Secrets of the Written Simulation
Update: The written simulation problem is no longer a component of the ACE Personal Trainer Certification exam. Please see our blog post, "The Written Simulation...Gone With the Wind," for more details.
…except not really. There are no secrets to completing the written simulation portion of the ACE Personal Trainer Certification Exam. However, there are some helpful hints that may assist you on exam day.
The written simulation is designed as a type of exam that tests a candidate’s practical knowledge using real life personal training situations. It assesses decision making skills in the areas of designing, implementing, and modifying an exercise program. This is where we talk about application of knowledge. With the written simulation you need to use bits of information you’ve learned, from multiple different chapters, in relation to the ‘real life’ give and take of a client.
If you have not already seen an example of the written simulation, I strongly encourage you to purchase an example in order to have experience with it prior to your exam. Candidates who have not seen, or practiced, the written simulation prior to their exam tend not to do well on that part of the test. You can see an example of a written sim on our website at: http://www.acefitness.org/getcertified/writtensim.aspx However, this example is not a substitute for practice with your own copy of the written sim.
(Going forward, I’m assuming everyone is familiar with the format of the written sim)
When you are working with your written simulation ‘client’, you want to select items/options that provide a positive value for his program. Your best choices are items that are ‘clearly indicated’ or ‘indicated’. Neutral items don’t help your score, but they don’t harm it either. Finally, steer clear of items that are ‘contraindicated’ or ‘clearly contraindicated’. The C or CC items are ones that provide no positive benefit for the client and may actual cause them harm if implemented.
So what do you do when you have multiple ‘good’ choices that you want to pick? For example, in your written simulation you see 3 cardiovascular training options. One is clearly not a good choice (we’ll say it looks like a C for contraindicated). But the other 2 choices aren’t bad. Yeah, one is kinda better than the other, but...they’re both good. Maybe you should give your client both options.
Nope! Not a good choice. Think about it this way: every choice you ‘select’ you will make your client do consecutively. If you select two cardiovascular options for his routine then you are asking him to perform both programs, one after the other. This leads to overtraining – another thing we don’t want for our client.
Same thing applies with a weight training program. Maybe there are 3 options – only lower body, only upper body, and a total body routine. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to select all of them? I mean, he wants to increase upper body, wants to increase lower body, and they are both part of a total body routine so…
Again, nope! If you selected all 3 options that means you are having your client do a total body routine AND a lower body routine AND an upper body routine – 3 total routines at once! This leads to overtraining – which we don’t want for our client.
Finally, don’t forget that when you are completing the written simulation portion of the exam that once you select an answer, you cannot ‘unselect’ that answer. For those doing the paper/pencil version of the ACE Personal Trainer Certification Exam, that means don’t highlight until you know that is the answer you are selecting. For those doing the computer based exam, that means don’t ‘click’ on the option until you know for sure that’s your choice. Also, for the computer based exam you cannot go ‘backwards’ in the written simulation. Once you’ve moved to the next page you can’t go back to check your answers. It’s not a bad idea to make a few notes on your scratch paper just to jog your memory on further sections.
Other questions about the written simulation? Just contact our Education Consultants at 1-888-825-3636 x782.