Passing the Canfitpro Personal Training Specialist Exam.

Posted: April 1, 2014 in Strengthening and Conditioning, Uncategorized
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This is an update to a previous blog about the Canfitpro – Personal Training Specialist Exam.


Almost a month has passed since I posted a blog about reviewing for the Canfitpro-Personal Training Specialist exam. I finished a 5-year bachelor’s degree in Sports Science in the Philippines, but since moving to Canada I have to upgrade my qualifications. For a start, I decided to take the Canfitpro – Personal Training Specialist certification as the first step to my fitness career in Toronto and beyond. I did not register for the certification course – I only paid the fees to take the theory and practical exam for the canfitpro – PTS. In spite of the mixed reviews, Canfitpro offers the most accessible and available certification there is, so I decided to invest on it. Later on, I am planning to take the NCSA – Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist exam.

Read reviews on the Canfitpro – Personal Training Specialist here

Read my blog about the Canfitpro – PTS practical evaluation

I took the exam two Sundays ago in a Good Life Fitness gym. There were around 10 to 12 of us who took the certification exam in that area that day. I think there was an equal number of guys and girls who took the exam. Obviously, most of them took the course because the Canfitpro PTS pro trainer greeted them at the lobby. Maybe two or three people were there to retake the exam.

Just last Saturday, a week after my exam, I got my theory test result and I passed!


What to expect in the exam location?
You can check the canfitpro website page about course and exam dates and locations. You will see that most, if not all, courses and exams are held in gyms with a high percentage of those gyms being Good Life Fitness. For my exam, it was held in a group exercise studio of a relatively small Good Life Fitness gym. My exam was scheduled on a Saturday afternoon.

I arrived about 15 minutes early for my exam and had to wait at the small ‘lobby’ of the gym, directly in front of the reception area, which I think made it a bit awkward because the people running on the treadmills or using the gym equipment can see all the nervous certified-personal-trainer-hopefuls looking clueless and waiting anxiously. You aren’t in the gym to exercise but to take an exam so probably you won’t be wearing shorts, track pants, or anything that you usually wear to work out. One guy even brought his book and pile of notes and continued reading until the exam started which attracted a few weird looks from some people working out in the gym.

Exam Tip: If you want to minimize exam jitters, then be prepared for those curious and weird looks
from gym members, other trainers and gym staff.

After a few minutes, we were called in by our Canfitpro PTS pro trainer and led us to the gym’s group exercise area or studio. It was well lit with mirrors on the walls. We were seated around portable tables on portable chairs. There were at least 3 people sitting around one table.

Exam Tip: If possible, choose a table with fewer people so that you will be more comfortable during the exam.

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How long will the exam take?
You are allowed 3 hours to write your Canfitpro Personal Training Specialist theory exam. The day before the exam, I had been telling my wife that I will be finished in less than an hour, but it took me almost 2 1/2 hours to answer everything!

Exam Tip: Be prepared by sleeping and eating well the day and the morning before your exam. As much as possible, keep your mind from being cluttered – you don’t want to be thinking of something else during those three hours (for example, ‘is my dog hungry now?’ ‘I’m gonna miss my T.V. show!’ etc.).

How to study for the Canfitpro Personal Training Specialist exam
If you have a background in Sports Science, Kinesiology, or any related field, then I don’t think you need to take the Canfitpro Personal Trainer course. If you are not confident or you think your knowledge is outdated, then taking the course can be an option.

For me, I used the book Foundations of Professional Personal Training and Study Guide for Foundations of Professional Personal Training by Canfitpro. The Foundations of Professional Personal Training has 13 chapters in all so you can plan to read at least two chapters per day, and you’ll finish it in a week. Only a few chapters are longer than usual, but most chapters have about 10 pages.I read through the whole book once, which took me around 5 or 6 days. The book is very easy to read and yes, it has pictures.

Get this book from Amazon.

Get this book from Amazon.

After reading thoroughly through the book Foundations of Professional Personal Training, I answered the sample exam in the Study Guide for Foundations of Professional Personal Training. If you have been looking for a sample exam or review test questions for the Canfitpro PTS exam, then get the Study Guide for Foundations of Professional Personal Training

There are around 140 questions that you can find and answer from the study guide which will ensure that you have read and understood the book. You can find the answer guide at the back, but try not to look at them if you haven’t tried answering the sample questions. The questions from the actual theory exam are closely similar to those found from the Study Guide for Foundations of Professional Personal Training so it was really helpful for me to review.
canfitpro study guide

Get this book from Amazon.

Get this book from Amazon.

