Free RCEP Test Overview

The Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist (RCEP) Exam is a certification examination written by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and administered by Pearson VUE that is designed to determine if an individual possesses the skills and knowledge necessary to help patients recover from a variety of conditions through exercise and physical activity. This exam assesses the individual's knowledge of the techniques used to evaluate the health and fitness of each patient, the exercise techniques used to aid in the treatment of various conditions, fundamental concepts of human behavior, safety procedures, injury prevention procedures, risk factors that can be involved in treating a patient through exercise, exercise science, and a variety of similar topics related to treating patients through the use of exercise.

This exam is required in order to become certified as an ACSM registered clinical exercise physiologist. However, an individual may not need the ACSM RCEP certification if he or she already has another similar certification or if a certification is not required for the particular position that the individual is pursuing. The exam consists of approximately 125 to 150 multiple-choice questions that relate to the following areas:

  • Health Appraisal and Fitness Exercise Training (Approximately 25%)
  • Exercise Prescription/Training and Programming (Approximately 21%)
  • Exercise Physiology and Exercise Science (Approximately 19%)
  • Medical and Surgical Management (Approximately 13%)
  • Pathophysiology and Risk Factors (Approximately 9%)
  • Human Behavior (Approximately 5%)
  • Safety Procedures, Injury Prevention Procedures, and Emergency Procedures (Approximately 4%)
  • Program Administration, Quality Assurance, and Outcome Assessment (Approximately 4%)

The exam-taker will have 3 hours to complete the exam and the exam will be scored on a scale of 200 - 800 with 550 set as the minimum score considered as passing for the exam. In order to register for the RCEP Exam, the individual interested in pursuing certification must have a master's degree or higher in exercise science, exercise physiology, kinesiology, or movement science from an accredited program, a current Basic Life Support Provider certification or a current CPR Professional Rescuer certification, and an ACSM Exercise Specialist certification or 600 hours of experience in a clinical setting related to treatment through exercise. If the individual meets all of the necessary requirements, he or she may register for the exam by submitting an application to ACSM by mail. The individual will then receive an approval letter with instructions on how to schedule a testing date with Pearson VUE. The current registration fee for the exam is $239 dollars for ACSM members and $299 for nonmembers.

Free RCEP Practice Test Questions

1. What is the most appropriate order for testing during a fitness assessment?

a. Resting measurements of heart rate and blood pressure, flexibility, cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular fitness, then body composition
b. Body composition, resting measurements of heart rate and blood pressure, cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular fitness, then flexibility
c. Body composition, resting measurements of heart rate and blood pressure, muscular fitness, cardiorespiratory fitness, then flexibility
d. Resting measurements of heart rate and blood pressure, body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular fitness, then flexibility

2. What is the most appropriate reason for selecting maximal testing on an individual?

a. It is the most effective way to diagnose coronary artery disease.
b. It is the least expensive form of testing.
c. It does not require the presence of a physician.
d. It is the most appropriate way to test an obese individual.

3. Which of the following best describes clinical exercise testing done before a patient is discharged from the hospital following a myocardial infarction?

a. Most insurance will only cover the clinical exercise testing if it is done as an in-patient.
b. It is necessary in order to determine what medications should be prescribed for the patient.
c. The most appropriate time for clinical exercise testing is at least three weeks following a myocardial infarction.
d. Clinical exercise testing is needed to assess the patient's ability to complete activities of daily life (ADLs).

