NASM CPT exam info - NASM textbook displayed on table with NASM exam info

Hello NASM learners, and welcome to the PTPioneer FAQ page.

All in all, this article will answer the most popular questions that people have regarding these NASM CPT study materials.

The basics covered in this article will be:

  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • General NASM Certification Information
  • Exam and Other NASM Material Costs

Get your copy of the NASM CPT exam cheat sheet and our study plan.

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Try it out for free here to see if it’s right for you, or read my detailed review for further insights.

Let’s dive in and look at our study hub first and see how you can start your studies to become a NASM certified Personal Trainer.

NASM CPT Study Series

NASM CPT Exam FAQ In Video Form

NASM CPT Exam FAQ 2023 - NASM exam pass rate, Test difficulty, and Info ✔️


This is the final page of our PT Pioneer NASM Study hub, and it will answer all of the remaining questions and reiterate some of the important topics that may have been touched on in the other 6 study hub articles.

The article will have two FAQ sections, one for general NASM and CPT questions and one for specific exam-related questions.

These are the most frequently requested questions on the internet and from readers within PTPioneer.

Let’s dive in with some of the more general questions for the National Academy of Sports Medicine’s amazing fitness certification.

General NASM FAQs

How long does NASM certification take?

The NASM certification takes 4-12 weeks for the average student, depending on study time, background knowledge or level of education, retention ability, study materials, practice tests, and study consistency.

Is NASM CPT the easiest personal trainer certification?

NASM personal trainer certification is not the easiest in the industry. The company is actually around the middle to the hardest when we look at the NASM exam pass rate. This truly means you will get a quality and thorough certification for personal trainers.

Is NASM certification worth it?

NASM personal training is highly valued in the industry and the company has some of the best specializations with which you can expand your services later in your career. It is one of the most highly sought-after certs, up there with ACE.

What is the NASM CPT?

NASM CPT stands for NASM Certification for personal trainers. They handle all things exercise technique, human movement, and general health through physical activity for the general population.

Who can we contact from NASM?

To contact NASM, you should reach out to NASM customer service at this number: 1 (800) 460-6276

What does NASM CPT cost?

The base NASM certification costs a base price of 999$ without any promotions. There are many packages to consider for certification from NASM.

How do I study for NASM?

Studying for the NASM requires the textbook/study portal for the NASM CPT and then optional help like a free study guide through PTPioneer, or premium study materials through a website like Trainer Academy. Use materials like a NASM cheat sheet, NASM exam flashcards, NASM exam practice test, and more test prep materials.

How long is the NASM CPT certification valid?

After taking the exam, your certification is valid for two full years. During this time, NASM requires you to receive 2.0 continuing education credits, which equates to 20 hours, to get recertified.

NASM CPT Exam Breakdown

Currently, in 2024, the NASM Certified Personal Trainer test comprises six separate domains and 120 multiple choice questions of which you must score 70% in order to pass.

Out of the 120, each of these six domains occupies a certain percentage. The NASM courses for fitness professionals span these domains, ensuring the NASM credentials require each candidate to have comprehensive knowledge of personal fitness training.

Here is a list of the six domains of exercise science, the percentages on the test, the chapters each domain covers, and a quick summary.

The domains for the real NASM personal trainer exam and this practice test are:

  • Domain I: Professional Development and Responsibility (15%)
  • Domain II: Client Relations and Behavioral Coaching (15%)
  • Domain III: Basic and Applied Sciences and Nutritional Concepts (20%)
  • Domain IV: Assessment (20%)
  • Domain V: Exercise Technique and Training Instruction (12%)
  • Domain VI: Program Design (8%)

Domain 1 is made up of chapters 1 and 2, and it really lays down the foundations for the NASM and Personal Training business and career expectations.

Domain 2 is represented in chapters 3 and 4, which introduce the proper ways to interact and enact change with clients through coaching.

Domain 3 is found throughout chapters 5 through 10, and this lays out all of the exercise science information and focuses on one chapter of nutritional sciences. This is one of the harder domains for those without knowledge of exercise science going in.

Domain 4 is found within chapters 11 and 12, which deal strictly with assessing clients and the proper technique and skills.

