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Passed ACSM exam Feb 2011

Passed the ACSM cPT exam with 662/800. I did the 3-day workshop and though we didn't hands on all the equipment at the MASSIVE gym we were in, we went over every group of machines and our instructor gave us suggestions. And the instructor was great, the coach for the US Martial Arts Team and long-time cPT (among other certs & education). We did all the fitness tests and calculations. If you have no or minimal hands-on experience, I almost think the 3-day workshop is a must. The 1-day is just an exam review and don't plan on doing that and passing. You still have to study.

THE EXAM: You are provided with a calculator (on the computer) and THAT IS ALL. You are not provided any formulas so you must know the basic calculations. And yes, cm-in, lb-kg stuff. I was lucky I studied them. The exam is 150 questions but not all of them are scored. ACSM uses the exam for "test questions" also. There were some questions that I had absolutely no idea what they were. I will say that I was nervous about it, but when I went back and reviewed it seemed okay and lo-and-behold, I passed. I wish I could see what I missed because some of my percentages didn't make sense with what I felt I knew. ACSM does NOT require you to use their CEUs. There are others out there--some for free--that ACSM will accept.

If I did anything different, I would read the entire text (I read about 3/4 of it and I know there were questions pulled out of there that are not in the Review or GETP). I did spend quite a bit of time studying before the exam and could have used more time to study. Test took me about 1:30-1:45. I went with ACSM because I wanted one of the more reputable certifications. Plus ACSM is THE scientific research organization for fitness and health, so they are constantly putting stuff out there. Other organizations use ACSM for reference and research. Plus, just look at all the ACSM fellows or board members, etc. All university professors or other professionals.

As an alternative, I would go with the other big ones: NASM, NSCA, ACE. Those are the ones I know that are good. Bad part for someone like me with no health degree is I can't go any further. ACSM now requires a 4-year health-related degree for anything more than cPT and I think the NSCA CSCS requires it to, which is what I want. Hope this helps and good luck!

Comments for Passed ACSM exam Feb 2011

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i am taking next weeek and have ???
by: lisa nh

I was wondering if you needed to know how to figure out resting metabolic rate equation, and calories burned by way of mets??

also I am having diff with various types of stretches; static, pnf, ballistic, active, passive do you recall alot with this??

I feel there is so much to know that I only want to overload brain with necessary formulations, info, equations, etc...

thanks and congrats I can't wait to pass it too!!!

by: Anonymous

There are quite a few calculations that ACSM has that you can use as a trainer, but for the exam they don't use all those complicated ones, just the basics. I don't recall any MET calculation questions, though you do need to know what MET is and what it means. I actually like to use it when I'm on cardio equipment that has it; give me a good idea how hard I'm working. Also, if you work in a hospital/clinic-associated gym, I hear the physicians like to prescribe activity using METs.
You do need to know the stretching types and any drawbacks to them. As a trainer, your main types will be static and dynamic. PNF seems to be more sports oriented and ballstic is probably the most avoided because of the risk of injury.
The test can make you panic! Don't forget there are test questions on there. I can't remember how many, but I do think it's at least 25 of the 150. You'll know them cause if you've studied and/or had the workshop you'll go "Huh?" ACSM likes to know their personal trainers have practical knowledge, so you WILL run into "case study" questions. For example, Mike is a 48 year old male who weighs and his BP is, and triglycerides are....etc. So they want you to know risk stratification and by asking those questions, they have forced you to know specific risk factors. The nice thing with ACSM is you can have everything you need in their handbook "Guidlines for Exercise Testing and Prescription" when you are working as a trainer. Good luck!

by: Anonymous

thanks so much for getting back to me!! I am nervous, however I feel I have prepped as much as I possibly can. I had a feeling we didnt' need to memorize all of the really technical equations, however I didn't want to get in there and be unprepared. Thanks again for the tips and info


Test Question: Equations
by: Anonymous

So by basic equations, what do you mean exactly? Could you give me an example you remember?

by: Anonymous

mets to vo2 divide by 3.5
lbs-kg divide by 2.2
equation for max hr 220-age
heart rate reserve equation was used alot

if a person weight - lbs and is 20% fat how much will they weigh if they want to get to 15%

know all kcalories in fat, protein, alcohol, carbs

If I had to do it all again I realy would focus on exercise rx
good luck

by: Anonymous

I appreciate the Q & A regarding mets. I am pretty clear and aware of the calculations for the exam, but am a little nervous regarding MET calculation. There is very little mention of it in the review and main book, but there seems to be a great deal of equations for it. Thanks for the insight!

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