2024 Edition

ACE Personal Trainer Practice Exam

Take this free ACE Personal Trainer practice exam to get an idea of the type of questions that appear on the actual certification exam.

The ACE Personal Trainer exam is comprised of 150 multiple-choice questions based on 4 subject areas. These subject areas are broken down as follows:
  • Client Onboarding and Assessments
  • Program Design and Implementation
  • Program Modifications and Progression; and
  • Risk Management, Professional Conduct and Ethical Business Conduct.

For complete practice, check out the ACE Practice Exam Kit with 750 questions and fully explained answers.  It was coauthored by health and fitness writers Christy Hamilton and Susan Hill, who have both been ACE Certified Personal Trainers.  


Interviews and Assessments

1. In what stage of the client-trainer relationship are health-history and lifestyle questionnaires administered?
2. Dan is a new client whom you are meeting with for the first time today. He will most likely be evaluating you as a trainer through both your verbal and non-verbal communication. What stage of the client-trainer relationship are you in with Dan?
3. Kristin is in for her second session and you are conducting fitness assessments. While you are checking her body fat percentage you ask her about types of exercise she prefers to do. What stage of the client-trainer relationship are you in with Kristin?
4. What can submaximal cycle ergometer testing predict?
5. According to the ACE Integrated Fitness Training Model, what step in the training process best follows the testing of resting measures such as heart rate and blood pressure?
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6. In which stage of the Theoretical Model of Behavior Change is a client ready to adopt and live a healthy lifestyle?
7. Your client tells you that he understands that his family has a history of heart disease and that being overweight can increase his risk for such conditions. He is still wary of beginning any kind of exercise program and says that he has never had any weight loss success in the past. According to the Theoretical Model of Behavioral Change, what stage of change is your client in?
8. A 55 year old sedentary man, with a family history of smoking and diabetes mellitus comes to your studio, looking for a personal trainer. However, he states during his health history evaluation that he has no signs or symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Which risk category for cardiovascular disease would he fall under?
9. Which of the following is an example of what is generally measured in a physiologic assessment?
10. Which of the following environmental testing conditions can most confound results of a physiologic assessment?
11. During initial assessments, a client's pulse can be manually taken at all of the following locations except:
12. Which method of feedback on exercise difficulty should you discuss with your client during the initial interview?

Program Design and Implementation

13. Which of the following is typically considered by clients to be the most important factor in creating a positive first impression?
14. What is an example of non-verbal communication?
15. Saying things like, "I understand, 125 feels like your ideal weight." Is an example of which positive listening skill?
16. Which of the following is an example of a good open-ended question?
17. You have been working with Judy for 1 month now. Her initial goals were to gain strength in her lower body and you have been working on body weight squats and lunges. She can perform 3 sets of 15 squats without a struggle. What is the best course of action to continue to increase her lower body strength significantly?
18. When prescribing static stretches during a resistance training workout, when should the static stretches be performed?
19. Which of the following movements should be performed first on an upper body day in a resistance training program?
20. A client wants to increase the strength of her upper back muscles. Which of the following exercises will help the least with this goal?
21. A 38 year old male client wants to improve his body composition, and comes to you for assistance. He works 60 hours a week in a high stress job and is also a father of a young baby. Due to this, the client has limited availability for training and can only meet twice per week with you to train. Which of the following is most helpful in achieving his goals for you prescribe?
22. A 23 year old female client wants to begin a resistance training program with you to optimize her health and wellbeing, while building muscle. Which intensity prescription should you focus on?
23. Your client has a goal of increasing multiple effort power. How many repetitions should she perform during the typical set?
24. How long should your client rest between sets when training for muscular endurance?
25. What is an example of the "tell, show, do" technique used in the early stages of training?
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Program Modification and Progression

26. Beth is a 28-year-old woman who is looking to improve her overall fitness. How long should she rest for in between sets on a leg press exercise?
27. Bob is a 30-year-old man looking to increase muscular endurance for distance running. How long should he rest in between sets on the leg extension machine?
28. Andrew is a 35-year-old man who is looking to increase strength in his upper body. How long should he rest in between sets of a bench press exercise?
29. When training a client to activate their core for the purpose of gaining proximal stability, what exercise modality should come first in the progression?
30. James has been training for and competing in triathlons for 5 years. He wants to increase running speed and cycling power. How many times should you suggest he train per week?
31. Bill is training at 80-90% of his 1 repetition maximum on leg press. How long should he typically wait before training his legs again?
32. Which of the following variables can be adjusted to account for progression in a standard resistance training or cardiorespiratory exercise program?
33. Which increase in intensity is standard in a linear progression model for a novice or intermediate trainee?
34. What phenomena can be expected as an individual progresses from an intermediate to advanced trainee?
35. What are the three levels of a periodized program?
36. How long should an entire periodized program last?
37. Which is not a phase in the ACE integrated training model?
38. What intensity should aerobic exercise be prescribed at for individuals with type II diabetes?

Professional Conduct, Safety and Risk Management

39. Which of the following is within the ACE personal trainer's scope of practice?
40. Which of the following is appropriate according to the ACE personal trainer's scope of practice?
41. An ACE certified personal trainer must complete how many continuing education hours in what period of time to keep their certification active?
42. Which of the following is NOT a symptom of inflammation at a joint?
43. Which of the following is an absolute contraindication to stretching?
44. Which of the following is a form that notifies the client of the risk associated with exercise?
45. Where should you spot a dumbbell movement?
46. When spotting a barbell where should your hands be?
47. Personal trainers often work as independent contractors. What individual type of insurance is most recommended to purchase when working as an independent contractor in the fitness industry?
48. Which of the following is not a method of managing risk?
49. What is an umbrella liability policy?
50. Personal trainers should learn to recognize clients who have eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia. In terms of professional responsibilities, which of the following should a personal trainer undertake as part of their practice with clients with eating disorders?

ACE Personal Trainer Exam

Quality starts with who wrote the material.
Our practice exam writer
Theresa McCabe
is a certified ACE personal trainer who has trained personal trainers as both a lecturer and program director for over twenty years. She has helped others prepare for the ACE exam through the Athletics and Fitness Association of America and has taught continuing education courses.

Dirk Timm
is an ACE certified personal trainer with over five years of experience as a personal trainer and fitness director and is a health and fitness writer through the Personal Training Development Center.

Christy Hamilton
is a health and fitness writer who held the ACE CPT for five years, as well as certifications as an NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor and ACSM Inclusive Fitness Trainer.

Susan Hill
is a health and fitness writer who held the ACE CPT for ten years and now focuses on golf fitness training and has worked and trained on tour.

The ACE Personal Trainer exam is comprised of 150 multiple-choice questions based on four subject areas. These subject areas are broken down as follows:

Interviews & Assessments

Program Design & Implementation

Program Modification and Progression

Professional Conduct, Safety and Risk Management