How to prepare for the ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist Exam?

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Prepare for the ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist Exam

Through individualized patient education, behaviour change, and primary and secondary prevention strategies, ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-CEP) helps patients achieve long-term physical, social, and economic independence. The test’s difficulty makes sense when you consider the level of development granted to those who receive the certificate, as well as the level of credibility it confers on the successful candidates.

Let us now look at the best preparation for the ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-CEP) Exam!

About ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-CEP) Exam

The American College of Sports Medicine administers the ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-CEP) examination. This exam provides you with the most up-to-date educational and practical experience standards in the health and fitness industry. CSM-CEPs use prescribed exercise, basic health behavior interventions, and promote physical activity for people with chronic diseases or conditions.

Such as cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, orthopaedic, musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, neoplastic, immunologic, and hematologic diseases. This document contains primary and secondary prevention strategies aimed at improving, maintaining or slowing declines in fitness and health in populations ranging from children to the elderly.

Exam Prerequisites

You will undoubtedly reach great heights in your career after successfully becoming a Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist. However, you will need a few things as prerequisites. These are the items:

  • A bachelor’s degree in exercise science or an equivalent degree, as well as 1,200 hours of clinical hands-on experience, are required.
  • A master’s degree in clinical exercise physiology and 600 hours of clinical experience is required.

How to qualify Certified Clinical Exercise PhysiologistACSM-CEP Exam?

In a nutshell, there is no one-size-fits-all study strategy. Everyone learns differently and has a different level of experience with the material. The good news is that these essential ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist exam study tips apply to everyone. Let us begin with the strategy –

1. Know about the Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist Exam Syllabus

This initial step is very important to get a complete idea about the exam –

Domain I: Patient Assessment

A. Assess a patient’s medical record for information related to their visit.

B. Interview patient regarding medical history for their visit and reconcile medications

C. Obtain and assess resting biometric data (e.g., height, weight, ECG, arterial oxygen saturation, blood glucose, body composition, spirometry).

D. Determine a sufficient level of monitoring/supervision based on a preparticipation health screening.

E. Assess patient goals, needs, and objectives based on health and exercise history, motivation level, and physical activity readiness.

Domain II: Exercise Testing

A. Select, administer, and interpret submaximal aerobic exercise tests (e.g., treadmill, step test, 6-minute walk).

B. Select, administer, and interpret tests to assess musculoskeletal fitness, mobility, and balance.

C. Select, prepare and administer maximal, symptom-limited exercise tests.

D. Evaluate and report the result from a symptom-limited maximal exercise test to medical providers and in the medical record as required.


E. Identify relative and absolute contraindications for test termination and report to medical personnel as needed.

Domain III: Exercise Prescription

A. Develop an individualized exercise prescription to support patient needs and goals for various exercise environments (e.g., home/community-based, facility-based, virtual).

B. Communicate the exercise prescription, including the use of exercise equipment, and the importance of promptly reporting any adverse reactions or symptoms.

C. Explain and confirm patient understanding of exercise intensity and measures to assess exercise intensity (e.g., target heart rate, RPE, signs/symptoms, talk test).

D. Evaluate and modify the exercise prescription based on the patient’s compliance, signs/symptoms, and physiologic response to the exercise program, as needed.

Domain IV: Exercise Training and Leadership

A. Discuss and explain the exercise training plan, patient, and clinician expectations, and goals.

B. also, Identify, adapt and instruct in cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, and agility exercise modes.

C. furthermore, As indicated, provide patient monitoring (e.g., pulse oximetry, biometric data) and supervision during exercise.


D. moreover, Evaluate the patient’s contraindications to exercise training and associated risk/benefit and modify the exercise/activity program accordingly.

E. also, Evaluate, document, and report the patient’s clinical status and response to exercise training in medical records.

F. furthermore, Discuss clinical status and response to exercise training with patients and adapt and/or modify the exercise program, as indicated.

G. moreover, Promptly report new or worsening symptoms and adverse events in the patient’s medical record and consult with the responsible health care provider.

Domain V: Education and Behavior Change

A. Continually evaluate patients using observation, interaction, and industry-accepted tools, to identify those who may benefit from counseling or other mental health services using industry-accepted screening tools.

B. also, Assess patients’ understanding of their disease and/or disability and conduct education to teach the role of lifestyle in the prevention, management, and treatment of the disease.

C. Apply health behavior change techniques (e.g., Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy [CBT], Health Coaching) based upon assessment of readiness to change according to Transtheoretical Model (TTM)

D. Also, Promote adherence to healthy behaviors through a patient-centered approach (e.g., addressing barriers, engaging in active listening, expressing interest and empathy, increasing self-efficacy, teaching relapse prevention techniques, and identifying support).

Domain VI: Legal and Professional Responsibilities

A. Evaluate the exercise environment and perform regular inspections of any emergency equipment and practice emergency procedures (e.g., crash cart, activation of emergency procedures) per industry and regulatory standards and facility guidelines.

B. Follow industry-accepted scopes of practice, ethical, legal (e.g., data privacy, informed consent), and business standards.

2. Know about the Exam Format

Multiple-choice questions make up the ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist® (ACSM-CEP) examination. This examination will last 225 minutes in total. If you are a member, this Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist exam will cost you $279. However, if you are not a member, the examination will cost you $349. In addition, if you wish to reappear, the examination fee will be $175.

3. Is exercise physiology a good career to explore?

Over the last five years, there has been strong job growth in allied health professions such as clinical exercise physiology and physiotherapy, and the Australian Jobs Outlook predicts even stronger job growth in the coming years, with up to 25,000 job openings by 2020. An exercise physiologist’s median annual salary ranges from $47,501 to $50,000. Years of experience resulted in a higher salary. Those with an ACSM clinical exercise certification earned $5,000 more per year than those without.

4. Refer to the Learning Resources

Now that we are completely aware of the Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist exam syllabus as well as the scope of the exam, it’s time to move to the learning resources to crack the exam in one go!

Reference Books

It is critical to study from the correct book. This Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist examination has a plethora of books available on the market. You can also consult the ACSM’s official book. This book will assist you in preparing for the exam:

  • ACSM’s Clinical Exercise Physiology: This book offers research-based coverage of more than 35 conditions commonly seen in practice—from a host of cardiovascular disorders to immunological/haematological disorders. 
Join Study Groups

It is critical to interact with people who share a common goal in life. Joining study groups is a good way to fully immerse yourself in the certification exam for which you applied. These groups will keep you up to date on the most recent changes or updates to the exam. In addition, both beginners and professionals are represented in these groups. You can also participate in live chats and discussions by joining the ACSM – Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist Facebook Study Group page.

Evaluate yourself with Practice

It is critical to practice what you have learned so that you can analyze your practice. By practicing, you will be able to improve your answering skills, which will save you a lot of time. Furthermore, the best time to begin doing practice tests is after you have completed one full topic, as this will serve as a revision component for you. ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist Free Practice Test

Bonus Tip!

“How long should I study?” is another question you may have. This answer is simple – everyone is unique. Depending on their relevant experience, most take between 3 and 9 months to prepare. At the end of the day, committing to an exam date is one of the most important steps you can take.

Write down when you intend to take the Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist exam and the steps you will need to take to get there. For example, how many chapters do you need to read per week when you intend to review practice questions, and how and when you intend to do final prep before your exam. When you have competing priorities, choosing an exam day and writing out your study plan can help you stay focused. Hurry up and start preparing right now!

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