The passing score for all ACSM certification exams is set in advance and applied to all candidates' exam results. Similar to exam scoring for a wide variety of other high stakes, national standardized exams (e.g., GRE, SAT, GMAT, etc.), ACSM certification exams are reported on a 200-800 score scale.
Specifically, all candidates are expected to meet the passing standard of a scaled score of 550 in order to receive a "Pass" on any respective ACSM certification exam. This passing standard is based upon the expectations of the subject matter experts/test developers across all topics of the competency areas, as related to each respective credential's examination blueprint. Passing candidates are expected to answer a sufficient number of test questions correctly that demonstrates a summative amount of knowledge at a level of at least minimal competency or the lowest acceptable score to pass the exam.
Finally, each content area is weighted proportionally, based on the results of a periodic comprehensive job task analysis/role delineation study. In other words, some content areas are more important (thus, have more questions) and count more with respect to the overall score than other content areas. On the score report, candidates receive their overall score, their pass/fail status, as well as a breakdown by each specific content area (either by a percentage or a sub-section scale score, respectively).