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The Holidays are Here – To Study or Not to Study?

The Holidays are Here – To Study or Not to Study? | American Council on Exercise | Exam Preparation Blog | 12/10/2012


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The holidays are right around the corner, which for most of us is a busy, hectic time of year. Between the cooking, the shopping, the parties and the constant arrival of guests at your doorstep, it's hard to stick to your normal daily routine. For those of you studying for your certification exam, part of that daily routine involves studying. While we understand that, with all the other activities going on, you probably won't be able to study as much as you normally would, we suggest putting your study schedule into "maintenance mode." Just like physical activity, quitting cold turkey can cause you to lose motivation, making it harder to start back up again after the holidays. Here are few tips on how to squeeze in time to study for your certification exam:

Pick a few topics to review and break them down into small manageable portions so you can do a little at a time.

We understand that the amount of content required for the certification exam can be overwhelming. In fact, many of you may feel as though you'll never get through all the materials or be able to remember all of the terms, exercises and topics. This is why we suggest breaking topics down into smaller, more manageable portions. The holidays are the perfect time to go over the topics that you are struggling with the most. By making time for short study sessions throughout the holidays, you'll have these topics memorized and can check them off your list once you get back to your regular study routine.

Don't be afraid to take some time to relax and enjoy the season—sometimes this helps us to recharge our batteries and come back ready to go.

Just as you need breaks in your fitness routine to allow your muscles to repair, you also need breaks from studying to help you recharge and let the information sink in. You'll be surprised how much information you've retained when you resume your normal study schedule again.

Pick out some chapters that seem the most fun to you and just read them for pleasure to eliminate the pressure of studying.

You have at least one good reason (and probably more) for taking your certification exam—you're passionate about fitness. Instead of thinking of your manual as a textbook that you HAVE to read, think of it as a book you CHOOSE to read because you love the topic. Pick your favorite chapter or two and read it at your own pace, just for fun. Not only will you better retain the information from reading it a second time, but you'll probably pick up on things you missed the first time.

This is a great time to take a break from reading and pop in the DVD that is included in our ACE manual.

The ACE's Essentials of Applied Anatomy & Kinesiology DVD goes over the most important content from the Essentials of Exercise Science book: anatomy, kinesiology, biomechanics and exercise physiology. Watching this DVD is a great idea over the holidays, because it introduces you to many of the topics you will need to understand for the exam. It will also help familiarize you with much of the terminology used throughout the exam. ACE's Practical Guide to Exercise Coaching, the DVD included with the ACE Personal Trainer Manual, covers many of the exercises described in the manual—what the exercises look like and how they should be performed—to help you to visualize them during the exam.

Many people learn best by doing, so practice the exercises described in the book.

There are many exercises described in detail in the ACE Personal Trainer Manual and the corresponding DVD, and some of these exercises are referenced on the actual exam. Taking some time to practice the exercises in the book is a good way to learn their names and how to perform them, as well as give yourself a break from the more rigorous studying you have been doing so far. Performing the actual exercises will help you to remember them and be able visualize yourself doing them when you take the actual exam.

By incorporating these easy tips into your holiday study schedule, you'll be refreshed once you get back to your normal routine in January. And, by employing different studying and learning techniques, you will undoubtedly have perfected a wide range of topics. Happy Holidays from ACE!