The Best Flashcards for the Certified Personal Trainer Exam

The Best Flashcards for the Certified Personal Trainer Exam

Reading Time: 4 minutes 45 seconds

By: ISSA

Date: 2020-11-05


To become certified as a personal trainer, you must take an exam. One strategy for ensuring you know the information necessary to earn a passing score is to use flashcards. How do you make the most of this study approach?

The Best Flashcards for the Certified Personal Trainer Exam

You’ve decided that you want to help others obtain optimal health and sports performance through nutrition and exercise. One way to achieve top success in this role is to earn your certification. Yet, before you can work as a certified personal trainer, you must first pass an exam.

About the Personal Trainer Exam

Getting a passing score on a personal training exam proves that you know how to develop a safe and effective fitness program. It tells potential clients that you can create a physical activity regimen that will help them reach their fitness goals. 

This is critical for fitness professionals who intend to build and grow their own businesses. If you decide to work for a gym, passing this exam and earning your certification may be required.

Personal trainer exam specifics vary depending on which organization is administering the test. Generally, they are designed to test your knowledge of anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and biomechanics. They also cover health, physical fitness, program design, nutrition, injury, and disease. 

The Flashcard Study System

No matter which personal training exam you take, using a flashcard deck can assist with studying. This involves using a series of cards, each with a question and its corresponding answer. These cards help improve your active recall of the information learned.

Flashcards rely on repetition to help you retain important information. This study method is commonly used when learning a foreign language. Repeated exposure to a word and translation helps you learn the new language. New flashcards can be created to cover more complex words and phrases.

Flashcards are also sometimes referred to as mnemonic devices. This means that they help improve your memory of a new word, key term, concept, context, or idea. 

Benefits of this Study Strategy

As a student or learner in the fitness space, using a flashcard strategy can improve your ability to recall information that is likely to be on the exam. Going through the deck multiple times provides confidence based repetition. You are able to supply the correct answer faster and with more assurance.

This is helpful when learning new vocabulary, such as the names of the muscles (and where they are located). Repetition helps commit this data to memory. Developing a retrieval practice goes beyond the exam itself. It also prepares you to answer that same question if asked by a training client. 

A study session that includes flashcards can be modified based on a variety of factors. If you’re having trouble recalling the definition of a specific word, for instance, you can create a card for it. Though if you’ve mastered other words, you don’t need cards for them. You can tailor your cards to your specific needs.

You can also modify your flashcard study practice by separating cards by topic area. Have one set for strength training and another for nutrition. Having access to multiple decks allows you to better focus on the areas giving you the most trouble.  

How to Study with Flashcards for the Personal Trainer Exam

How do you use flashcards to better remember the information covered on the personal trainer exam?

Here are a few tips:

  • Commit to learning daily. If you’re not using your flashcards often enough, you’re not likely to retain the information. Why? Research reveals that flashcards work best through spaced repetition. Spaced repetition involves exposure to the same question and answer repeatedly over time versus cramming your learning into one or two sessions. Aim to go through at least some of your flashcards each day.

  • Shuffle your flashcards before each use. If your cards aren’t in the same order each time, you must work harder to recall the answer. It stops you from memorizing the information based on the order of the cards. Instead, you are forced to learn. Once you feel confident with a deck, shuffle it with another deck. Get your mind to think outside one specific topic area. 

  • Enlist the help of a friend. Doing flashcards on your own is great, but doing them with a friend is even better. Encourage a friend to ask you the flashcard question in a different way. This ensures that you’ve truly learned the information versus relying on the question being asked a specific way.

What Are The Best Flashcards For The Personal Trainer Exam?

You can obtain personal trainer flashcards through the ISSA or you can make your own. If you choose the latter, index cards work great for this purpose. You can also use digital flashcards via a flashcard app. An online search for “personal trainer flashcards” provides a number of options.

Either way, what should you put on your flashcards to better pass the personal trainer exam?

  • Use questions from each section’s quiz

  • Take questions from a practice test

  • Include questions included in the study material or study guide

  • Do a card for each vocabulary word listed in the textbook

  • Turn each bullet point in the section summaries into a flashcard

Online Flashcards vs Physical Flashcards: Which is Better?

Traditional flashcards are written or printed. This type of flashcard set is beneficial if you plan to study someplace without internet access. Physical flashcards may also improve learning if you struggle with digital devices.

Conversely, if you always have your smartphone with you, it provides instant access to a study app or online flashcard system. The use of an online system also gives you access to pre-made flashcards. This is helpful if don’t have the time or desire to create your own.

In the end, one type of flashcard is not superior to the other. What matters most is which method of studying works best for you. As long as you’re learning the information necessary to pass the personal training exam, both options can be a win.

Additional Study Tips

There are a few additional things you can do to help you better prepare for your personal trainer test. If that test is through the ISSA, these include:

  • Highlighting important information as you read through the textbook

  • Taking the time to review the program’s study guide

  • Re-reading each unit’s summary before starting the final exam

  • Re-watching any video lectures

The ISSA’s self-guided Personal Trainer Certification program provides the information necessary to pass the certification exam. It also teaches you how to create an exercise and nutrition program tailored specifically for each of your clients.

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