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January 9, 2012 | Exam Preparation Blog

Strategy of Successful Candidates Who Passed Their Exams the First Time

ACE workshop

To those of you who have taken on the challenge of attaining professional recognition in your chosen field, kudos to you! While you may be overwhelmed by having to study for and take the test (we understand), take heart in knowing that successful test-takers who have gone before you have used common strategies that may also help you.

Before stepping into a different role here at ACE, I was an ACE Study Coach for a little over five years, and I was fortunate enough to work with individuals like you who were determined to earn a professionally recognized fitness certification.

In that time, I saw one key ingredient in the success of the candidates who passed their ACE exams on their first attempts:

They regularly scheduled a great deal of their study time seeking out a front row seat to personally experience how the science and technical aspects in the manuals could be put in to action. They did this by attending workshops or completing home study courses related to their varied interests.

So the common strategy I saw with these candidates had to do with how these successful test-takers structured their time as they prepared for their exam.

Of course, they spent regular sessions throughout the week reading and testing themselves on their study skills just like the rest of their peers, but they split from the rest of the pack when they proactively sought out workshops and home study courses.

Doing this served two purposes:

  1. It allowed them to hear and see how the science was applied, thereby strengthening their knowledge.
  2. These courses or day-long workshops were a welcome reward for all the hard work they were investing in their chosen crafts. These extracurricular “field trips” seemed to spark an ever-present curiosity in their approach to the material they were studying.

What topics do courses and workshops cover?

In my new role as the Continuing Education Coordinator, I am evaluating the content of many of these same courses.

As you can imagine, many amazing conferences, workshops and home study courses pass over my desk for review.  

These courses have been carefully constructed by experienced leaders in the fitness industry who are presenting classes that fitness professionals can take to improve their skills at any level.

And, their topics run the whole gamut — from developing choreography to mastering elements of elegant yoga poses. They provide methodology workshops on how to set up your own Boot Camps or how to market your sessions to targeted groups like AARP members. From trainings in indoor cycling to courses related to how to engage your client and start up your business to how to apply functional training and sound assessment principles in to your daily sessions, the list goes on.

While we all love to learn more about exercise science, I am sure you will agree it is the application of the science that brings it all full circle.

As the list of these courses is as varied as there are ways to move, all of these course presenters have one thing in common — they are savvy to the fact that involving you in a workshop or conference, or engaging you in a DVD or online course of interest, will help you begin to really grasp what you have been learning, taking your expertise to a higher level. You will begin to quickly, “get it” and you’ll start to find that the following equation is true:

Exercise Science + Creativity + Planning = A Career in Fitness!

As a new fitness professional, you will continue to explore different paths in the industry as you finish up your studies. You will step up and take the test, and then all of a sudden — poof! — you will be out there in the fitness arena! Soon, you will be the professional who engages others as you continue to become more inspired!

And, as you expose yourself to different types of courses and workshops, you will begin to get a feel for what types of clients you want to work with, and in what environment. Your expertise will kick up a notch as your continuing education now has progressed to a new level.

So, what’s my advice to you as you progress through your studies? Take a few continuing education home study courses, such as this free ACE IFT webinar; or, go to a local conference or workshop! Get your training for yourself, as only YOU can be your best advocate.

By Robin Floyd
Robin Floyd

Robin Floyd, BS is the Continuing Education Coordinator for the American Council on Exercise, and has been with the ACE team for eight years.  Robin holds a BS in Exercise Science from San Diego State University, and is an ACE-certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and Health Coach. She is also certified with ACSM as a Health Specialist. Robin owns NCFit Events in Carlsbad, CA. NCFit Events provides in-home personal training, boot camps and also facilitates fitness and wellness retreats. For over 20 years, Robin has assisted in the event coordination of the Tri-City Hospital Carlsbad Marathon and Half Marathon, The Susan G Komen Race for the Cure and Chelsea's Run.

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