My Thoughts on the Agil8 SAFe 5.1 Practitioner Exam

I recently completed the Agile8 SAFe 5.1 Practitioner course and wanted to describe my experience of the exam process and how I prepared for it.

Preparing for the SAFe 5 Practitioner Exam

To qualify for the SAFe 5 practitioner exam, you need to have taken the SAFe for Teams (5.1) four-day course. This course is very thorough and covers all the information required to pass the test. Throughout the course, my instructors made the effort to point out sections that are likely to show up on the exam. They stressed that learning all the lists is important and that questions about the lists are very common. After finishing the course, I took a look at the exam study guide, which gave information on the exam setup and the course breakdown.

Exam SectionsPercent of Items on ExamNumber of Questions
Section 1: Introducing SAFe20%~9
Section 2: Building an Agile Team18%~8
Section 3: Planning the Iteration18%~8
Section 4: Executing the Iteration24%~11
Section 5: Executing the PI20%~9

The above table shows how the 45 questions in the exam are broken down. The passing mark is 35/45, which is ~ 78%. So, there is some room for error, but you will need to be fairly knowledgeable in each section.

The study guide also included some recommended reading for each section. Don’t worry, this isn’t a massive list of books to go off and read! All the recommended reading links go to articles written by Agil8 and they are reasonably short. They are worth going over to help compound knowledge gained on the course.

Once I had gone over the exam study guide material, I took the practice exam – which is provided as part of the course. You can take the practice exam as many times as you like and the order of questions will change on each attempt. The practice exam draws from a pool of 45 questions, so you won’t see anything new doing multiple attempts. That being said, I do think it’s worth taking this practice exam a few times to get comfortable with the content. The practice exam breaks down the sections where you were getting questions wrong which is a good indicator for where to revise more.

Tips for Passing the SAFe 5 Practitioner Exam

  • Starting with a classic – make sure to read the question properly! This exam will try to catch you out with a single word changing the answer for a question. For example if you are being asked about the team backlog the answer would be different than if you were being asked about the program backlog.
  • As with all multiple-choice tests, you should look to rule out answers that can’t be right. Hopefully, this will lead you to the correct answer, but at the very least you will be improving your odds if you had to guess after ruling out a couple.
  • Remember your lists! A lot of the course learning material is structured into lists. These lists do come up in the exam in one way or another. For example, you could be asked what one of the letters in CALMR stands for. If you remember the list for the CALMR acronym that’s an easy mark!
  • Sit the practice exam multiple times and study where you are going wrong! The studying aspect is the most important part, if you are getting stuff wrong you need to go off and strengthen your knowledge in this area.

Sitting the SAFe 5 Practitioner Exam

To sit the exam, just launch it through the “My Learning” section. Unlike previous certifications I have sat online, this one is not proctored. So, you can launch the exam at any time without having to book in a slot. I liked this aspect, as it took the pressure off to revise for a set time. The only time constraint is that you have to sit the exam within a month of finishing the course if you want the free attempt.

The real exam looks exactly the same as the practice exam and is carried out in the browser in exactly the same way. I found the exam to be slightly more difficult than the mock, however, this is probably just bad luck on the questions selected. Some of the questions seemed a bit more obscure and threw me off a little. However, by eliminating answers that were clearly not right and working out which from the remaining made the most sense, I was able to navigate through the tricky questions.

Once you finish the exam you get your results instantly. After you submit your test, you are navigated to a screen displaying your score and a breakdown of how you did in each of the sections. If you didn’t manage to pass you can sit the exam again instantly. Unfortunately, there is a charge each time you do a retake.

Passing the SAFe 5 Practitioner Exam

Upon passing the exam, you will gain a pdf certificate, as well as access to the “SAFe 5 Practitioner Cert Kit” – which is just a folder containing a certification mark image, which I have shown below. Also, you can view and print your certificate here: https://community.scaledagile.com/s/my-certifications. As well as that, you will get receive an email containing your results along with a link to access your digital badge. Take a look at my badge as an example. The final thing you get for passing is access to the SAFe exclusive community of practice.

Summary

That ends my rundown of how I found the SAFe 5.1 Practitioner Exam. I hope this information gave you some tips and answered questions you may have about the exam. Best of luck with the exam! If you have any further questions about the course, I will be happy to answer them below!

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