A few years back when I took the NASM certification exam, I am pretty sure that I scored 100%. Unfortunately, the PSI testing facility only gives you a passing or failing grade so I will never know for sure.
All I know is that I took the test in under 30 minutes and the answers seemed so easy to me that it is very likely that I did score 100%. Maybe I missed one, but that’s about it.
I was so worried about going into the test because everybody online listing how hard it was to pass. I heard horror stories of people on their third or fourth attempt and still not passing.
So why was my story different? Why was it so easy for me to breeze through this exam while others were struggling so hard?
It all boils down to three letters: SRS. Yes, I am serious. SRS stands for spaced repetition studying.
Spaced repetition study was invented by a German science journalist by the name of Sebastian Leitner. Another word for spaced repetition study is called the Leitner system.
It’s an advanced and proven study technique for memorizing literally anything and keeping this information in long-term memory (as opposed to cramming for an exam and forgetting the next day!).
Normally when you are studying flashcards, the difficult cards, the intermediate cards as well as the easy cards show up with the same frequency. This is a huge waste of time because you should be spending your time on the concepts that are more difficult for you.
With spaced repetition study you get to answer how difficult each flash card is for you to personally answer. You rate how difficult it was for you to answer on a scale from 1 to 5. One means that you do not know the flash card at all, and five means that you have basically mastered that card and memorized it completely.
Here’s a NASM flashcard example to get a good picture: “what is the definition of the human movement system?”. Try to answer the question in your head as clearly as you can before flipping over the flash card.
Here’s what the back of the flash card looks like:
So, how well did you know the answer? The point is to grade yourself between 1 and 5 (and no cheating!) and then let the algorithm do the rest of the work in choosing you which cards to show you, and when to show you them.
By continually grading yourself on how well you know the answers, the program learns which ones to keep on showing you over and over again, and which ones you already know. This way you will continuously hammer the difficult concepts/terms into your head until you have mastered them.
Not only is it the best way to study for the NASM test, but it is also the best indicator for when you should set a test date. Most people don’t know when to take the test. One of the biggest reasons people fail the test is because they take it when they are not fully prepared. Spaced repetition study solves all of this.
So how do you study these flashcards with spaced repetition? And what should you put on the cards to have the best chance of passing the test?
Introducing my NASM SRS (spaced repetition study) flashcard system.
Lucky for you guys, I have created and refined the deck that I used years ago for the most recent version of the NASM textbook (the 6th edition) in 2019.
From teaching people to study for the NASM tests over the last five years, I have learned the most important concepts/terms to study from each chapter to have the highest pass rate possible for the NASM test.
Currently, my flashcard deck has over 1100 concepts and definitions.
The system is very simple. All you need to do is reach the mastery level (5) on every flash card, and you will destroy the NASM exam just as I did. It is literally that easy.
If you would rather stumble through the 700-page textbook 😴 not knowing what you should memorize, the test will seem like a nightmare just like it is for thousands of other people.
If you want to avoid all the headache and disappointment, pick up my NASM SRS flashcard system below and your NASM personal training certification preparation will be much more comfortable, I promise.