But can you talk about it?
You’ve read your manuals…you’ve reviewed your flashcards…you’ve even memorized a whole bunch of muscles…but can you talk about what you know?
We’ve discussed before that the ACE certification exam is a comprehension exam rather than a memorize and regurgitate exam. The exam requires you to take a little bit from Chapter 5 and a little bit from Chapter 7 and maybe a bit from Chapter 2 to answer a specific question. It’s up to you as the candidate to figure out how these chapters relate to each other rather than just memorizing each chapter’s info by itself.
But how do you know when you’ve made those connections in your head?
The short answer is that you can talk about what you know. And by talk I mean explain a topic with more than just a question and answer. So how do you test yourself on this comprehension? Head to Appendix B in your manual where you will find the Exam Content Outline for your program.
We’ve talked about using the Exam Content Outline to focus your studies. Now, we want to talk about how to use the Exam Content Outline at the end of your study period to test your comprehension.
For my examples, I am going to use the Exam Content Outline in the ACE 4th edition Personal Trainer manual. But…the information applies to all ACE certification exams.
What I’m going to talk about is Domain 1, Task 4 (pg. 671) which states: Conduct appropriate baseline assessments based on the client interview, questionnaire information, and standardized protocols to establish a safe, effective exercise program and to track changes over time.
When I talk about this task it sounds like below:
“All right…baselines assessments include cardiovascular testing, body composition testing, flexibility and strength/endurance testing. Now, I want to make sure that I am doing the right tests for the client. If I have an older adult client I’m probably going to do a walking test, maybe a field test, rather than a step or bike test because it will be more accurate and provide a more positive testing experience. When doing body composition I will choose to do skinfold testing because although underwater weighing is the most accurate method, I don’t have the tank to do that. Now, older adults tend to have a higher percent body fat, because they have a lower muscle mass so I need to keep that in mind. Also, BMI is going to be an easy one to do, but it isn’t going to be as accurate because it isn’t measuring fat/fat free mass, just height and weight. I could do circumference measurements – this would be an easy pre-test/post-test comparison. This tracking how a client improves is important because it allows us to objectively measure their success. Tracking also lets us see what isn’t working so we can change it. And…”
I could go on for a while, but you get what I am saying. If you can look at a task and just talk about it, talk about the why and how come and the concerns, this is a sign that you comprehend how the material fits together. If you come across a task and you think to yourself, I don’t have any idea what they are talking about here, then that is a sign you may need to go back and study that concept/topic a little bit more.
One thing to keep in mind as you are looking at your Exam Content Outline – just focus on the Tasks. Ignore the Knowledge of: and the Skills in: information unless you need some hints regarding what you should talk about. The bold tasks are what you want to be able to talk about.
Once you feel comfortable discussing (not just answering) the tasks listed for each domain, you are on your way to better comprehension. I’d recommend starting this type of comprehension review in the last several weeks of your study. Consider it a chance to see where you should spend your final study hours.
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