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ACSM Pass First Attempt

by Amanda

I'm sorry this turned out so long- but hopefully you will find something useful in it!

I studied for 3 and a half months and passed on my first attempt! First, I want to start with some study tips/ suggestions. I suggest scheduling the exam date for about 3-4 months from the day/week you plan to begin your studying. Setting the date will hold you accountable to actually study and not procrastinate and put it off (I had this problem).

The ACSM's Resources for the Personal Trainer textbook you absolutely need to get a copy of. Read it cover to cover. Take notes, highlight, make flashcards- whatever works for YOU. The greatest studying tip I can give you, is to take practice tests and go through practice questions. You won't know what you don't know, until you test your knowledge. PrepU is a great one, it is a paid service but well worth it in my opinion. However, you can find pretty much all of these test questions on Quizlet by searching. Another one I used was pocket prep. This is also a paid service, but I just did a 3 day free trial and went through as many questions as possible. ACSM also has a review booklet with practice questions. I did not use this, but tons of people did and found it very useful.

As for content on the exam. The three big topics were: risk stratification, programming principles (and knowing how to program for individuals with risks and/ or special populations), and the TTM. I had I think 6 questions about the TTM, which really surprised me. So, know each step, what it means, and what a client in that stage would look, think and talk like. Also, understand a personal trainers scope of practice, what that means.

Overall the test is difficult, yes. But, don't wig yourself out. Just study and make sure you understand the content. You won't be able to memorize everything and pass, ACSM wants you to understand it. You need to understand the "why."

All that said, not every question will make you rack your brain. There are some simple questions, just like there is some simple information. I had 3 or 4 questions about nutrition (grams, % of daily calories).

Finally, I want to mention one last thing. I had zero questions about the heart. Nothing asking me about the flow, or what happens in the alveoli capillaries, what is an artery- nothing. However, I watched a video and he said he had 8 questions about the heart. So, that also may be a good topic to study; how the heart works and where oxygen exchange occurs, etc.

Good luck!! I know you'll do great :)

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