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so confused and don't know where to start

I've had my ACSM books for 4mo. and getting motivated to studying is hard b/c everytime I begin to study I feel like my brain is on overload and I'm not retaining any info.

Reading the text from beginning to end isn't gonna work for me cause the language they use is confusing and I have no idea what I just read. I read the ksa's in the back of the book but don't understand how to use it or what it is. I feel like this is an impossible task and I have no idea how to figure it out or where to begin to figure it out. I mean seriously I have a working brain and very capable of learning this if I could have a better understanding of how to learn it and break it down. I think the ksa's is suppose to do that but I don't understand that either.

I'm also thinking that an online study partner would be very helpful. Maybe chatting about the material on yahoo messenger or via webcam study sessions. I would like a study partner who has a really good understanding of the material. If you are seriously interested in becoming a study partner my email is

Any advice would be helpful. Thanks!

Comments for so confused and don't know where to start

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my take
by: steve

I cannot help you as far as being a study partner because I am currently studying for NCSF. My materials came with a breakdown of the course that basically has you work through one chapter at a time.
I am no studying genius (far from it!) but what works for me is reading the entire chapter and then making note cards from the study questions and quizzes. This forces me to get the material once through reading, again through finding it and writing it down and then I carry the note cards with me for example; to pick up my daughter from school. Whenever I know an answer, I remove a card.

There is a lab manual that covers each section too with practical/applied knowledge which I was originally doing along with each chapter but I decided to skip it and wait until I am done with everything and go through each lab as a sort of refresher...good luck!

Just a suggestion...
by: Anonymous

I totally understand your frustration, as there is no guided study options. As I mentioned in a previous post, the information in the main text is very technical, more for the understanding of a medical practitioner. At least in my opinion. I found that you have to read the Review manual AND the Resource text and unfortunately connect the dots. It is clear that they want the learner to figure it out and learn their way around the texts. I have also gone through and labeled the diagrams in the review manual with the information provided in the manual's own outline. If you are a visual person, this helps a GREAT deal. For someone new to this field, reading this information word for word will not help you understand it. As it acknowledges the body as parts of a machine so to speak, you may have to learn this subject matter in parts and then make the overall connection in the end. Think of things as functions and the purpose behind them. Give yourself time to allow it to make sense. For example, you may have to spend a week on just learning AND understanding the skeletal system and it's parts. I find that putting a time limit on your learning only adds pressure. The best thing about this certification is that you have time to learn it before taking the exam. Be fair to yourself!

Good luck!

Same boat!
by: Anonymous

I totally am in the same boat, with regard to where to start. I have all of the books - have taken 3 of the 6 webinars, but now am trying to wrap my mind around how to study and retain all of the knowledge.
I've been reading about flashcards, KSA studying, etc...just not sure how to retain it all!
I have a mentor who wants to hire me someday, when I become certified, but she has a background in pre-med, so this was all easy for her.
Any advice is welcomed, too!

Thanks so much!!

confused and disappointed
by: Anonymous

Just took the test and didn't pass. Attended the 3 day workshop, read the book -made notecards, used the workbooks to practice sample questions and case studies. Studied myself crazy for 3 months. I felt pretty confident given the study materials I was provided. Have a bachelors degree and a master's in health related fields, have worked for over 20 years in fitness/education capacity.

The test was nothing like the study materials. I feel like the 3 day workshop was a scam. Good for reinforcing fitness principles, and kinesiologic principles, but not helpful for test prep. I felt like I needed to have a pre-med background, instead of fitness. Same goes for the workbooks - save your money.

The certification might be the gold standard, but if they were a school with a 61% pass rate, they would be put on remediation or closed. Study materials and workshops that people spend good money on shouldn't be snake oil, especially from such a professional organization.

What are KSAs?
by: Anonymous

Hi, Thanks for the insightful tips..I just decided to take the ACSM exam. Got all the reading materials, etc..
Could you please clarify what are KSAs and where exactly is this information located?

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