Domain 5 is found throughout chapters 13 through 20, and this is the second most important section of the book as it looks at the meat of personal training with exercise techniques and instruction for training clients.

Domain 6 is found in the final 3 chapters, chapters 21 – 23, and this wraps up the textbook by detailing program design and the NASM OPT model.

I get asked all the time by visitors to my website, “How hard is the NASM CPT exam?”

To be honest, I’ve seen test-takers that have failed the test over three times, and I have also seen test-takers say they feel like they did not miss one question.

Let’s get right into it.

NASM Test Difficulty – How Hard Is The NASM CPT Exam?

The NASM CPT exam is all multiple choice questions, and you need to score at least 70% to pass. Some questions are easy, but others are hard and need more thinking. With diligent studying, many students have reported amazing exam results. 

Overall, the NASM certification has been notorious for being one of the more difficult in the industry over the last decade, requiring exceptional performance and preparation.

NASM has made their test difficult on purpose because they are trying to raise the standard for the knowledge required for personal trainers.

Sometimes, it seems like NASM reached deep into the textbook to pull out one sentence of information and test you on it.

Other questions seemed like they were trying to trick you with their vague wording. Plain and simple, this test is hard, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t strategies you can use to pass it successfully.

The best way to gauge the NASM test difficulty is to look at the stats from previous years. Also, make sure you go in as prepared as you can be.

is the NASM exam online?

You can take the NASM exam online or in person at a testing center. If taken online, you will need a webcam and an approved home test environment where your live proctor will observe you in real-time. Your desk and room must be clear of any papers or other possible materials that would allow you to cheat.

How to schedule the NASM exam

You can schedule your NASM exam directly through your NASM study portal.

NASM Exam Pass Rate

Although the NASM exam constantly changes, the average pass rate for the last few years is approximately 65%. In 2015 the NASM pass rate was 67%.

In 2016 the NASM CPT pass rate was 61% (one of the lowest years).

The most recent data released by NASM is the passing percentage between the dates of August 2017 and August 2018, which reveals that in that timeframe, 18,115 students passed and 9,550 failed.

This equates to exactly a 66% pass rate between those two dates.

It’s safe to say that one in three people will fail the NASM personal training exam. However, this reflects the excellent standards of the NCCA accreditation process.

NASM exam pass rate

In general, this personal training certification is difficult compared to the average personal training certification.

That being said, it is still the most well-recognized and prestigious certification out there, so don’t let these statistics scare you. Furthermore, once you pass, as long as you follow the recertification requirements, you will not have to take the test more than once.

You need to be prepared, that’s all.

NASM practice test vs real test

NASM Practice Test vs. Real Test

Another popular question I get is the differences between the NASM practice tests or mock tests and real tests.

This is a very good question in general because many websites provide practice tests for the NASM exam and NASM test tips on how to pass the NASM CPT exams.

In general, the NASM CPT practice tests are created by people who don’t work for NASM, while the real test is. However, most practice NASM tests are based on people who have taken the NASM exam and have a good sense of the difficulty it entails.

The NASM practice tests are compiled from people’s experiences of the test, whereas the real NASM test is constantly changing and never static.

Overall, you will not find the exact NASM personal training exams online compared to the official test.

This is because NASM is constantly switching the questions that they have on the exam.

Imagine if all the NASM CPT exam answers and NASM practice exam answers are always the same.

I guess that they take out some old questions every few months and throw in some new ones.

They probably change the wording on many of the questions and NASM test answers, too.

If they had one static test of 120 questions that never changed, people would figure it out very easily and this test would be spread across the Internet within months.

“NASM final exam answers, get your NASM final exam answers. Come one, come all.”

It would reduce the legitimacy of the NASM brand and result in many personal trainers not being equipped with the needed knowledge.

Although you will not see the same question (written word for word the same) on the real tests compared to the practice tests, they are still useful for learning different ways to word them.

These practice NASM tests will still cover the same information you see on the real test. Consider it like a workout in the gym before a competition, you are preparing for the real thing, with each question being a single repetition to support your larger goal.

In my experience with the thousands of people I have helped pass the NASM certification exam, if they receive a passing grade from my practice tests, then they have no problem with the real NASM exam.

