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Aced the Exam - Here's the Inside Scoop

by patrone
(zoo mass)

Let me give you guys a background before I get into details about the test. I just finished my Junior year as a Kinesiology major at a University. I have taken Anatomy I and II with labs, Biomechanics, Human performance and nutrition, Intro to Kinesiology, Principles of Personal Training, and Strength and Conditioning Coaching. My professor let me borrow the 2004 version of ACSM's Resources for Personal Trainers for a couple weeks prior to my CPT exam. Lest be known, I waited until 7 PM the night before my 10 AM exam to crack open the book. I studied 14 straight hours based on the KSA's, based on talking to one guy I knew who took it last year, and based on all the TIPS and INFO on THIS SITE...

I whipped up a nice recipe (checklist) using SOME of the KSA's and MOST of what the tips on this site said. I knocked down the list in about 10 hours, drove to the exam site, and took all 150 minutes for the 150 questions. I had about 25 minutes at the end to go back and answer my 6 unanswered and review my 30 flagged questions. I ended reviewing my last question with 20 seconds remaining I think.

The result: a score of 706 on the 200-800 scale when you need a 550 to pass. I totally crammed and overstressed excessively.

My recommendation: If you are at a University with the above listed courses, take them and you can get away with the cram session. If not, I have heard great things about the 3 day crash course. The only book you truly NEED is the Resources for Personal Trainers Seventh Edition. If any of the questions you see on here or in the KSA's aren't in that book, they are somewhere on the internet on a reliable website.

Here's what I (my lack of sleep and high serum concentrations of adderral) remember:

- Spinal Curves (2 Q's): Lordotic, Kyphotic, Scoliotic
- Type of Joint (2 Q's): Uniaxial, Sliding
- Breathing Muscules: For inspiration and PASSIVE expiration, which ones are responsible for chest expansion/rise.
- Risk Factors: All of them, know EXACTLY what they are.
- Risk Stratification: Again, know EXACTLY what the criteria is for each level.
- Business/Legal Issues: Negligence, Diff. Liabilities and who is responsible for what.
- Consent Forms: Know what they say and permit.
- PAR-Q: Know what it is and what it asks
- Sequence for First Session: FIRST medical history review, next risk factor assessment questionaire, fitness test, evaluate results, prescribe exercise program. (refer to doctor after risk assess if necessary).
- Order of Fitness Testing: Heart Rate,Blood Pressure, Body Comp, Waist to hip, Posture analysis, sit and reach, cardio fitness test, muscular strength test, muscular endurance test...
- Heart: a) blood flow (RA-RV-LA-LV), b) tricuspid valve c) Pacemaker (SA node), d) LV pumps oxygenated blood to systemic circuit,
- Difference between Cardiac Muscle and Skeletal Muscle
- Valsalva Manuever (TWICE - and i don't agree with its use!)
- Rotator Cuff Muscles and Motions of each: Supraspinatus (arm abduction, Infraspinatus (external rotation, arm exention, horizontal abduction), Teres Minor (same as infraspinatus), Subscapularis (internal rotation, arm extension, arm adduction)
- ASTHMA - A TON OF QUESITONS - know what type of weather they should take extra precaution in, know what they should/shouldn't do for a warm-up or max test, know allergies and what a bronchodilator does.
- Drugs - Nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, painkillers, etc etc, know what they all do to HR, BP, etc.
- Convert VO2 (oxygen consumption) to MET's: Divide the number they give you for VO2 by 3.5 to get the MET amount.
- Nutrition: a lot: KNOW: 3500 kcals are in one pound of bodyfat. How many calories less a person should eat if they want to lose "x" amount of pounds per week (not including caloric expenditure from exercise, dumb i know), where fat intake levels should be according to the food pyramid, what excess protein in the diet does, special considerations for diet in special populations (B12, folate, zinc),
-Uphill/Downhill Running mechanism: Which muscle is eccentrically activated, which muscle requires more flexibility
- Plyometrics: know what they are and their mechanism, Know drop jumps or whatever it's called where you jump off a platform onto the ground - they ask for a specific range of safe heights to jump from.
- Training Periodization: such as first you train for hypertrophy, then you plateau, then you train for strength/power, then you have your competition season, etc.. take a look at the general periodization rules
- Training Regimen Season - offseason, pre-season, in-season, transition/ active rest.
- Eccentric phases of lift: usually means returning to the starting position (e.g. the "up" phase of a squat)
- DOMS - delayed onset muscle soreness caused primarily by eccentric lifting.
- Isotonic - "same tension" but length changes (either concentric shortening or eccentric lengthening)
- Isometric - "same length" muscules dont shorten or lengthen but remain contracted
- Isokinetic - same speed lifts, difficult because you need special equipment
- Human Behavior, Learning Types, and Psychological Theories - such a broad subject but only 4% of the exam questions... Know ATTRIBUTION theory (need to explain why things happen in attempt to predict future outcomes) MOTIVATION theory, Precontemplation vs. Contemplation phases (I wont and I cant versus I may in contemplation) Aesthetic Visual Auditory Kinesthetic learning, What to do if you think your client has an eating disorder, signs of anorexia, Just cover those and you should be OK for the human behavior section,

