Tests are hard, we’ve all learned that in school. We want so badly to get a good score on a test that the entire process can be filled with anxiety—learning the material, preparing, late nights, and giving up our free time. There are moments filled with doubt and others brimming with overconfidence when we’re always somewhere in between. To become a Certified Personal Trainer the test process is no different. For many, it feels like we’re right back in high school, textbook open, anxiety high, wishing we had the answers, and dreading test day.

A lot of personal trainers take the PT certification: ACE. Ask anyone at the gym or your trainer what they needed to do to become certified and they’ll likely tell you the ACE. Fortunately, certain proactive steps can be taken to almost guarantee a pass on the ACE exam.

Are you ready?

Here Are Four Steps To Passing PT Certification: ACE.

Form A Study Group

Study Group

Whether you’re the only one in your friend group currently studying for the ACE exam or not, it’s always a good idea to form a study group for the test. Study groups offer necessary moral support when your confidence runs low. Or, even more importantly, study groups are there when you don’t have the motivation to continue to study. They are the accountability you’ll need on bad days, or off days. Beyond how a study group can help you, it’s key to realize how you’ll also be able to help others. In most study groups, no one starts the same. Everyone has their own set of strengths and weaknesses, parts of the material they’ll know more than others and vice versa. With that in mind, where you shine (because you studied and get the material down in a certain section) is a huge resource for others. You can help them. What that does is fine-tune your understanding and create newfound confidence for you to tackle the sections you feel insecure about.

Grab A Guide

Grab A Guide

Guides are an extremely helpful tool for any exam preparation. They have a breakdown of what to expect, and questions and answers that have been used on prior exams. Because guides are broken down into chapters, and different sections, it’s easy to map out what part of the guide to open and when. And remember, it’s not always a linear move. You don’t have to read a guide in order, you can jump around, skip sections, and go back and forward if you need. That’s why an ACE study guide is a must-have to get that pass on your ACE exam. But it always boils down to what study guide is the right one, the best one, for you? The answer is simple, get multiple ones. Certain ACE study guides will be better than others, however, it never hurts to truly prep your hardest when studying for the exam.

Apply What You Learn

You’re training to be a personal trainer. You signed up for the ACE exam, have a potential job lined up, and are excited to get started. As you gather with your study group and drill down on your ACE study guide it’s helpful to apply what you learn. Reading test prep is one thing. Taking quiz after quiz on the ACE exam is also tedious. What helps to go from knowing to understanding is to apply what you learn to real-world examples. Ask a friend or family member if you can train them for the day at the gym, or an at-home gym. Treat them as you would a real client, after acing your ACE exam. Ask what their goals are, what injuries they have, what they’d like to work on, and what their strengths are. Come up with a personal training plan, the way you would for a client, and work with them for a day or a week, or however long you’re studying for the ACE exam. Along the way ask for their feedback. What could you have done differently? And, this is what matters most, write down where you feel you might mess up or feel insecure. Those are the parts of the exam you’ll need to refresh on and get a better understanding of.

Set Aside Time

Set Aside Time

Exams aren’t fun. They’re filled with stress and anxiety. So, it’s no wonder most people would rather procrastinate and avoid doing the actual work of studying for it. However, all that procrastination and avoidance will do is land you on the opposite side of passing. And after all of your effort (your study group, your exam guide, taking the time to train a friend) you want to pass. Even long after you feel you’ve learned, perhaps even mastered, the material set aside time to study every single day. It can be 30 minutes or two hours, whatever fits into your schedule, and is a manageable amount of time. When you set aside time, and block out that amount in your calendar, you’re forced to focus.

As you follow these four steps in your training exam preparation, have realistic but ambitious aspirations for yourself. Know that the ACE exam is just another exam. It’s not out to get you. It doesn’t want you to fail. It’s there to help you excel on your path as a personal trainer. All you have to do is prepare, become dedicated, and feel confident.

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