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2017 ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist Exam Changes

UPDATE: We expect to officially release scores around February 9, 2018.

 Q: When will the Certified Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-EP) reflect the updated exam content outline?

A: The ACSM-EP exam will change on Monday, December 18th, 2017. Accuracy of exam scores is of utmost importance for ACSM. Exam scores on or after December 18th will be temporarily held while ACSM conducts a psychometric analysis. To see what will be on the exam, click here.

Q: What do the cognitive levels mean on the exam content outline?

A: The ACSM-EP exam will include multiple-choice questions written at three different cognitive levels: recall, application, and synthesis. These levels represent an organized way to identify the performance that certified professionals will utilize on the job. An explanation of the three cognitive levels is provided below:

  • Recall = remember basic facts, information, or steps in a process.
  • Application = comprehend and implement processes, interpret simple results, or summarize information.
  • Synthesis = differentiate, relate parts of a system, make judgments on new information based on given criteria, critique a process or product, make recommendations.

Q: What is a delivery blackout?

A: Candidates will be unable to take the ACSM-EP exam from Monday, December 11th, 2017 through Sunday, December 17th, 2017. Please plan to take the exam prior to December 11th if you wish to take the exam based on the 2012 exam content outline.

Q: What will change on the ACSM-EP exam?

A: The most significant changes are in preparticipation screening, the percentage distribution of the performance domains, and removal of the business and management topics. Please view the crosswalk document for the ACSM-EP for more detail.

Changes in content domain weighting are presented in the table below:

Comparison of the 2012 and 2017 ACSM-EP Performance Domains

Q: Do I have to retake the ACSM-EP exam if I passed the exam prior to December 18, 2017?

ACSM-CPT certificants who remain in good standing with the continuing education requirements do not need to retake the exam. Lapsed certificants wishing to reinstate must take the exam based on the current exam content outline and current eligibility requirements.

Q: Can I use old books to prepare for the new exam?

A: It is recommended to use the most current resources (e.g., textbooks, position stands, webinars) to best prepare for the ACSM-EP exam.

Q: What are the key changes to 10th Edition of ACSM's Guidelines to Exercise Testing and Prescription (GETP 10)?

A: An overview of the substantive changes to the industry can be found in the Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 10th Edition (GETP 10); e.g., exercise preparticipation screening algorithm, exercise prescription for healthy populations, behavioral theories and strategies for promoting exercise.

  • A pre-recorded webinar of key changes to GETP 10 can be found be found here.
  • Overview of the updated exercise preparticipation health screening can be found here.
  • Application of ACSM's Updated Exercise Preparticipation Health Screening Algorithm can be found here.
  • Purchase Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 10th Edition.

 Q: What changed in the recommendations for exercise preparticipation health screening?

A: An expert panel proposed a new evidence-informed model for exercise preparticipation health screening based on three factors:

  1. The individual's current level of physical activity
  2. Presence of signs, symptoms and/or known cardiovascular, metabolic or renal disease
  3. Desired exercise intensity

The new recommendations no longer include the cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor profile as part of the decision-making for referral to a health care provider prior to the initiation of a moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise program.

Additionally, the recommendations no longer utilize a low/moderate/high risk classification scheme. It makes general recommendations for medical clearance versus specific recommendations for medical exams or exercise tests. The manner of clearance is left to the discretion of the health care provider and does not automatically refer individuals with cardiovascular/pulmonary/metabolic disease for medical clearance prior to the initiation of an exercise program.

For more information, please click here.

View the Facebook live session discussing the changes here:


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