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January 23, 2012, 12:58PM PT in Exam Preparation Blog  |  0 Comments

Are the practice tests similar to the actual exam and are they helpful?

ACE certification exam practice testMany candidates wonder if the practice tests are actually similar to ACE certification exams. In a nutshell, yes, the paper sample test and the online diagnostic tests available for your use are in fact designed to help you successfully prepare for the ACE exam.

The practice tests are structured in such a way that they resemble the format, content and difficulty of the actual ACE exam questions.

Here's some more insight into those three components:

  • Format:

    Our practice questions mimic the format used in the actual ACE exam. You will see a question (or stem) followed by four possible answers (or responses).

    The four response options will consist of one correct (or most correct) answer and three distractors, which are all incorrect. Distractors, as their name suggests, contain common errors that tend to be similar to the correct response because they are often comparable in length, complexity, grammatical construction, etc. To avoid these possible traps, be sure to carefully read through all questions and answers.

    You will notice that the majority of the questions are application-based. You will be given a certain amount of information that either needs to be synthesized, deduced, complied, etc. in order to draw a proper conclusion and answer the question at hand. Very few of our exam questions are recall questions in which you memorize information and then recall it at the exam.

    If you find yourself getting tripped up by a question or by the format of the questions on the practice tests, there are a number of strategies you can use to successfully dissect multiple choice questions and to improve your reading comprehension so that you feel more confident come exam day.

  • Content:

    The practice tests follow the content outline used to design the actual ACE exam. This means that questions will be distributed appropriately across major areas of responsibility (i.e. performance domains).

    For example, when you review the ACE Personal Trainer exam content outline you will see that the Professional Role and Responsibilities (Domain 4) is weighted the least. Program Progression, Modification and Maintenance (Domain 3), is heavier in weight, but still less than the two most heavily and important domains — Client Interview and Assessment and Program Design and Implementation (Domains 1 and 2).

    This means the majority of the practice questions as well as the ACE exam questions, also known as items, will focus on content from Domains 1 and 2. Be sure to frequently refer to the exam content outline throughout your studies.

  • Difficulty:

    The difficulty of the sample test exam questions is purposefully crafted to reflect the difficulty of the ACE exam questions. Practicing at similar difficultly levels will give you a better idea of what to expect on the ACE exam, allowing you to tailor your studies appropriately.

Now that you know what to expect on the practice exams, here are some helpful hints to ensure you are maximizing on their potential:

  • When to take the practice tests:

    So when should you take these practice tests? It is recommended that you utilize these exams in the last few weeks of your studies to see how you are doing with the material as you approach your ACE exam.

    After taking the online diagnostic tests, you will receive a diagnostic score report. This report includes the practice questions, the possible answers and then highlights both the correct and incorrect answers. If a question is answered correctly, then an explanation of why it’s correct will follow. If a question is answered incorrectly, then an explanation of why it’s incorrect and why the correct answer is right will also follow. This type of feedback is extremely helpful and can continue to guide you in your studies.

  • How to take the practice tests:

    If you are planning to take a computer-based exam, then the online diagnostic tests are a great way to prepare for the exam because you can create a similar testing environment.

    Sit at a desk in a quiet area and allow yourself to only have a piece of paper, and a pen or pencil. Remember, calculators will not be permitted on exam day, so make sure you practice your math equations by hand.

    Do your best to take your practice test without distractions so that you can really feel like you are taking your ACE exam. Ideally, practicing in an exam-like environment will help make you feel more comfortable on the day of the exam.

  • How to use multiple online diagnostic tests:

    The first time you take a practice test will provide the best measure of how well you will do on the ACE exam. If you have purchased the two online diagnostic tests, then we recommend taking the first test, reviewing your answers, brushing up on domains/topics that you may still be unclear about, and then taking the second test to reassess you readiness for the exam.

Looking for additional assistance with your studies? Enroll in our FREE Study Coach Program, or consider contacting one of our Education and Certification Consultants directly with your specific questions.

By Alexandra Link
Alex Link, Certification & Exam Registration Coordinator

Alex Link is the Certification and Exam Registration Coordinator at ACE. She holds a BS in Sports Science with an emphasis in Sports Medicine, as well as an MS in Exercise Physiology. Additionally, ACE is an ACE-certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach.