JESSA OLSON WELLNESS: My thoughts of ACE Certified Personal Training Certification



Friday, August 14, 2020

My thoughts of ACE Certified Personal Training Certification

I have been a trainer 2017. When I decided to become a personal trainer it came down to 2 different certifications. I actually researched so much about what certification I wanted to get a certification that I could take anywhere with me. (Hello baseball life) In the end I thought American Council of Exercise (ACE) was the best fit.


When I was deciding on becoming a trainer I was working as an Admissions Representative in the for profit sector. I liked my job of helping people but I wanted something different. So I didn't know much about fitness, and wanted a program that was going to help me. It came down between ACE and another agency. I decided I would start with ACE because of the monthly payments and access to information. ACE has monthly interest free payments. Now most programs do but 4 years ago they didn't. I love how ACE does interest free payments. I chose the most expensive plan because it offered the most amenities. I wanted to get as much information as I could.

I started to study online before I got the books. I read the first chapter and was so excited about new career path. In the first chapter ACE mentions that it should take about 3 months to get certified if you study about 10 hours a week. I planned out about 6 months to take the test. I know that I am horrible at taking test, so I gave myself more studying time.

My breakdown was 1 chapter each week, ideally. But I gave myself grace on chapters that needed more time. (I’m looking at your anatomy) My process was to read the chapter. Then online I took the quiz. ACE has it set up that you had to get at least 70% to pass the chapter. After the quiz, you can go back and see which ones you missed. They give you the page number to go back and read. I took my physical book and bend the corner of the book to go back and review.

If you need someone to help you more, you can call/email/online chat. I did this a few times, and honestly it depends on who you get. I called in the first time and they just told me to read the book. The answer was there. I felt defeated because I just wasn’t getting it. I called back on a different topic and talked to someone different, and they were extremely helpful. They made sure that I understood the topic and a variety of situations that could arise.

One thing that I would say was hard for me during my studying is I was already working in the fitness industry. I was seeing things that didn’t align with the book. For example, ACE says new trainers struggle with what: getting new clients over marketing, their own works, and 2 other possible answers. I ALWAYS would respond sales/marketing because that is what I was seeing. The gym I worked out the trainers just expected to be given clients. They had ZERO problems getting their own workouts. But for ACE it was getting their own workouts. New trainers have trouble getting in their own workouts. So you have to just go with what the book says.

The Test

To set up the exam, you’ll do that through the ACE portal. You need to make sure you are CPR certified.  Once you get the facility to take the exam, you have to leave everything in the car or some places have lockers. ACE provides everything in detail on what to expect. So I didn’t bring anything with me. The weirdest rule for me was my jacket couldn’t have any pockets. 

The test is 3 hours long with 125 questions. (100 questions are graded, 25 are sample questions and not graded.) They will give you scrap paper if you need it. One place gave me a white board. You’ll put in your information, and the computer will ask 2-3 times if you are ready. Once you enter the exam you have 3 hours and you can’t stop it. Even if you go to the restroom your time is still going. 

My strategy for the test was go through and answer all questions on first instinct. If I was unsure I flagged the question to come back later. After I answered I went back to the flagged questions, and read through the question and answers slowly. Then used process of elimination to answer the question. Sometimes I thought 2 of them could be in answer, but had to think what is the BEST answer. After that I went back to the beginning and read every question and did a tally system. On one of the pages I put yes, no, unsure. I would mark a tally for each question. I would use all 3 hours. After the 3 hours, the test will stop and you’ll need to check mark a few things. Then the computer will tell you if you passed or failed. 

ACE is broken up into 4 categories, and the person at the front will give you a print out. It will give you percentages of how you did in each category. If you pass, CONGRATULATIONS! You’ll get the paper copy of your certificate in a few weeks. If you didn’t, you can resign up for another test. It is $125 for any retest unless you purchased the package that has a retake test.

For my first certification in the fitness industry I enjoyed it. Fitness is a second career choice for me, so I was just taking all the information in to apply it to my clients. I loved all the learning tools that ACE has to help you study. I recommend ACE Certified Personal Training to anyone who is interested in becoming a personal trainer. 

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