If you’re considering an ACSM certification, you may be asking, “what do I need to do to prepare?”
The short of it is that there is no one-size-fits-all study plan. Every person has a different way of learning and level of experience with the material. The great news is that everyone can benefit from these essential ACSM exam study tips.
The exam content outline will give you an idea of the breadth and depth of content that will be addressed on an exam. In addition, the exam content outline provides a list of job tasks that are related to each content area.
2. Review each job task and its related complexity
From this, create a checklist of areas that are your strengths (i.e., you have deep understanding of the theories/methods, have direct practical experience putting the theory or method into practice) or need to improve (i.e., you are unfamiliar and/or lack experience with the theory, method or concept).
Use the personalized checklist from tip #2 to help you guide your time and effort
This one speaks for itself.
4. Select the study materials that best fit you
ACSM has study materials that can be used for most study methods. Some folks like reading textbooks and doing practice questions, while others like to attend live workshops to be able to interact with an instructor. Once you select the resources that best fit your needs, you'll be off and running from there.
5. Establish your timeline and commit
Another question you may be asking is, “how long should I study?” This answer is similar to that above – everyone is different. Most take between 3 and 9 months to prepare, depending on their relevant experiences. At the end of the day, one of the most important steps that you can take is to commit to an exam date.
Write down when you plan to take the exam and then write out the steps you need to take to get there. For example, how many chapters you need to read per week, when you plan to review practice questions, and how and when you will do a final prep before your exam. Selecting an exam day and writing out your study plan can help you stay focused when you have competing priorities.
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