ACE CPT Exam Pass Rate, Test Difficulty, and FAQ (2022)

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    Hey everybody and welcome to my article on the complete breakdown of the ACE CPT personal training exam for 2022.

    Here you will learn everything you need to know about the exam including how to pass the ACE CPT exam, how difficult the exam is (ACE pass rate), what the test consists of, ACE practice tests vs the real test, the ACE test cost, and common frequently asked questions.

    Let’s stop wasting time and get right into the article. Afterward, if you are ready to start studying, I have a free ACE study guide and practice test and ACE exam prep article that you can check out, or I recommend checking out the team over at Trainer Academy. They produce the best ACE study materials, will reduce your study time by 50%, and even provide an exam pass guarantee.

    Get the ACE personal training exam cheat sheet for free here. Courtesy of Trainer Academy.

    If you are undecided on which certified personal trainer certification to choose, I suggest you take the quiz to find out which Certification study programs are the best fit for you. The menu at the top of this page will answer any question related to personal training that you have. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment here (I’ll respond within 24 hours). Also, visit the home page for the most recent and popular articles.

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      ACE CPT Exam FAQ Video

      ACE CPT EXAM FAQ 2021 - ACE Exam Pass Rate, Test Difficulty, and Info ✔️
      ACE CPT Exam FAQ

      ACE CPT exam breakdown

      Something a lot of people don’t realize is that on July 1, 2018, ACE, The American Council on Exercise, completely changed up the exam content and how they break the exam down.

      The biggest reason why this is important is that a lot of “test prep” websites or services have not updated their material accordingly and this leads to people focusing on the wrong content while studying for the exam.

      Here at PTpioneer, you can rest assured that I have updated my content accordingly to provide the best test prep information available online in 2022.

      The exam is broken down into four primary domains of exercise science. Each domain occupies a certain percentage of the test questions. I will be breaking down what each domain is, their percentage on the test, and the relative number of questions from each domain.

      Domain I: Interviews and assessments – 23% (approximately 35 questions)

      What you will be tested on in domain I:

      Information for this domain is found in chapters 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8.

      You will be tested on obtaining comprehensive medical, health, exercise, and lifestyle information from clients using interviews and questionnaires to determine their risk for exercise participation. You will be tested on your ability to assess client readiness for behavior change as well as evaluate their attitude toward exercise in order to build rapport and establish goals. You will be tested on movement assessments and observations to develop appropriate exercise programming for enhanced function, fitness, health, and performance. You will be tested on conducting baseline physiological assessments.

      Domain II: Program design and implementation – 31% (approximately 46 questions)

      Information for this domain is found in chapters 5, 9, 10 and 11.

      What you will be tested on in domain II:

      You will be tested on your ability to establish appropriate functional, fitness, health or performance goals based on your assessments and data in order to design specific exercise programs. You will be tested on your ability to apply appropriate exercise principles and guidelines in order to improve muscular strength, cardiorespiratory fitness, endurance, and flexibility. You will need to know about appropriate exercise equipment and how to integrate them into programs for improving function, fitness, health, and performance.

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      Domain III: Program modification and progression – 26% (approximately 39 questions)

      Information for this domain is found in chapters 2-15 (new chapters being 13, 14 and 15).

      What you will be tested on in domain III:

      You will be tested on your knowledge of promoting exercise adherence through education, motivation, and modification. You will be tested on your ability to recognize and respond to problems with exercise adherence by noticing barriers and providing solutions to these barriers. You will need to know how to evaluate client progress using observations, data, and client feedback in order to modify programs.

      Domain IV Professional conduct, safety and risk management – 20% (Approximately 30 questions)

      Information for this domain is found in chapters 1, 15, 16, 17, and 18.

      What you will be tested on in domain IV:

      You will be tested on your ability to apply risk management strategies in accordance with guidelines, standards, laws, and regulations in order to protect yourself and your client. You will need to know how to secure client information, communications, and progress in accordance with confidentiality and liability. You will need knowledge on injury prevention and identifying potential hazards.

      ACE Test difficulty – How hard is the ACE CPT exam?

      Overall, the ACE CPT exam is one of the most difficult exams in the industry. This is partly due to the fact that the textbook is huge with over 800 pages. Choosing the information to constitute a 150 question test from 800+ pages of material is going to result in a very difficult exam for the test-taker.

      This is what causes a lot of people to have anxiety while going into the test. This is especially true when people encounter very obscure and vague questions that come with one single sentence located deep within the textbook. On top of that, ACE uses a lot of vague language when asking certain questions on the exam. It’s almost as if they are trying to mislead you on purpose.

      So how hard is the ACE CPT exam? Let’s look at the ACE CPT exam pass rates for the last few years.

