I have the 3rd edition of the ACE Personal Trainer Manual. Do I need to purchase the 4th edition to pass the exam?
The third edition of the ACE Personal Trainer Manual, which was published a decade ago, was updated to a fourth edition in 2010. Here is a summary of the differences between the two editions, which will help you decide whether or not you should purchase the newer materials or if you can get by with using the older edition.
ACE certification committees regularly write new exam questions, which are then rotated into the certification exams as experimental questions. (Remember those experimental items are not included as part of your overall score.) If the new questions perform well, those questions can replace older and outdated items on future exams. If they perform poorly, they are retired before they ever appear as an actual scored question. The psychometricians (test designers) at our testing agency use statistical analysis to determine if a question performs well or if it needs to be removed.
A similar approach was taken when the previous edition of the ACE Personal Trainer Manual was updated. Some information, such as the chapters focused on exercise science, did not change much between editions. The first four chapters focusing on the essentials of exercise science that was included in the third edition, however, was pulled out of the 4th edition and published as a separate manual. The content in this area (anatomy, physiology, kinesiology) has largely remained the same. However, you’ll need to make sure you are up-to-date on the latest nutrition standards.
However, other information, particularly in the areas of risk stratification, posture and physiological assessments and programming for cardiorespiratory and resistance training, underwent significant changes, based on current findings from science and research.
The further we move into the future, the more the certification questions reflect the updated standards and guidelines referenced in the 4th edition materials. This means that candidates using the 3rd edition materials may need to seek out the most updated information on topics that have changed, including industry updates on topics such as ACSM guidelines, nutrition standards, the ACE IFT Model, the new functional testing principles and how to assess and design cardio programs using HR at VT1 and VT2. All of these topics are covered in the 4th edition materials.
If you decide to stick with the older edition, you should considering purchasing the updated Online Diagnostic practice tests and/or review course. If any questions or topics arise that have not been covered in your material, you would then be able to seek out answers to those questions.
So, while you may be successful with the 3rd edition manual, you will increase your chances of success by using the 4th edition materials, because they include the most up-to-date information that will be addressed on the latest exam. Even if you are just finishing up your study prep with the 3rd edition of the ACE Personal Trainer Manual, it may be worthwhile to purchase the ACE Personal Trainer Manual 4th Edition Set, without purchasing the complimentary study material associated with the 4th edition. The manual set can be a helpful addition to your existing materials for purposes of preparing for the exam (and as a reference source for your career as a personal trainer), as it will include the aforementioned updates. The 4th edition manual also includes many new and expanded exercise science and behavioral strategies based on research completed since the 3rd edition manual was published in 2003.
And if that wasn’t enough reason, the 4th edition manual is a superior reference for practical application following the achievement of certification and the Integrated Fitness TrainingTM (ACE IFTTM) Model. It’s the book you’ll refer to again and again in your work as a fitness professional.
Please contact Educational services at 800825-3636, Ext. 782, to discuss your options.