Finally, the biggest sections of the exam were Exercise Physiology and Exercise Prescription and Programming... You should have a grasp on all of this, from how everything works on the sarcomere level, to what to prescribe a 21 year old college guy who wants increased hypertrophy.
KNOW: Principles of progression, overload principle, reversibility, FITT and FITTE (i think FITTE is just FITT with enjoyment added for kids, i couldnt find it anywhere), % 1RM to train at for certain goals, What type I and IIa and IIb fibers are and what energy systems they draw on, the by product of Anaerobic glycolysis (lactic acid),

Safe Administration: How to spot dumbell flys, presses, lunges, etc... What to look for in a client complaining of ankle edema, or a client with diabetes that's dizzy cold and sweating..

Alright guys i am exhausted and can't remember/write anymore... this took me an hour to write and i haven't slept in 28 hours... Good luck to all...

Comments for Aced the Exam - Here's the Inside Scoop

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by: Anonymous

wow great post! thanks for this it really helped me

I'm impressed.
by: Ree

Hi. I took the ACSM test the first time and unfortunately i did not manage to pass. I will be taking it a second time and from the looks of what i read on your page, the test you took was exactly like the test that was given to me. But thank you very much for posting this. It was a huge help refreshing my memory of all the things i remembered having difficulty with as well as things that i need to review over. I really appreciate it and congratulations on becoming certified.

by: Anonymous

Thank you so much, I just took the test and did not pass ugh! This really helped me remember the ones I missed. So many of the things you listed are just what I need to work on, I was so excited to find this. I will take it again in 15 days and hope I pass it. Thank you for all your hard work writing all that down, it will help me so much.

Just passed
by: Rob

I got a question on everything you just listed. Great review...People, if you are reading this comment: listen to this guy and make sure you learn risk stratification.

by: Anonymous

This is really helpful! Wish me luck as I plan to take this later in Nov.

Taking it a 2nd time
by: Jill

Thank you so much for this post. I just took the exam yesterday and did not pass. It really helped jog my memory.
If anyone has taken it a second time, is the test the same? Or is completely different? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

by: Anonymous

Hi - thanks for all the tips! Are you referring to another site that gave you study tips before you took the exam? It seems that way to me, but I don't see a link. It may have been replaced by ads. Please let me know asap if there's another original website you recommend (other than your own). Thanks so much!

by: Anonymous

Wow!! THANK YOU!!! I'm currently cramming for my exam tomorrow morning and I am SO glad I came across this page. The material is a lot more in-depth than what I had expected so it's great to see your this breakdown. Thanks! :)

by: Anonymous

the up phase of the squat is CONCENTRIC !!!

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