      ACE Exam Pass Rate

      ACE exam pass rate 2017: Out of 20,129 candidates that took the test, 13,084 passed while 7, 045 failed Resulting in a 65% pass rate for 2017.

      ACE exam pass rate 2018: Out of 22,923 candidates that took the test, 16,046 passed resulting in a 70% pass rate for 2018.

      ACE exam pass rate 2019: Out of 20,069 candidates that took the test 1425 passed while resulting in a 71% pass rate.

      ACE exam pass rate if the user takes the ACE Academy elite certification program and completes both elite practice exams: 93%. As you can see, going through the academy elite program will drastically help your chances of passing.

      ACE exam pass rate if the student is using trainer Academy study materials is 99%. Trainer Academy even offers an exam pass guarantee or you are money back.

      These are the most recent statistics released by ACE according to the pass rate for their test. On average there is a 65% pass rate which means one out of every three people will fail the test. The only problem is that these percentages were before they made major changes to the structure and layout of their personal training test. Currently, the ACE personal trainer exam pass rate is almost identical to that of the NASM CPT.

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      Most Popular Cert
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      Best Study Materials
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      With the one in three people failing the test, this is why you need a study guide that tells you exactly what you need to study. Take note that users that go through the ace Academy Elite program have a much higher chance of passing (93%). Also, take note that people using Trainer Academy study materials also have a fantastic pass rate (99%).

      This means that a lot of people are studying older study guides and practice tests that focus on different percentages for the four primary domains. My guess would be that this would lead to an even lower pass rate than before.

      ACE practice test vs Real test

      When comparing the ACE practice test vs the real test, you have to take into consideration when the practice test was compiled.

      The general differences between the practice tests in the real tests.

      The ACE practice tests are compiled by individuals who do not work for ACE fitness, whereas the real tests are compiled by ACE fitness. ACE practice tests may or may not have been compiled based on the new exam structure for 2018, while the real test is compiled for these new domain percentages.

      Luckily for you guys, here at Ptpioneer, all of my study materials such as my study guide and practice tests are completely up-to-date for this new testing structure for the ACE CPT. Although I do not work for ACE, I compile my information based on the hundreds of students that take the ACE exam and the questions that they experience on the real test.

      ACE FAQ

      Here are some other general frequently asked questions for the ACE test.

      Conclusion on the ACE CPT test

      Well, ladies and gentlemen, that’s about it for my full breakdown on the ACE exam. Overall, this test is extremely difficult with only 65% of people passing the exam. It is definitely a worthwhile certification with its industry gold standard NCCA accreditation, which is the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

      If you are still are not sure whether or not ACE is the right certification for you, I recommend you take the quiz to find which certification best fits your training style.

      I suggest checking out my free study guide for ACE. If you want additional study materials, check out the team over at Trainer Academy. They have incredible study materials for ACE.

      This is partially due to the fact that the textbook is massive and very difficult to understand exactly what areas you should be paying attention to and which areas are not as important.

      If using third-party study materials such as practice exams, study guides or flashcards I would make sure that their information is up-to-date for the new test structure at the end of 2018.

      If you are looking for a fantastic study guide and practice tests, we have a completely free study course here at PTpioneer that I highly recommend checking out. Until next time guys, good luck with your studying and continue your pursuit of being a fantastic personal trainer.


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      27 thoughts on “ACE CPT Exam FAQ – ACE Exam Pass Rate, Test Difficulty, and Info”

      1. I have purchased the ace personal trainer study guide. I’m about a third to half way through. I haven’t schedule the exam yet but I think I need to take it by October. I’m getting very nervous bc there is a LOT of material I need to cover in a short amount of time and I’m nervous I’m not retaining it all. There is just so much reading and bold text and the quizzes seem very granular so I’m not sure what I really need to focus on as Ace makes it seem like everything I read is really important. Maybe it is? Should I continue with the ace study guide until I finish and then check out your study guides, flash cards, practice exams? Or should I switch over and start checking out your stuff now? I guess my question is, is your material “in addition” to the Ace study material… or “instead of” the ace study material? Thank you so much for help!


        1. Hey Sarah,
          Which study guide did you pick up for ACE? My study materials for the American Council on exercise exam is merely supplemental information to the textbook. I recommend checking out Trainer Academy as this will give you the best chance to really focus on what’s needed to pass the exam in a short period of time. Is this the study guide that you already picked up? If it is, make sure to go through each assignment question in their study guide in that is going to be enough to help you pass the exam. Let me know

      2. This may sound like a dumb question but if I went though the course by the cooper institute but have found not alot of gyms want their cert and I still have the study material will any of it apply to a different exam like ACE? Or should I study ACE specific materials?

        1. Hey Mark,
          You will need to pick up the new study materials from ACE if you want to study praise. Obviously, some things will transfer over such as anatomy and general exercise science concepts, but for specific program design, you will need to study ACE in particular. You probably will not do very well on the test if you don’t.

