that info. Maybe i can check them out. I was initially signed up to write the ASM and i chickened out. I plan to take the PSM and shortly after the PSPO, i have a few exam sims and im scoring 95 to 100 so ill take the first exam shortly. But i think i want to go back and do the ASM too as i was half way there. Thanks.
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Apr 04, 2019 3:30 PM
Replying to Andrew Watson
...
Bryan...sorry for the delay in replying. Thanks for your commentary! I've been retaking the EXIN practice tests and my scores are improving into the high 80's, so I think I'm close to being ready to take the actual certification test again. If needed, it looks like the next step for me is the Cohn books, so thanks for recommending them.
Hi Andrew thanks for replying. You say you are using practice tests? Where are you getting them from? I would like to know if they are close if you have that info. Maybe i can check them out. I was initially signed up to write the ASM and i chickened out. I plan to take the PSM and shortly after the PSPO, i have a few exam sims and im scoring 95 to 100 so ill take the first exam shortly. But i think i want to go back and do the ASM too as i was half way there. Thanks.
...
1 reply by Andrew Watson
Apr 07, 2019 4:31 PM
Andrew Watson
...
William:

The practice tests are available through Simplilearn, which works in partnership with Courses Platform (https://coursesplatform.com/). You can only get access to these practice tests if you purchase the Scrum Master Certification training through Courses Platform. If you purchase the training, you get 4 practice tests, each one of which you can take up to 3 times to pass. 40 questions each with a 90 minute time limit; 65% minimum passing score. I've now passed all four of the practice tests with scores of 87.5% or higher, so I'm taking the EXIN SM Cert test again this week.
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Apr 01, 2019 11:34 AM
Replying to Bryan Campbell
...
I took the EXIN ASM exam when it was first offered and it is a challenging exam. I've been working the Agile space since 2000 and teach Agile courses and only received a 68% so I wouldnt be discouraged with your result. One challenge the exam presents is that it is covers a wider range of topics that what you would find with a Certified Scrum Master or Professional Scrum Master certification. Spending sometime with the Mike Cohn references is a good idea as well as browsing sites like the Scaled Agile Framework will help. I'm glad to hear that the questions were well worded, the first version of the exam had some problems in that area (there were many grammatical errors and alot of ambiguity in the questions).

I still think the best Agile certification and exam on the market is the PMI-ACP.

BTW.. to read more about my experience with the EXIN ASM exam you can read this review (https://it.toolbox.com/blogs/bryancampbell...cation-050216).
Hi Brian,

I read your article and the question example you provided is a good illustration of the language problem, which is unfair to students. That question however is related to this chart that many learning providers use to illustrate the how demand for the roles of PO vs SM changes over time either in the organization or for a project. I guess the reasoning is that as new teams become more proficient they will need less coaching of the process and more time with the PO.

http://tinypic.com/r/33jicuh/9
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since Scrum has some different certifications authorities, I think it is better to look for the one that is tied to comply with Scrum Principles. Is the industry looking for Scrum certified people coming from EXIN specifically? Why not PMI_ACP?
Testing in full the Scrum Mastery mixing with other practices looks weird. Depends on the kind of company you are working for, policies, and a long list of etc. I do not see the point of an SM looking in ITIL or DevOps if they are not blocking issues or impediments to finish the project. ITIL and DevOps are operations and can be considered in Agile Delivery Operations...so, I suspect EXIN is focusing its certification in the Operations World. Good to have Agile initiatives in such field. But maybe to have an ITIL and SM certifications help more.
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