Home Curiosity How to Study for the NASM Exam: A Complete Guide

How to Study for the NASM Exam: A Complete Guide

personal training

Out of all the personal training certifications, you decided that NASM-CPT is the one for you. It has many specializations, so you’ll be able to land any type of fitness coaching job.

However, due to the material’s complexity, you find it hard to study for the exam. Don’t let the frustration get to you. Instead, follow our guide below to help you study the material efficiently.

1. Schedule Your Exam

It may seem counterproductive, but scheduling the exam first is a great way to enhance your studying sessions. Instead of studying for what seems like an eternity, you’ll have a clear timetable in front of you.

As a result, you’ll have to create a studying schedule and hold yourself accountable. Furthermore, it can help enhance how well you retain information since you’ve planned reviews for each section accordingly.

2. Get your CPR/AED Certification Before the Exam

Having an updated CPR/AED certification is one of the prerequisites needed before becoming a full-fledged personal trainer. So it’s in your best interest to get it before you take your exam to avoid delays afterward.

You can still take the test without it. But you’ll need to ensure you submit your certification before a one-year time frame, or you’ll have to resit the exam.

3. Use Study Guides

The NASM study guide is an effective resource to help you prepare for the certification exam. It breaks the content down into different sections outlining the material you’ll see on the test.

Furthermore, It’ll help increase your studying efficiency because you won’t have to worry about studying irrelevant information. Oh, and did we mention it’s free? 


4. Get Help From Flashcards

Your brain is like a sponge; because it absorbs so much, studying the complex concepts can get overwhelming. There are many definitions and exercise science components that you’ll need to know.

At some point, you’ll probably wonder why you decided to torture yourself with this certification process. But you can mitigate some stress with the help of flashcards.

Flashcards have always been a helpful memorization technique because they efficiently work the information into your brain. Furthermore, it gives your brain a rest because instead of looking at pages of text, you have a stack of flashcards with the most relevant information.

As you start reviewing your flashcards, you may feel like they’re not working. Don’t worry; your brain is getting used to the new study method. Repetition is vital when using flashcards, so the more you review, the better chance you’ll have at remembering the information.

5. Progression and Regression Are Essential

When you become a NASM-CPT, it’ll be your job to create a fitness plan aligned with your client’s goals. However, sometimes things don’t always go as planned, which can be either good or bad.

Your client may be progressing faster than expected, so you may need to tweak their program. But if you feel like they can’t keep up with what you’ve created, you’ll need to scale back their regiment, so there’s no discomfort.

6. Take Practice Tests

With the amount of material, you’ll be covering, forgetting something is inevitable. But that’s why you have practice tests.

These exams have material that resembles the actual exam. By taking them a few times, you’ll be able to figure out where your weaknesses are. 

As a result, you can put more energy into studying those sections. Then you can retake the practice exam to see if your efforts have paid off.

Once you get a score to your liking, you’ll have confidence in your abilities and know that you can pass the real exam. (1)

7. Mnemonic Phrases Can Help

You’ve probably used mnemonics from time to time without evening knowing it. Here’s one that will jog your memory:

“Thirty days has September, April, June, and November. All the rest have 31..”

No one really knows hows it ends, but do you remember that rhyme? It was an easy way to remember the number of days in certain months. That’s what mnemonics are—phrases that can help you remember important information.

Exercise science is filled with many complex topics, and using mnemonics can make it easier to process that information. You can use a rhyme (like above), create a song, or use acronyms.

These Tips Can Help You Study for the NASM Exam

The NASM exam is challenging, but studying doesn’t have to be. If you follow these suggestions and prepare accordingly, you should be just fine.

Take your time preparing beforehand and when you sit for the exam, trust your instincts. You’ve put in a decent amount of effort to get to this point.

There’s no reason to overthink anything. Attack the exam with enthusiasm, get your certification, and land the personal training job of your dreams. (2)