Many of them have even told me they saw some of the same questions on the real test compared to my NASM certification practice tests.


Here is some specific NASM exam frequently asked questions I get.

Are there NASM practice exams?

Yes, absolutely. There are plenty of free and paid NASM practice exams, including NASM study tips and NASM test questions and answers. Passing the NASM exam is made much easier and most NASM practice questions are self-study.

What is the exam enrollment period?

From the date that you purchased your NASM package, you have 180 days to get CPR/AED certified, organize a test date, and take the test.

How many questions are on the NASM exam, and what is the NASM passing score?

There are 120 NASM exam questions. Of those NASM CPT test questions, 20 of them count as research only and do not count toward your final score. You’ll have two hours to complete the exam and you must score 70% or higher to pass.

Where can you take the NASM Personal Trainer exam?

To take the NASM test, you must set a test-taking appointment at a PSI test-taking facility. It is easy to search for where to take NASM exams near you, and all NASM testing sites will require your enrollment ID number.

What are the prerequisites for the NASM exam?

The NASM exam requires that you have a high school diploma (or the equivalent), be at least 18 years old, and have a valid CPR/AED credential.

Can you see your exam score afterward?

No, NASM never releases exam scores whether you pass or fail. They tell you if you pass or fail after you take the test.

What happens if you fail the NASM CPT exam?

If you fail the NASM test on your first try, you may purchase a retake voucher. Depending on your exam package, a retest voucher may or may not be available for free. If it is not included in your package, the retest voucher costs $199.

How much does the NASM test cost?

The exam-only option costs $599 without study materials. But due to the respect of this organization, it is totally worthwhile.

Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read

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Ask me a question and I will reply ASAP

38 thoughts on “NASM Exam Info 2024 – Pass Rate, Costs, and More”

    • Hey Garrett, it would be best to check with NASM directly from the links in the page, or through their website. They do typically offer monthly installment plans and one-time purchase options, but this could be dependent on location or other things, so it is best to check in with them.

    • Hey Arezou, I’m not sure what you mean by offline courses, but the NASM CPT course can take anywhere from 3 – 6 months to study for, on average and depending on previous education. It could take significantly less time or more time depending on these factors. I hope that information helps.

  1. I am getting ready for the NASM-CPT Exam and was wondering, how close/similar are the practice quizzes/exams to the actual exam?
    I have taken the practice exam twice now and have received a 80% and an 87%; if that is any indication on how I may perform on the final, I’ll take it!
    Thanks for your time.

    • Hey there, if you can score between 80 to 90% you should feel pretty confident. But these practice test on my website are fairly short. I would definitely suggest picking up some other practice exam such as the ones over at trainer Academy.

  2. Hello,
    I am currently trying to figure out which certification to take. I have a background in exercise science as well as nutrition. I want a future as a sports nutritionist. I had my mind set on the CSCS but wanted to know what you thinks best.

    • If you have a four-year degree, the certified strength and conditioning specialist certification is probably the most recognized route you can take. You are lucky to have a four-year degree And have the ability to get this credential.

  3. Hi, I am taking the test June 5th and I have been doing really well on the study guide through NASM. I have been getting 100, 105, 108 out of the 120 questions on the test. Do you think the actual test will be similar to the practice test?

  4. Hi Tyler, do you happen to know the pass rate for those who go through the entire NASM CPT study guide? I have just finished this morning. I am taking the exam this week. I am very nervous. Also I know that a 70% is needed to pass and that 20 of the questions don’t count for/against you…… is the actual grading out of 100 questions? 70/100 or 85/120?
    Thanks in advance!

    • You need to get approximately 70 out of the hundred real questions correct. Yes it is definitely possible to pass using my free study guide for the National Academy of sports medicine. Good luck studying and good luck with your personal training career.

  5. Does your 25% off code expire? I’m working with a sales rep to buy my materials, but I need more time than what he is willing to give me for a coupon offer.


  6. Just passed my test. Started studying about 3 weeks ago. Memorizing the assessments and the muscle anatomy is an absolute must. Also, for some reason I keyed in on exercise Cues and a good thing I did, because I had about 10 questions on this.

