Here are 7 tips that you can utilize to set yourself up for success while studying for the National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Training program whether you are self-studying or apart of BCPTI.

  • Familiarize yourself with the NASM CPT exam format and content: The NASM CPT exam is a computer-based test that consists of 120 multiple-choice questions. The exam covers topics such as exercise science, nutrition, anatomy, assessment, and program design. Review the NASM CPT exam content outline and familiarize yourself with the format and structure of the exam.
    • Much of the difficulty around the NASM exam is the language of the exam. Questions aren’t asked in overly simple means but rather assessing your comprehension of the content relative to the language. Rote memorization will only get you so far.
    • Some questions are aimed at straight forward information from a single domain or section like anatomy, whereas other questions use multiple domains or chapters.
      • e.g., If a client has upper cross syndrome, if the pectoralis minor and sternoclomastoid are short, what exercises would I use in their warm up in the stability phase?
        • vs. In upper cross syndrome, what is NOT a lengthened muscle?
  • Create a study schedule: Depending on your current level of knowledge and experience, you may need anywhere from 8-16 weeks to prepare for the NASM CPT exam. Create a study schedule that allows you to review all of the content in the exam outline and provides you with enough time to practice applying the concepts you learn.

  • Study the NASM CPT textbook and supplemental materials: The NASM CPT textbook is the primary resource for studying for the exam. Read through the entire textbook and take notes on key concepts and terminology. Supplement your studying with additional resources, such as online videos or study guides, to reinforce your learning.
    • Read the chapter casually first to get an idea about the content without taking notes immediately
    • After you’ve read the chapter once, read it again and take notes so that you can process the information
    • Finally amalgamate your notes from your study sessions with additional resources.
  • Practice applying the concepts: The NASM CPT exam tests your ability to apply the concepts you learn to real-world scenarios. Practice applying the concepts you learn by completing practice exams and quizzes. This will help you identify areas where you need additional review and reinforce your understanding of the material.
    • Study with other students and explain concepts back to each other
  • Attend or listen to online review sessions: NASM offers online review sessions to help you prepare for the CPT exam. Attend these sessions to reinforce your learning and get additional support from NASM experts. Additionally, there are youtube videos and podcast style lectures that are beneficial for alternative ways of learning

  • Get hands-on experience: In addition to studying the material, you should also gain practical experience in personal training. Shadow a current personal trainer, or work as an intern at a gym or fitness center. This will help you gain practical experience and apply the concepts you learn to real-world scenarios.
    • Implement hands on activities by running assessments on friends and family and explain back the content. The more we use the information and through multiple senses (visual, auditory, tactile, etc), the more it will help to solidify the content.
  • Review and adjust your study plan: As you progress through your study plan, review your progress and adjust your plan as needed. Focus on areas where you need additional review and adjust your study schedule to ensure you’re on track to pass the exam.
    • Take the practice exams offered by the CPT program and each time you get things wrong, make a note and go back to study that section more thoroughly. Every answer you fill in, ask yourself, “why?”
    • Why is that the answer? Once you answer that, follow up with another why. This will help with encoding information from multiple sections rather than memorize content from individual chapters.
    • Set the date for your exam to create a deadline. Many individuals put off scheduling their exam until they feel ready and often get sidetracked in their lives so booking the date will help to create a sense of urgency as well as clarifying how much time you have.

By following this study plan, you’ll be well-prepared to pass the NASM CPT exam and start your career as a certified personal trainer. Good luck!

At BCPTI, we not only teach the NASM CPT program but also how to practically apply the science of personal training. Our program facilitates your learning through integrating traditional classroom learning with hands on coaching with our private gym and classroom. Our program is 8 weeks long and emphasizes service, science and sales.

Interested in becoming a certified personal trainer in British Columbia? Reach out to us below and we can get you started in fitness whether it’s a career change, side hustle, or just for your own passion.