ACE Study Materials
There are several options offered on ACE's website. I chose one of the least expensive ones which included the
ACE Personal Trainer Manual, the Master the Manual study guide, and a practice test. Later I also ordered the ACE
Personal Trainer online practice test. With these materials alone I passed the test. (Note if you are an AARP
member you get 20% off ACE certification study materials and exams.)
ACE Personal Trainer Manual
Warning! If you start with the first 3 chapters it can be very intimidating. The first 3 chapters cover anatomy,
exercise physiology and kinesiology. Chapter 4 is Nutrition and is much easier to comprehend. I started with Chapter
4, highlighting the major points and answered the questions in the study guide. By the last chapter I was ready to
tackle the more difficult subjects in the first 3 chapters.
The above process which took me through the whole book took about a month. I was lucky to have the time to be
able to study several hours a day. Before starting a new day of studies I would review the questions/answers in the
study guide from previous chapters, thus reinforcing the learning. I had also highlighted major points in the book.
I then went through the entire book and study guide a second time. This time I wrote out the definitions of all the
words that are listed on the first page of each chapter in the study guide. This process of writing out the definitions
really reinforces the material in your brain. As I went through the book looking for the definitions I was actually
reading the book a second time. I also used the glossary in the back of the ACE Personal Trainer Manual for
definitions. Then for further reinforcement I again read the questions and answers in the study guide.
Time to take the practice test
Now I felt more ready to tackle the practice test. I used the test as a study material as well, taking the test a few times
even though I knew the answer from seeing it before. Nevertheless, it's funny how sometimes knowing the answer
before still doesn't help! There is a written simulation test as well. This definitely helps in answering the simulation
questions that you will get on the test. I also tried out my online test at this time. My first time around I passed it but
still missed quite a few questions. The great thing about it is that it gives you an explanation of all the answers along
with why all the other options are wrong. Very helpful and well worth the $29. I also took this test a few more times.
3 weeks to go
I had already digested all of the material but still had 3 weeks left to take the actual exam. I am glad I gave myself
this extra time. If there were days that I was just too tired to study I could now take a break, knowing that most of the
pressure of learning all this material was off of me. Now that I was not in such a rush to learn all the material so fast, I
could relax a little and study it again in less time. I went through the book one more time, noting all my highlighted
material, reading my definitions, and going through my answers in the study guide. It took about half the time now to
do this as before, because I understood the material so well. Each time I went through the book the material made
more and more sense. Things that seemed so overwhelming before suddenly clicked!
Special Attention to Formulas
There are several formulas that you should study for the ACE Personal Training Certification exam. They include
Karvonen formula, BMI index, calculating body fat percentage and desired weight change, calculating fat calories
and carb calories from a food listing, calculating 1RM and amount of reps, etc. With my extra time I could now go
over these formulas. During the last week before my test date, I went over them every day. I wanted to know them to
the point that they were automatic. You cannot bring in a calculator to the exam so you should get reacquainted with
your manual multiplication and division skills by practicing them on paper.
The website, acefitness.org, has a discussion board and one of the categories is "ACE exam candidates". I got alot
of helpful test-taking tips for the ACE Personal Training Exam from the friendly people on this board. Some people
try to remember the questions and post them. The problem with this is that the exam does not stay the same. The
exam I took had hardly any of the same questions as one of the posters on the board. Still it does help to know
those questions and learn the answers.
Time to Relax!
I found that during the last week, relaxing and not studying day in and day out was more beneficial than cramming
like crazy. It gave my brain some time to assimilate all the information and definitely took some of the stress away. I
still studied and reviewed all the material a few more times but just not every day and all day long.
In Summary - My Tips for taking the ACE Personal Trainer Certification Exam
- Start with Chapter 4 (then do chapters 1, 2 and 3 last the first time around)
- Highlight notable facts
- Answer questions in study guide after reading the corresponding chapter
- After finishing the whole book, go back a second time and define the words listed in the study guide's chapter
- Use the glossary in the ACE Personal Trainer Manual to help you with the definitions as well as reading
through the book again
- Do the practice tests that come with the manual (including the simulation problems) and do them a few times
- Order the additional online practice test and print out all the answers after taking the test (which includes all
- Go through the entire book a third time, this time reading your definitions, your highlighted facts and going
over the questions and answers in the study guide
- Write out major formulas and practice them, multiplying and dividing using paper and pen
- Read the discussion board for ACE Exam candidates on acefitness.org
- Use the last week to relax your mind and review major points, facts and formulas
- When taking the test, read the questions carefully, reading each option and eliminating the 2 obvious wrong
- Take educated guesses on the ones you absolutely don't know
- Visualize seeing on your computer screen the words: "Congratulations, you passed!"
Are you studying to take the ACE
personal trainer exam? On this page I
share with you how I studied for the ACE
personal trainer certification exam in
approximately 2 months and passed it!
How To Study for and
Pass the ACE Personal
Trainer Certification Exam