    • Hey Paul,
      I’m super excited that you passed the exam. The National Academy of sports medicine is no joke of a certification. Good thing that you focus on those areas and I will definitely keep this in mind while recommending additional study tips for my other students. Good luck with your personal training career.

  7. Hi. I have taken the exam twice and had 59% both times. Do you have a suggestion on what I can do to pass this exam? Thank you.

    • Hey Nikkolas,
      I’m sorry to hear that you have failed the exam. The test from the National Academy of sports medicine is no joke and a lot of people feel it. I actually have a very strong recommendation to take a look at Trainer Academy. They have the best study materials for NASM on the market. They even provided in exam pass guarantee meaning that you would receive a full refund if you fail at your third time. Check them out here:

  8. Is it necessary to memorize all of the overactive and underactive muscles for each static and dynamic postural assessment when preparing for the NASM CPT exam?

    • Hello Emily,
      memorizing the overactive and underactive muscles especially for the overhead squat assessment is one of the most work things you will need to memorize for passing the national Academy of sports medicine exam. Sometimes people can see between 10 and 20 questions out of the 120 just from the overactive and underactive muscles alone.

  9. Hello Tyler.
    I have my CPR/AED credential from American Health Academy. Do you know if NASM will accept my certificate or do I have to retake the course in facility recommended by NASM?
    Thank you

    • Hey Renee,
      that is a great question. I’m not sure of the full list that is accepted by the National Academy of sports medicine. I would definitely give them a call or shoot them over an email to see which CPR/AED certifications they accept. They probably have a long list.

  10. Hello!
    This may be a stupid question but assuming that the final exam is not open book? Is it all on a computer or on a scanteon?
    Also I purchased the nutrition and the weight loss as well as the CPT are these separate test or is it all included in the CPT final exam?

    • Hello, yes the National Academy of sports medicine requires you to go take the exam in a test-taking facility. The test is not open book and you will get the results of your exams immediately after taking it. It’s great that you got the weight loss certification as well as the nutrition certification. You will need to take these exams separately as well as they are all not bundled into one test. I hope this helps.

  11. Hi, I’m not from an English speaking country, is it possible to pass the test with limitted English ? And where can I take the test if I’m from Vietnam

    • Hey Randy,
      Yes it is totally possible to pass the exam. Capital depends on how well you feel like you know the textbook. If you are going through practice tests or go into the textbook in can fully understand all of the content that NASM has, you should do fine on the exam. The most important thing is to take practice tests. I know that the national Academy of sports medicine does offer multiple testing locations but I’m not sure about the exact locations outside of the United States. You will have to check with them for that. I hope this helped.

    • Hey Lydia,
      The NASM CPT exam is all multiple choice questions. Overall there are 120 questions on the exam and you need to score approximately above 70% on the exam in order to pass. I say approximately because some exams are harder, while some exams are easier. The exams are graded on a scaled grading system. I hope this helps answer your question!

  12. I just finished th guided study course, after receiving a 30 day extension form my expiration (thank you NASM). I still feel I need more time to study for the actual cpt exam. Will purchases the retest give me that time?. And will I be able to schedule my exam in the time the retest gives?

    • Hello Nicole,
      The retest is just for people that have failed on their first try. If a 30 day extension is all that NASM is willing to give you, I would take the test at the latest possible date to make sure that you are the most prepared. Then, if you end up failing it you can purchase the retest fee. Although the retest fee is pretty steep costing approximately $200. I recommend picking up some of my study materials to help focus your studies on the most important things you need to learn in order to pass the exam. You can check these out here:

  13. Hi Tyler! Nice review on NASM. I just passed my exam today 3/14/2019 on my first try, that test had me sweating bullets. The test is worded different, but the practice exam that NASM offer is a good resource as well as other online practice test. The only thing I can say is to make sure you understand the material and you will do fine on the final exam. Good luck!!!!!

    • Hey Willie,

      Super awesome that you passed the NASM exam! Congratulations and good luck starting a fantastic career in the world of personal training. I absolutely agree, study study study and you should do fine on the exam. People get very nervous before it, but if you come in well prepared you should do just fine.


120 NASM Practice Q's