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How to Ace Your Personal Training Certification Exam

Part of the Becoming a Personal Trainer For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Being hired as a personal trainer requires a certification if you want to be taken seriously by potential employers and clients. These tips will help you hit the books and prepare for your certification exam:

  • Get ready to study. Make sure you have a quiet place where you can concentrate on the course materials, whether your kitchen or the local library. Turn off the TV, the radio (unless listening to classical music helps get your brain cells moving), and your Internet connection (unless you’re using online course materials). And make sure your study area is equipped with pencils, paper, and a good light source.

  • Find course materials. Each certifying organization offers its own course materials to help you study for the exam. You may receive (or be able to purchase) textbooks, online study guides, sample tests, and access to live seminars and courses. Check out the certifying organizations’ Web sites for information on the course materials that are available.

  • Role-play. If the exam includes a practical portion, you’ll need to get your hands on such equipment as skin-fold calipers and blood-pressure cuffs. Recruit some friends and use them to practice measuring flexibility, measuring body fat, performing submaximal cardio evaluations, and anything else you may have to perform on the test.

  • Use sticky notes. Learning anatomy is an active process — you have to get up and get moving to understand how the body works. Stick labels on your muscles and joints to remember what they’re called and how they move.

  • Draw up flash cards. Make up flash cards with definitions and formulas. You can test yourself whenever you have a free minute — in line at the grocery store, in the dentist’s waiting room, while stuck in traffic — or have a friend flash you (the cards, that is).

  • Get moving. Get off your chair and perform movements to find out which muscles are involved. Which muscles do you use when you kick? How about when you’re doing a bench press?

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