Passing The ACSM Personal Trainer Exam: How I Did It

This is the study plan I used to pass the ACSM Personal Trainer Exam with only 1 month of studying. So, I know it works!

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This is the exam study guide, which is a part of my longer Getting ACSM Personal Trainer Certification in 1 Month page. That page details all the steps I took to get the certification - this page is specifically about how to study for the test.

How to study for (and pass!) the ACSM personal trainer exam.

To study for and pass the exam that fast requires some serious elbow grease on your part. You must put in the time and energy to make it work.

1. Do All the Chapter End Tests LAST

Remember how I told you not to do the chapter review tests at the end of each chapter in the ACSM's Certification Review book? Well, do them now.

By not doing then ‘till you've finished the book, you'll see what you retained most from your read-through of the study guide. And you'll find out what you're weak on and need to review.

* Remember to ignore Chapter 12 (Electrocardiography) for test preparation, since it's not on the ACSM Personal Trainer exam. *

2. Do the 2 Tests in Appendices A and B of ACSM's Certification Review

Once you've done and reviewed all the chapter end tests, it's time to move on to the full book review tests at the back of the book. The one in Appendix A is right on the mark; do it and review your wrong answers.

For the one in Appendix B that deals with MET calculations (stuff you need to know) and Chapter 12 Electrocardiography stuff (that you don't need to know): Just answer the questions that deal with relevant material and review those; ignore the rest.

3. Review KSAs

Go though the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities list for Personal Trainers in the back of ACSM's Resources for the Personal Trainer (Pp. 497). Mark any you don't feel comfortable with, look them up, and study them.

4. Take Practice Test Online

Go to the ACSM Online Learning Center and take the main practice test ($49.99).

This will give you a feel for the type of questions on the exam, as well as the format. The online review test was exceptionally helpful for me.

5. Take Online Courses To Shore Up Your Weak Points

With the online test you've learned what taking the exam is like (kind of), as well as what sections you need to focus on for more studying. So, take the online courses for the section(s) that you were worst at.

I think this is helpful because it gets you the information you need to study in yet another medium. This use of repetition (reading the information in multiple books), and now studying the info again online will increase your retention.

It worked great for me!

6. Focus Your Time On The Most Important Sections

If you have any more time, use it to study the subjects covering the majority of the test. A breakdown of the test’s 8 sections, showing how much of the exam is devoted to each, is below.

Breakdown of The Kinds of Questions on Test
From The ACSM's Get Certified Guide

Competency Areas
% of Questions on the ACSM Personal Trainer Exam
Exercise Prescription and Programming
Exercise Physiology and Related Exercise Science
Health Appraisal and Fitness Exercise Testing
Clinical and Medical Considerations
Nutrition and Weight Management
Safety, Injury Prevention and Emergency Procedures
Program Administration, Quality Assurance, and Outcome Assessment
Human Behavior

7. Don't Buy Non-ACSM Flashcards and Study Aids

I bought some Non-ACSM flashcards to study for the test on and, frankly, didn't find them helpful.

The ACSM has a certain flavor in the information that they present, and how it's presented. And thus, the ACSM’s materials correlate well with how the material will be presented on the test.

I don't recommend any non-ACSM stuff because the information might not be what the ACSM is looking for. It may even feed you contradictory information.

Stick with the official ACSM Personal Trainer Exam study materials - they're more than sufficient.

8. You're Ready. Register For Your Test.

You've studied all you can. Now go back to the main page on how to get certified as an ACSM personal trainer and schedule your exam.

Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!

• Click here to learn more about How to Become a Personal Fitness Trainer!


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Passing The ACSM Personal Trainer Exam: How I Did It

My Own Experience!

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