I teach complete courses for certification prep and practical experience. Many of the students were never taught how to study or prepare for exams. I provide a free workshop for enrolled students at the beginning and middle of their courses to help them approach the material more efficiently. I also provide students with practice exams and mock exams to assist them in getting more relaxed in an “exam” environment.
Approach the material in pieces. Don’t just read through the textbook front to back. Take one chapter at a time and break them down into their parts. Focus on one part until you understand it, then move on. All of the textbooks that I have seen sequence the information. Each chapter builds on the previous chapter. Or introduces new topics in a way that allows the student to bring the information together by reading from the beginning to the end.
Live workshops are great to give you a chance to ask questions and here questions answered that you might not have thought to ask.
The best single advice I would give is: Immerse yourself in the material. Approach it as something you want to know, want to understand, and want to master. Make the material you are studying the most important thing you are doing (aside from family).
This answer is really for anyone looking at this question now. How did your test go? Are you working as a trainer now?
I agree with what others have said. The amount you need to study greatly depends on your background. I graduated with a degree in Nutrition Science, which includes almost the exact material you’ll find with ACSM. It’s very science-based and focuses a lot on human anatomy, the physics of exercise, and the science behind nutrition. My previous background in that material helped out a lot, but I still read the “Resources for the Personal Trainer” book cover-to-cover and attended the online workshops (really helpful!). If you already have a good knowledge of kinesiology and physics, that may be all you need. Otherwise read the book, attend the workshops, and work on the practice exams. It’s not an easy exam, so you want to be sure to be prepared and give yourself enough time to absorb the material.
Best of luck!
I teach ACSM cPT exam prep workshops — You definitely want to use the ACSM Resources Textbook and the newest version of the certification review (the older versions also has questions from the HFS certification and all the questions are mixed together so it’s hard to determine which questions are for the cPT exam). You mentioned that there are no ACSM workshops in your area. Did you know that there are also webinars? There is one for ACSM cPT that starts November 6! You can find it on the ACSM website (not sure if the direct link works, but here it is if it does work: http://members.acsm.org/source/meetings/cMeetingFunctionDetail.cfm?secti…
Hello Kelley S,
I gave myself about a year to read the books and ask questions from others. I had a basic knowledge of how to exercise and what muscles the exercises work (which is a big help) but the books had so much more in them. I also found people I knew that had more knowledge (i.e physical therapists, other trainers) and ask questions on the difficult subjects. The workshop was last and it helped to narrow down the focus of the test. Good Luck!