4. A pregnant woman in her twentieth week was referred to you by her physician for an exercise prescription. She is now 28 weeks into her pregnancy and has been diagnosed with incompetent cervix. Her pre-gravida body mass index was 32 kg/m2 and she has a history of heavy smoking, but she did quit when she learned of her pregnancy. She has a history of hypertension, but it has been well controlled. Which of the following would be an absolute contraindication to continuing her exercise prescription?

a. Body mass index of 32 kg/m2
b. History of heavy smoking
c. Incompetent cervix
d. History of hypertension

5. What information would you obtain from the pacemaker code DDDR?

a. Both the atrium and ventricle is paced and sensed, dual action can pace or hold pacing depending upon the chamber the event is located in, and the pulse generator rate is rate modulated through an activity sensor.
b. The ventricle is paced, the atrium is sensed in a dual chamber, and the rate is modulated.
c. The atrium is paced and sensed, the ventricle is sensed, dual action can pace or hold pacing depending upon the chamber the event is located in, and the pulse generator rate is rate modulated through an activity sensor.
d. Both chambers are paced and it is a dual chamber pacemaker.

Answers & Explanations

1. D. If a person needs to complete the entire fitness testing in one session, there is a particular order that is recommended. The first test that should be done is any resting measurements that need to be take including heart rate and blood pressure. Next would be assessment of body composition. It is important that this be completed prior to any exercise portion because hydration status can affect certain types of body composition analysis. Next would be the cardiorespiratory fitness assessment. It is important to complete this testing before muscular fitness or flexibility because both of those can impact heart rate and not provide an accurate result. Next should come muscular fitness testing. It is important to allow appropriate rest time after cardiorespiratory fitness testing before tests are given for muscles. Lastly, flexibility assessment should be completed. At this time, the person's body has had time to warm up and stretch.

2. A. Maximal exercise testing is also known as graded exercise test (GXT) or stress test. This type of protocol uses small changes in physical workload and exercise requirements to push an individual to reach peak exertion or peak exhaustion. The main purpose of maximal testing is for diagnosis of coronary artery disease (CAD). This can be diagnosed even if the subject is not having symptoms. Maximal testing can also help to determine prognosis for someone who has a diagnosis of CAD and is also used to help determine an appropriate exercise prescription. This type of testing is typically the most expensive and requires highly trained clinicians to conduct the testing.

3. D. It is important to complete clinical exercise testing prior to discharge for a patient who is recovering from a myocardial infarction (MI). The timing of the test before discharge helps to assess the patient's ability to perform ADL's on their own. It is also useful in determining functional status. The next time clinical exercise testing should be done is approximately 3-6 weeks following an MI. This time frame enables the clinician to assess progress since hospital discharge. It is also used to design the appropriate exercise prescription. Medications can also be adjusted based on results. Maximal testing is the best way to determine the severity of heart disease and can help to identify the amount of ischemia present. This in turn will help to formulate prognostic information.

4. C. Exercise requirements during pregnancy are similar to that of the normal non-pregnant population, which is approximately 30 minutes per day most days per week of moderate intensity exercise. In pregnancy, it is recommended that the goal is at least three days per week. Those women who are obese or who did not have a very active lifestyle pre-pregnancy should always consult a physician before initiating an exercise program. In this woman's case, the incompetent cervix would be an absolute contraindication to exercise given the risk to the baby. Other absolute contraindications would be multiple gestation pregnancy with the risk of premature delivery, ruptured membranes, placenta previa after 26 weeks, persistent bleeding during the second or third trimester or restrictive lung disease. In these situations, exercise may compromise the integrity of the pregnancy and lead to death of the fetus.

5. A. Pacemakers are used to help normalize cardiac function and normalize cardiac rhythms. Common diagnoses that may require pacemaker placement are atrioventricular block or sick sinus syndrome. There are single chambered pacemakers that have one lead only in either the right atrium or right ventricle. There are dual chamber pacemakers that have one lead in the right atrium and one in the right ventricle. Pacemakers typically have four letter codes to identify its function. The first letter identifies which chamber is paced, the second tells which is sensed, the third letter refers to the pacemakers response to a sensed event (either no response, inhibits, triggers or does both). The fourth letter refers to whether the pacemaker is rate responsive or inhibited. A DDDR pacemaker is one where both the atrium and ventricle are both paced and sensed and the pacemaker can either inhibit or trigger depending upon the location of the event and it is rate modulated.


Last Updated: 03/01/2017

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