American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Personal Trainer Exam

What is the ACSM Certified Personal Trainer exam?

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Personal Trainer exam is intended for candidates seeking professional certification in personal training. The exam was created using a Job Task Analysis (JTA) designed to ensure candidates have the requisite practice-related knowledge, skills, and abilities to become ACSM Certified Personal Trainers (ACSM-CPT). ACSM-CPTs work primarily with individuals seeking to enhance their personal fitness, including conducting lifestyle inventories, health screenings, and developing fitness goals. If you are seeking to become an ACSM-CPT, then you will want to sit for the ACSM-CPT exam.

Who is eligible to take the ACSM Certified Personal Trainer exam?

ACSM-CPT candidates who sit for the exam are 18 years or older and possess high school diplomas or GEDs. You will also need to seek CPR and AED certification. While additional education is not necessary to sit for the exam, successful personal trainers often have associates or bachelors-level coursework in sports management, personal training, nutrition, or similar fields.

How much does the ACSM Certified Personal Trainer exam cost?

The ACSM-CPT exam will cost you $279 as an ACSM member, or $349 as a non-member. Retakes are permitted and cost $175 each time.

What is the passing score for the ACSM Certified Personal Trainer exam?

The ACSM-CPT exam is scored on a scale of 200-800. The minimum passing score is 550. Your score will be available immediately after you finish the exam. If you do not pass the exam, you can retake it; however, you will need to receive a retesting voucher from Pearson VUE, and you must wait at least 15 days before sitting for the exam again.

What does the ACSM Certified Personal Trainer exam cover?

The ACSM-CPT exam is comprised of 150 multiple-choice items, of which 120 will count toward your final score. The remaining 30 questions function as unscored pilot test questions used to determine the questions’ efficacy in future tests. Because you will not be able to tell the difference between scored and unscored items, it is important to answer each question to the best of your ability. You will be given 165 minutes to complete the exam.

In terms of content, the ACSM-CPT exam is based on four weighted performance domains, each covering specific topics divided into cognitive levels (recall, application, and synthesis). The following outline provides the domains, weighted percentages per domain, cognitive levels, and general topics covered:

  • Domain I: Initial client consultation and assessment; 25%
    • Cognitive levels: Recall, application, synthesis
      • Covering: client consultation, effective communication, fitness testing, program design, physical assessment, behavioral readiness, risk factors, basic physical structures (e., skeletal, muscular, etc.), accurate measurement, assessing physical goals, and other related topics
  • Domain II: Exercise programming/implementation; 45%
    • Cognitive levels: Recall, application, synthesis
      • Covering: clients’ medical history, assessment results, exercise guidelines, exercise modalities, FITT-VP (frequency, intensity, time, type, volume, progression), exercise demonstration, client feedback, and other related topics
  • Domain III: Exercise leadership and client education; 20%
    • Cognitive levels: Application, synthesis
      • Covering: effective communication, behavioral strategies, motivational techniques, client education, and other related topics
  • Domain IV: Legal and professional responsibilities: 10%
    • Cognitive levels: Application, recall
      • Covering: collaboration with healthcare professionals, minimizing risk, developing a comprehensive risk management plan, ACSM’s Code of Ethics, industry-accepted business, ethical, and professional standards, copyright laws, intellectual property, client confidentiality, and other related topics

Test Preparation

Now that you have a better understanding of the general expectations, content, and structure of the ACSM-CPT exam, it’s time to begin preparing for exam day. The most effective means of guaranteeing you pass the ACSM-CPT exam on your first attempt is to thoroughly prepare using the most comprehensive test preparation materials you can find. Mometrix Test Preparation has you covered with the ACSM Exam Secrets study guide. The ACSM Exam Secrets study guide contains actual ACSM-CPT practice test questions, along with experts’ tips for reducing test anxiety, improving memory and recall, and enhancing overall test performance. 

In addition to the ACSM Exam Secrets study guide, Mometrix offers the most comprehensive ACSM Exam Flashcards, including even more ACSM-CPT practice test questions. Earn your ACSM-CPT certification: read the ACSM Exam Secrets study guide, evaluate your knowledge, skills, and abilities with the ACSM Exam Flashcards and Practice Test, and pass the ACSM-CPT exam on your first attempt. The sooner you pass the ACSM-CPT exam, the sooner you become an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer.