advice, Education, phone apps, Resources

ACSM Certified Personal Trainer -Exam Tips

I did pretty well on the ACSM Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) Exam, dang near perfect, and now I want you to, too!

1. I chose ACSM because it is the same certification institution as my Wellcoaches certification and membership. I also like how it is more clinically focused and there are other opportunities to advance with the degree (i.e. specializing in working with cancer patients). I wanted to become a CPT because I knew it would be a great complement with coaching.

2. I bought all 3 recommended books. I found them really cheap and used online, though. Below are pictures of 2 out of 3.

ACSM Resources for the Personal Trainer-2013


ACSM’s Certification Review


ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing Prescription

I would encourage you to purchase all 3, but for the exam I only used the first 2 books to study. There are workshops available and if I had the time and funds, I would have definitely done them! I encourage you to to get hands-on training. I am surprised there isn’t a practical component mandatory to get certified as a personal trainer through ACSM. I bet this will change in the future.

3. I Scheduled my exam. I know it seems sily to schedule it before really studying, but I knew it would be the kick in the butt I needed to start cracking down. I started looking at the material but didn’t feel the pressure to know everything so I just scheduled an exam and away I went.

4. Start Studying…You should probably know what will be on the exam. It’s available here: Exam Content & Outline

5. Do your research! It’s really helpful to always google any resources that may be available to help you study. A few things I found that might be helpful for you:

If you like making flashcards, you can online at or There are some already made and available cards for the ACSM CPT exam on those sites.

Phone App: CertMantra CPT. I can’t tell you how much this app helped me with the exam. I highly encourage you to spend the $6 on this app. Right now it’s only available for Android phones. I will update the post if I find one for iphones.

What else have others said about the exam? This video helped a lot and so did this post. Everything they suggested you to know for the exam is dead on. Everything from knowing the rotator cuff muscles to how to calculate heart rate reserve. Read it, soak it in, and be able to spit it out.

6. Study! I highlighted information in the books, did a few skype dates with my friend who is also taking the exam and went over case studies, did the practice test in the certification review book twice and studied all the sets in the CertMantra phone app many times. I felt very confident going into the exam.

You’ve got this! If you have any questions please let me know.

Thanks for reading!



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