As a personal trainer, you will pursue a career of assisting and directing people to make their lives and lifestyles much healthier. It is a demanding career path: one that requires a lot of attention to detail and knowledge of the human body. In many cases, only truly certified and professional people can be personal trainers, and there is only one way to see if you count: the NASM CPT Exam.
But what exactly is the NASM-CPT Test, and how do you pass it? Let’s find out.
What is on the NASM-CPT Test?
The National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer Test (more often known as the NASM-CPT Test) is the NASM’s personal and exclusive examination for potential certified personal trainers. The test is designed to weed out amateur personal trainers and create a field of certified ones who can effectively coach and critique their clients on their physical health, fitness, and exercise.
The NASM-CPT Test consists of some of the most in-depth and therefore difficult questions revolving around this field of fitness. The test will ask quite a bit from you in terms of health and fitness: you must know particular details about the human anatomy, how to properly maintain and grow musculature, know of the exercises and practices that will cause the least amount of harm to a client, and finally, understand if any of those decisions are approved by the carefully curated rules and regulations of the NASM.
The NASM-CPT Test consists of 120 questions. These questions are effectively split into six distinct Content Domains that cover a large amount of one’s career as a personal trainer. Passing this test means understanding these questions and knowing how to apply your knowledge effectively.
- The first Content Domain, “Basic and Applied Science and Nutritional Concepts,” is your knowledge of the human anatomy. Questions in this content domain test how well you understand how exercise and various fitness programs affect a person’s body, including biomechanics, caloric intake, and energy measurement.
- The second Content Domain, “Client Relations and Behavioral Coaching,” involves various topics and concepts, including client communication, educating clients on the ideal lifestyle, and how psychological hiccups and quirks can affect the exercise results.
- The third Content Domain, “Assessment,” measures your ability to make the proper assessments of the people you are training to build and design the perfect and appropriate fitness program for them, including weighing the risk facts and the overall composition of the client.
- The fourth Content Domain, “Program Design,” revolves around the ability to use the results of the third Content Domain to actively create programs for individual clients and adapt to their specific needs, wishes, and builds.
- The fifth Content Domain, “Exercise Technique and Training Instruction,” measures your knowledge of various techniques and exercises as a personal trainer. In this section, you are tested on your understanding of the safest and most effective exercise techniques for what your client needs, other more general techniques, and your general awareness of whether or not the current training needs modification and when.
- And finally, the sixth Content Domain, “Professional Development and Responsibility,” is an evaluation of your knowledge of rules and laws. In this content domain, you would answer questions about business basics, marketing practices, the limitations of the CPT, ethical standards, and the professional codes of conduct.
To become eligible for the NASM-CPT Test, you must have:
- a high school diploma or equivalent education,
- have Emergency Cardiac Care (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) certification,
- and a clear and genuine passion for health and fitness (this is highly recommended) before taking the exam.
Now that we have defined the test, indeed, you must be interested in what it entails…
Is NASM-CPT Test Multiple Choice?
Yes, indeed, all of the NASM-CPT test questions are multiple-choice. Specifically, there are four options for every one of the 120 questions. Multiple choice questions allow a degree of guesswork to pay off, compared to questions requiring short answers or questions that need you to tick certain boxes.
However, just because it is multiple choice doesn’t mean that you can discern the correct answers through common sense and guesswork alone. The answers will be close enough that you have to fully understand how a question can be answered (and how it isn’t answered) to get it correctly. In other words, multiple-choice is not an excuse to slack off.
Failing the test is always a possibility. But let’s say you do—can you retake the NASM-CPT Test and, if so, what is the upper limit for failure?
How Many Times Can You Take the NASM Exam?
If you failed to pass the NASM CPT Exam, it’s okay—you can retake the test at any time, for as many times you want or need. Unfortunately, it costs the same overwhelming fee each time, which means failure is very costly!
Fortunately, you only ever need to pass the NASM Exam once to become a certified personal trainer. But how difficult is that? How hard is the NASM Exam?
How Hard is the NASM Exam?
