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Passed ACSM! 7.12.2011

by Bret Munk
(San Antonio, TX, USA)

I passed with a score of 600. Passing is >550. I completed all SAPTB exams until I was making perfect scores, I attended the last day of the ACSM 3-day workshop, and I reviewed the Resources for Personal Trainers textbook. I also perused what others said about the ACSM-cPT exam online. I studied everyday anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours, for about a month.

The test has no diagrams so picking out muscles and bones will not come up. There are no videos. The math was not too heavy but I studied my formulas.

Know the heart, how stroke volume and cardiac output relate, flow of blood through the heart, chambers, type of muscle in the heart, and tricuspid valve.

Know WHR, HRR, and CVD Risk Factors. One scenario involved a person with a fasting glucose of 100mg/dl which qualifies as a risk factor under ACSM CVD thresholds but as I added up the other risk factors (sedentary, obese) there was no multiple choice answer which would include Impaired Fasting Glucose. Not sure how to answer it.

Know which are eccentric / concentric while climbing uphill and jogging downhill.

Know special populations, elderly, children, and especially pregnant women. One question asked which position a second / third trimester should NOT exercise in. Choices included supine, prone, on hands & knees, and on side. You can only choose one. I vacillated between supine and prone. Obviously prone leg curls is not cool, and supine exercise is not recommended by ACSM. And you can only choose one answer...


Know dyslipidemia thresholds >200mg/dl LDL or <40mg/dl HDL.

Know BMI >30 is obese.

Salt pills came up three times on test. They never came up in my studies, they're not in the book or in the workshop manual. It also asked twice about long-term use of high protein, I guessed calcium retention then changed my answer, I had it right the first time. Doh! It asked how much oil a person should consume in relation to protein consumption. Know how to spot edema.

Know ACSM CR fitness recommendations as well as CDC proposed activity levels.

Review psychological components and review all aspects of assessments in DETAIL.

The big picture they are looking for on this test is how safely a person can train. This cert is the most clinical and ACSM wants to establish themselves as the technical and medical professionals in the world of exercise prescription. The 3-day workshop is highly recommended, and I commend you on your interest in what is considered the most challenging Certified Personal Trainer exam.


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If impaired fasting glucose is missing
by: Anonymous

In response to the question that did not include the persons impaired fasting glucose....If they do not include info to determine if they have Prediabetes, then you would automatically count them as a risk factor ONLY if they are 45 years or older OR have a BMI of 25 or more. This info is NOT In the Resource book, I found this in the Exercise Prescription book and has been very helpful when the person is missing the impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance info to see if they are prediabetic or not

General Question
by: Anonymous

Do you know the proper spotting tech. on a bench press, shoulder press, and lunge? I had several questions on this. Also do you know what muscle is eccentric when going downhill? I appreciate all of your help? BTW great post, very helpful.

by: Anonymous

Thanks to all of your help and tips. It was somewhat more difficult than I thought it was going to be because of some vague answers to some pretty vague questions. There was a lot of questions on where to spot shoulder presses, incline shoulder press, forward lunges, bench press. Few basic "plane" questions, not as much about the rotator cuff like a few people said, just basics like what are the muscles, they give you three and ask for the fourth. All the basic computations were included: desired wt. with body fat%, BMI, one MET computation (remember divide by 3.5) other simple arithmetic if you know Kcals and cal/gms of F,PRO,Carbs. A lot of questions on prescription, risk stratification, special populations. I wish I could remember specifics. Some anatomy, heart circulation, Know what conditions not to train in with asthma (warm, humid) some on hydration, how much water to drink during different conditions, signs of heat exhaustion, Know the Transtheoretical Model Behavior.

Good luck. I felt more confident once I got into the test of about 50 questions. I either knew them or I didn't, never went back to change an answer.

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