Fitness Certifications »
Continuing Education »
Professional Resources »
About ACE »
ACE Store »
Sales and Promotions »
ACE Partner Account »
Need Help? Call Us » (888) 825?3636
Follow ACE on

Answers to 6 Popular Questions About the Exam Content Outline

Answers to 6 Popular Questions About the Exam Content Outline  | Alexandra Link | Exam Preparation Blog | 11/29/2011


Sign up to receive relevant, science-based health and fitness news from ACE each month.

ACE personal trainer Exam Content Outline1. What exactly is the Exam Content Outline?

Each of the four ACE Certification Exams is created around its respective Exam Content Outline. These outlines are essentially the blueprints that our Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) use to write each exam. The exam questions are then validated by a sample of currently practicing ACE-certified professionals. Since the Exam Content Outline is used to write the exams, they can be very during your studies.

2. Where is my Exam Content Outline located?

The Exam Content Outline for each of the four ACE certifications is located in the respective manual in Appendix B near the end of book. You may also access these outlines via the ACE website for all four ACE certifications- Personal Trainer, Group Fitness InstructorHealth Coach and Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist.

3. How is the Exam Content Outline organized?

DOMAINS: Each of these outlines is divided up into four Domains. Domains are the major categories a fitness professional should understand thoroughly.

Domain 4, which encompasses the roles and responsibilities of a fitness professional, is consistent all four certifications. The other three Domains vary between each certification. For example, Personal Trainers need to know about ‘Client Interview and Assessment’ while Group Fitness Instructors need to know about ‘Group Leadership and Class Management.’

You will notice there is a breakdown of the total number of questions within each Domain. This information is helpful because it shows you which Domain to focus on while you study.

For example, in the Personal Trainer Exam Content Outline, you will see Domain 1 has 40 items, Domain 2 has 41 items, Domain 3 has 34 items, and Domain 4 has only 10. Given this breakdown, you can see that exam content places greater emphasis on Domains 1 and 2 instead of Domains 3 and 4. This means weight Domains 1 and 2 a little heavier during your studies; HOWEVER, please be sure NOT to ignore Domains 3 and 4 since to be a successful personal trainer, you need to be competent in ALL FOUR Domains.

TASK STATEMENTS: Each Domain has Task Statements, which describe the job-related functions for each Domain. The Task Statements include the functions you will need to be able to perform in order to become a certified and successful Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach, or Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist.

AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE/SKILL: In order to successfully understand and perform the job-related functions, we further direct your studies to the areas of knowledge and skill that you need to possess and understand. For example, you must have knowledge in the area of anatomy, kinesiology, etc. and you also must possess skills in client assessment, program design and progression, etc. when working with clients.

4. Why is the Exam Content Outline so lengthy?!

Good question! You’ll notice there are many areas of knowledge and skills that fall within more than one Task Statement. For example, anatomy is an area of knowledge that will appear in several task statements because it is a building block for many other skills.

5. When should I look at the Exam Content Outline?

As often as possible! Paralleling the Exam Content Outline while studying gives you the best advantage when preparing for the ACE Certification Exam. If you are just beginning your studies, then the Exam Content Outline should be one of the first things you read through so that you have a better understanding of what will be on the ACE Exam and what you will need to know as a fitness professional.

If you have already started your studies, but have not yet reviewed the Exam Content Outline, be sure to carve out some time to page through this important exam blueprint. This will help you determine whether or not you are spending your study time effectively.

If your studies are aligned with the Exam Content Outline, then continue to use the Outline to keep you on track as you progress through your studies. And if your studies are not paralleling the Outline, make sure to line them up because it will help you succeed.  

Regardless of where you are in your journey, it is always good to reference the Exam Content Outline throughout your studies to ensure you are on the road to success.

6. What if I need further assistance understanding the Exam Content Outline?

Please contact Educational Services for additional study assistance. They can be reached by email or by phone at 1-800-825-3636 ext. 782.