The NASM-CPT Test will not be easy in any regard. The test is designed so that only aspiring personal trainers who are very involved and eager to become a professional can pass. They will accept no quarter, as the difference between a bad personal trainer and an excellent personal trainer could make real life or death for your client, or at the very least, their worsening health. This career deals with people who desire a better, healthier life.
It will take you a lot of time, energy, and attention to dedicate yourself to passing the exam, hours upon hours of reading textbooks, listening to the experience of other certified personal trainers, and maybe even getting some of that experience yourself. But what you need most of all is a dedicated list of advice for you to find the right way to succeed, which is what this article is here for!
5 Tips on Passing Your NASM-CPT Test
Suppose you genuinely want to pass your NASM-CPT Test and become a legitimate, fully-fledged personal trainer. In that case, you have to dedicate yourself to an ongoing rigorous study and learning period. Do not take your task lightly if you want to succeed.
Thankfully, we have a few tips with which you can formulate your own study strategy and hopefully get yourself down and ready to start working hard and become a qualified personal trainer.
Read the Certified Handbook
The best and most relevant resource for your NASM-CPT Test needs, as well as what the organization expects of you as a personal trainer, is the National Academy of Sports Medicine Candidate Handbook. The Candidate Handbook is a handy guide and tool for understanding what a NASM certified personal trainer entails.
The NASM Candidate Handbook includes information on subjects and aspects of a personal trainer’s life: essential details about the certification prep options, certification eligibility, exam registration, how the NASM-CPT Tests are developed and scored, the code of conduct, including what you can and cannot do—basically, it has everything short of what the NASM-CPT Test answers are! Suppose you are interested in the program’s logistics, and you should definitely be interested in what lines you should and shouldn’t cross. In that case, you should definitely get yourself the NASM Candidate Handbook.
Get Some Personal Experience
If you are going to become a certified personal trainer, you are pursuing a future teaching others how to exercise and prepare for their health and fitness. If you want to know the best ways of doing that, you should be ready to do it yourself.
Get some advice and tips from other personal trainers. It would be best to get yourself into some uncertified personal training, such as an intern job, or work with someone you know and help coach their dietary and health regimen (with their consent, of course). This advice would be the most difficult to follow, but the rewards are certainly worth the difficulty when you can answer the test questions like you know the back of your muscled hand.
Get into the Study Guides
Various study guides go into the NASM-CPT Test, many of which will teach you how to approach the test and maximize your chance at a passing grade. According to the NASM, the official NASM CPT Exam Study Guide—the NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training–gives you a list of important technical details involving personal training and personal training.
Though costly on average and heftier and more in-depth than study guides for other practices, these study guides, if nothing else, grant you a concentrated look into what you should be researching for the NASM-CPT Test. You will learn to identify keywords and concepts or how specific ideas work in practice or other formats.
Understand the Test Questions
One critical factor towards your success is how well you can adequately comprehend what the questions are asking of you in the first place. Even if you know everything there is to know about being a personal trainer, that information is useless if you cannot apply it correctly.
Various practice tests will give you a run-through of some of the 120 questions that may or may not be available on the final exam. These often won’t be on the exam proper. Still, practice tests will give you an excellent idea of how these tests will be formatted and what they will ask of you, both in terms of how they are expected to be answered and how they will be presented, so you know exactly how to answer them.
Repeat Ad Nauseum
The true key to success in study isn’t just reading a book or working out, but the constant and regular exercise of doing so over and over again until these things become second nature. When you are finally at the test, you can’t rely on strict memory and surface-level understanding: the NASM-CPT Test will demand an innate knowledge and experience. You can only achieve this by putting yourself out there constantly until it’s beaten into your head. The brain is also a muscle, you know!
Create a schedule with which to study. We recommend spending an hour a day (or every other day) on each activity listed above, with designated breaks (it is equally as important that you let this information rest than to try to cram it all together at once).
Wrapping Things Up: How to Pass the NASM-CPT Test?
Like all tests and exams, the NASM-CPT Test will demand a lot from you as an experienced personal trainer. This trial will not be easy, and it will require a significant portion of your time to get ready. But it is also a test, and anyone can become a certified trainer if they put their mind and body to it. Dedicate yourself to this, and you too can pass the NASM-CPT Test.