      3. Hey Tyler, i got the ace personal training study material in 2015. Once I received it I couldn’t believe how complex it was! I did the first assignment and quit. I recently got an email from ace saying my study material is only good til Jan 1st 2020 because they’re changing some of the material. I decided to look at the material again tonight and honestly got pissed. I can’t believe they expect you to learn all this shit. Fricking frustrating! My wife is an RN and was surprised by the material. I’m very discouraged. I need to get my mind right. I feel a lot better with all the help your giving on this site. Thanks man.

        1. Hey Mike,
          the ACE CPT is definitely a difficult exam to pass. I am glad that you find my study materials helpful. I also recommend checking out Trainer Academy as they have some excellent study guides and practice tests that will help point you in the past the exam. Just looking at the American Council on exercise textbook can be very overwhelming for most people. Getting the correct guidance is very important. Good luck with all the studying and you got this!

      4. I studied exercise science at uni over a decade ago but never completed it due to my athletic commitments. I booked the ACE test a few weeks after signing up thinking it’d be a walk in the park. Man… I was greatly mistaken! The difference in the testing is that ACE has just one final test, you don’t get tested on each subject then move on to the next subject. There’s so much information to retain.

        Don’t take this test lightly guys.

          1. Hey Tyler,

            I would have used your content but I only found your site last night after a last-minute panic study cram! Sat the test this morning and passed 🙂

      5. Hi, Tyler. First of all, thanks a lot for all the amazing material and help you offer on your site.

        I have a question regarding your practice exam questions, are these
        very similar (or in cases, the same) as the questions found on the ACE Exam?

        1. Hey Lews,
          The practice exams that we do here on PTpioneer try to replicate as much as we can the real exams that you will see from the American Council on exercise test. That being said, we cannot copy exactly the questions and answers used on their real exams otherwise that would be illegal. We do try to create our own questions that are as similar as possible though. I hope this helps.

      6. I’m 71 and in great physical shape. I have been working out for 53 years now and have owned two very large fitness centers. I understand the equipment well. I have put hundreds of people through workouts already, but never bothered to get certified because I owned the fitness Centers.
        I’m retired now, but I was thinking about working part time as a trainer at a Fitness center near me.
        I have taken several practice tests online, but have not studied at all. I usually get around 55% correct each time just using the common sense that I have learned throughout my years.
        Do you think it is possible for me study your free materials and pass the test without without getting all the materials from ACE?

        1. Hey Danny,
          it’s great to hear that you are looking to get certified. I know a lot of people that have been training for a long time but are not officially certified by any certifying agency. It seems more and more common that most gyms are requiring every single one of their trainers to be credentialed. It’s never a bad idea to get a certification after all because you can brush up on some knowledge and learn about some of the current trends and scientific studies that have been done over the last couple decades. I think that you could use my free study materials and do very well. However, if you really want to guarantee that you pass your training exam, I suggest checking out Trainer Academy as they have the best personal training study materials online.

      7. Hey Tyler!

        I have about a month to study for the ACE test and I’m going to have to really hustle. I delayed studying since I ran into some long weeks at my 9 – 5 and now I’m in a bind. Which one of your packages on Trainer Academy do you think will help push me past the finish line?


        1. Hey Amanda,
          if you are forced to cram for the American Council on exercise than I definitely recommend going with their MVP program as it is the most comprehensive and provides study blueprints and cram guides for you to get the job done in time.

        1. You can take the American Council on exercise exam as many times as you want but you will have to take a retest fee that is approximately $150 each time you want to take the exam if you fail. I do not think there is a limit to how many times you can take the exam though as long as you keep paying the exam fee.

      8. I noticed that the sections in the ACE CPT Essentials of Exercise Science are not covered on your study guide. These cover the anatomy portion which is what I’m struggling the most with. I apologize if I missed it but will you be adding this or have any suggestions on how to tackle this?

        1. Yes I do not cover that simply because a lot of the same information is in the primary textbook as well. I definitely recommend memorizing the overactive and underactive muscles for a lot of the postural assessments.

      9. Hi Tyler,

        glad I found your website before I even booked the exam! I’m thinking to take the exam before June ends, which leaves me about 2 months. Do you think it will be enough time?
        I’ve been into the whole fitness thing for 5 years, from nutrition to bodybuilding, all the backgrounds I have for the exam are from my experiences and common sense.
        I really want to get this done before ASAP, do you think the time would be too tight?

        1. I think the two months will definitely give you enough time. Especially since we are all locked down, there’s nothing better to do but to study as hard as you can. You shouldn’t have no trouble.

      10. Hi Tyler!

        I love your content! I take my ACE PT exam on Saturday, but I feel discouraged because I get 70% on all my practice exams. Do you have any advice for me?

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