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How to Pass Your Personal Training Certification Exam

Prepare for a Successful Start to Your Exciting New Career!

Personal Training Certification ExamFitness is your passion in life, and you have spent a lifetime pursuing excellence for yourself. You have decided to take that love and turn it into a gratifying career that will allow you to help others and have the ability to earn a living doing something you love.

Once you have taken a Personal Training Certification program, you will need to prepare for your personal training certification exam. There are several excellent certification exams that you can to write; ask your school student advisor to determine which one is right for you. Check out the pre-requisites and exam requirements for The American Council on Exercise (ACE) , American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) , The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) , and The British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA – or your particular region).

Preparing for an Personal Training Certification Exam Requires More Than Reading Your Textbook

Once you have decided on an exam you would like to prepare to write; there are study techniques that can ensure you are not overlooking anything during your preparation. The truth is knowing the information is only half the battle, understanding the information and being able to explain it in practical terms is a necessity to pass any personal training certification exam.

Preparing for a personal training certification exam requires more than just reading your textbook, the trick is knowing which information is “need to know” and which information is just “nice to know”.

Check out these tips and tricks regardless of the personal training certification exam you choose to write!

The Exam Blueprint

The first thing you need to find out is how the test is broken down. In other words, what is the blueprint of the exam or what is the outline? Which topics are going to be included in the exam? How is the exam weighted? Will it only include multiple choice? Will there be an essay or in the case of a Personal Training Certification exam is there going to be a case study? How long is the exam? Will it be an open book exam? Will you be allowed to use a calculator? Will it be done online or handwritten? Will there be a practical component that you need to book with an evaluator?

All of these questions and more can be answered by a student advisor before you decide which personal training exam you are going to take. Before starting your course, it is good to have a game plan so you know which part of the course you should focus on, then you can develop a study plan!  Choosing which exam you are going to take will allow you to maximize your time in class and during study!

Practice Makes Perfect – Take Several Practice Exams

Practice does make perfect … well at least as close to perfect as you can get on an exam. Knowing what to expect ahead of time will make the exam process more comfortable by reducing your stress levels. All of the major certifications will have practice exams either online or as hard copies. Taking a Personal Trainer practice exam will give you an idea of the type of questions that appear on the actual certification exam.

Taking a personal training certification practice exam will also help to refresh and review the information that you learned during your course. You will also find the areas where you excel or which areas you may require some more revision.

Once you have completed your practice test, they will let you know which are the areas where you shine and which areas you need to brush-up on more. Once you determine the areas that you need extra help, book in for a tutoring session with the request to review the areas in the exam where you need extra help.

Create a Community – Join a Study Group

During your course, create a support community within your class, then start a study group. Everyone in the team will be able to understand a different portion of the course in ways that may be able to help you learn better. Studying together can help build up your confidence and pool all your resources. Infofit has a student resource page on Facebook where you can ask instructors questions and look for study aids.

Find a Mentor – Interview Someone Who Has Passed the Exam

Sometimes it’s good to go second instead of first! Do you have a mentor in the fitness community that has already taken and passed the personal training certification exam you want to take? Contact your mentor and book an appointment to get study tips and suggestions. When you get multiple people to discuss their experience with an exam, it gives you a better overview of what it may be like for you. They can share their study tips and ways to combat nerves as well as share their exam plan of action.

Take a Time Out to Relax and Decompress

Walking into an exam wound up and stressed out quite often leads to staring at the test and blanking out! All of those hours of studying will fly right out of your head if you let the pressure take over.

Leading up to your exam take some time out from studying and have some fun. Go to the gym to lift weights, take a run,  get the music pumping in a spinning class or check out a yoga class and do a Savasana. Take a breather, take your mind off the exam and relax!

Making Exam Preparation Easy – Final Reflection

Examination preparation doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Before choosing an exam or certification, find out what is involved in the exam process and how it is broken down. Is the exam online or does it have a written component? What you can do with the certification once you have it. Does the certification body offer other certifications that will help you grow as a health professional?

Take your time and build your support network. Ask all the right questions from all the right people; build your network and find your mentors. Those mentors will take you a long way when it comes to creating a support network once you are a personal training professional!

Cathie Glennon – BCRPA/SFL, Rehabilitation Specialist, Pharm.Tech (Level 3)



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Infofit is in compliance with the WorkSafe BC and the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) orders. Personal Training Certification Courses are in person. Please visit Standards of Safety for more information.