Passing my ACE Group fitness Exam (tips and tricks)


I just completed and passed my ACE group fitness exam. It was hard, time-consuming, and in the end, rewarding. I wanted to share my experience and some tips for studying that I learned along the way.

Ace offers three different study packages. I went with the ACE Advantage partly because it was on sale, and it had unlimited practice tests. I was so excited to get my books and start studying. I received two books: ACE Essentials of Exercise Science, and the ACE Group Fitness Instructor Manual. I also received flashcards and a test book for each chapter of my instructor manual.

I began to study for the exam, but I really struggled with pacing myself, and the self-studying aspect. I took my time and took the exam a few months later. I ended up failing the exam because it was hard, and I had not studied effectively. Disappointed, I threw my book aside, giving up for the time being. After two semesters of college under my belt and anatomy and physiology completed, I decided to give it a second shot. I studied my brains out over the summer, and after four months of text book review, I  went and took my exam.

I passed!!!!

Why did I choose ACE? It was a hard certification, but it is worth it, because Ace will help you get your name out there to the industry, making you a hireable individual to a lot of gyms.

How should you study for the exam?

  1. First,  get comfortable with the different muscle groups and their movements, and what particular exercise triggers them to be activated.
  2. Second, spend time focusing on each chapter and trying to really learn the new material. For me, I would read the page and then try to repeat or explain it back to myself. If I did not understand it, I would google it and ask my mom, (she is a nurse), until I could understand what I was reading.
  3. Third, take the chapter quizzes, (but make sure you understand the concepts, like the different methods of teaching, and safety).
  4. Fourth, take practice tests. I took so many practice tests before my exam. Yes, almost all the questions were different on the actual exam. However, it did allow me to assess my areas of weakness, and better understand what the exam format would be like.
  5. Fifth, trust that the Lord has a plan for each and every one of us. Sometimes, what looks like failure to us is actually part of something better. I failed my GFI exam the first time. However, if I had passed I would have been inclined to create a class and not focus on teaching Pilates. I really needed this year to grow as a Pilates teacher, and I am thankful that I did not pass the ACE test the first time.
  6. Lastly, don’t spend too much time stressing over the details of muscle contraction, and the anatomy of the heart, and nervous system. Instead, make sure you can understand the basic alignment of the body, and where the major bones and muscles are located. The exam did contain many questions about different muscles, their movements, and what exercises activated these muscles.

I hope these tips helped. Message me if you have any questions about my certification process. I wish you the best on your journey towards group fitness and teaching excellence.


Lots of Love,



2 Replies to “Passing my ACE Group fitness Exam (tips and tricks)”

  1. I loved your post about the ACE certification. I want to do this certification but do not know anyone who has done it and I wondered how difficult it is. I have done Pilates for years and love exercise. I am older now and just finished homeschooling all my children a couple of years ago. So, after schooling them, it’s a new journey to learn myself. I’ve printed off your “how should you study for the exam” to encourage myself. Thank you, Liana!


    1. Hi Teresa, let me just start off by saying thank you for reading my blog. I would say that the certification does require a good basic knowledge in anatomy and physiology (the movements of the major muscle groups, and what moves activate them). I also found that they want you to understand different types of illnesses and injures. It is hard and you have to really want to pass it in order to get through. I would recommend really exploring your options. I found that some of the other certifications offered a practical as well as a written test. I like this because your passing score does not just depend on your test taking skills and head knowledge. I wish you the best in your group fitness adventures.
      Love, Liana


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