Getting Through the First Four Chapters
The first part of your manual – be it the ACE Group Fitness Instructor Manual or the ACE 3rd edition Personal Trainer Manual – is packed with four chapters of background science. These chapters include information on exercise physiology, anatomy, biomechanics and applied kinesiology, and nutrition. All of which is great information to know, but can be a lot to take in when you’ve just started preparing for your exam. Many candidates get stuck in the first part of their book. They get into the mindset that they need to memorize everything listed in the first part before they can move onto more certification specific topics like program design. Not true!
But how do you get through the detail filled pages without losing your mind? Don’t forget that memorization is not the key to passing an ACE certification exam – comprehension is. And, yes, comprehension of the background sciences can be challenging. The first step to take is to read through the chapter with your home study guide at hand. Using the home study guide will help you focus on key phrases and topics through the chapter. It can also help you determine if you understand the basic concepts.
The second step is to think about how the information presented in the first part of your manual relates to exercise and physical activity. Yes, this is easier with some chapters than others. Anatomy and Biomechanics/Applied Kinesiology are topics that are easier to relate to human movement and physical activity. Anatomy is all about muscles and bones, and how they work together. Kinesiology and biomechanics focus on how the body moves through space – levers, center of gravity, and types of muscle action. Are we going to ask you to list Newton’s 3 laws of gravity? Probably not. Are we going to expect you to have a basic understanding of how levers work to influence how much weight you can lift? Possibly.
When relating the background sciences to what we know of human movement, focus less on rote memorization and more on comprehensive understanding. When would a wide base of support come in handy? How does a greater stroke volume affect an athlete’s endurance?
Finally, utilize the structure of the chapters to help you focus on the big ideas. Rather than considering each page a new set of information, find out how that information fits within the bigger concept. For example, Chapter 1 pages 17-22 in the ACE 3rd Edition Personal Trainer manual are outlined like this:
Basic neuromuscular anatomy and physiology (large print header)
- Muscle Fiber types (smaller print than above, sub heading)
- Neuromuscular anatomy
- Muscle contraction
- Muscle contraction summary (even smaller print, subheading of muscle contraction topic)
- Force of contraction
- Muscle fiber size
- Motor units
By outlining the chapters, or at least being aware of how they are structured, you can more easily grasp the concepts being built. In the first four chapters this awareness could provide the extra boost to comprehension.
Regardless of which study method works best for you, remember that you can go back and re-read these essential background science chapters at any time. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck. Read through the chapter, take some notes, go through your corresponding Master the Manual chapter, and then move on.
Questions? Contact an Education Consultant at 1-888-825-3636 x782.