After answering the exam for the first time from the Canfitpro study guide, I took note of my wrong answers so that I could look it up and study them again. The sample exam questions found from the study guide were arranged according to the chapters in the book Foundations of Professional Personal Training so it was easy to go back to the chapters that I needed to study more on. I read the chapters that I had mistakes on and I took the sample exam questions from the study guide the second time. I wrote all of the 140 sample exam questions again to help me review the other chapters as well and make me confident that I do know the answers to them and that I didn’t just had a lucky guess. Again, I took note of my mistakes and reviewed the chapters after answering the sample questions from the study guide. I took the exam for a third time and I almost had a perfect score for the sample exam for Canfitpro Personal Trainer Specialist.

Read my blog about the Canfitpro – PTS practical evaluation

Summary and a few more tips for your exam:

  • Make sure that you have read through the whole Foundations of Professional Personal Training book and understood them well. Take note of the terms, important formulas, and recommendations found from the book. You can get the book Foundations of Professional Personal Training with a very helpful DVD from Amazon – it’s worth it. Click here to get the book Foundations of Professional Personal Training from Amazon.
  • Be at your best self when you are taking your exam. Wear comfortable clothes and keep your mind from being cluttered.
  • The information found from the canfitpro website about the Personal Training Specialist exam can be a bit misleading. Take note that for the theory part, you have to write 100 multiple choice exam questions plus 100 points for the case study part. In total, the theory part of the Canfitpro Personal Training Specialist exam is worth 200 points.
  • The 100 points for the multiple choice is the easy part. For me, it got messy when I was writing the case study part. Good thing I brought pencils so I was able to erase the parts that I needed to change. Bring pencils with you – you’ll be needing it especially for the case study part of the exam. You can use your ink pen for the multiple choice questions.
  • For the case study, read chapter 11 of the book and be familiar with the exercises and stretching found in Appendices. You don’t have to remember the names of each exercise and stretches – you can describe the movement of the stretch or exercise. Our pro trainer even allowed someone to draw a stick figure that resembles the stretch or exercise he wants to write!
  • Remember the FITT principle and the equivalent values for cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, and flexibility for beginner, intermediate, and advanced clients.
  • Know how to compute the Karvonen formula and BMI. Bring a good calculator for your exam.
  • If you are searching the internet for sample exam questions for the Canfitpro Personal Trainer Specialist exam, STOP. I have tried doing that as well but found only a couple of links, which I mentioned in my previous blog. Those links from the internet were only slightly helpful. My blog has been getting lots of ‘hits’ from search engines about sample exam questions for Canfitpro. If you really want to pass your Canfitpro Personal Trainer Specialist exam, then get yourself the Study Guide for Foundations of Professional Personal Training. Again, it’s another worth it investment that will save you from paying the retake fee for the exam. Click here to get the Study Guide for Foundations of Professional Personal Training from Amazon.
  • Try answering the study guide at least thrice and review the chapters from the book for your wrong answers. Don’t just look up the portions about your wrong answers – read the whole chapter again and make sure that you understood it the second or third time.
  • Answer the sample exam questions from the study guide as many times as you can, and try to get at least more than 120 correct answers before you write the actual Canfitpro PTS exam.
  • Motivate yourself well while you study. During my theory exam, there were a couple of persons who finished early. Later on, I found out that they submitted their exam early not because they finished it well, but because they were too anxious to continue writing. At the end of the day, it is still an exam. Life goes on whether you pass or not. There’s always a second chance. Don’t give up! More importantly, don’t give up when you haven’t even started or while you are already doing it!
  • Last but not the least, shake your sillies out and don’t be too anxious!

All the best to your certification!

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  1. […] UPDATE: I passed my Canfitpro Personal Training Specialist theory exam! Click here for tips for the … […]


  2. […] Passing the Canfitpro Personal Training Specialist Exam. […]


  3. lindsaycg says:

    Thank you for writing this. It’s very helpful.


  4. Angel Ram says:

    What should I be aware of for the case study on the exam? 100 marks seems like alot!


    • Billy says:

      The handout you will get after the written exam will have enough information about the practical exam, but it’s always best to have actual experience on training other people. 🙂


  5. Trish says:

    Thank you – I am writing this exam next week and am quite nervous. Question regarding the case study, we had “homework” where we had to design a program for a person – am I correct in assuming the homework they gave us will be quite similiar to what will be asked on the exam?


    • Billy says:

      Hi Trish, i did not take the course so i dont know exactly whats in your homework. The exam case study requires you to make a program design as well, given a subjects data. Best of luck!


  6. Kai says:

    Thx for posting! Was very helpful:) appreciate your time in explaining in detail.
    Just wondering- is the multiple choice portion worth one mark each with 100 questions? The case study portion also worth 100 marks each as you mentioned. We need a minimum of 80% to pass correct? Do we need to know the various charts as well? Vitamins, heart rates, energy systems..etc.


    • Billy says:

      Hi, youre welcome! Yes the multiple choice and case study are both 100points, making 200pts total. There are some multiple choice questions that are worth 2 points, etc. You need to be familiar with the heart rate range. Vitamins, not so much but it’s good to know 🙂


  7. stefan says:

    when i did my exam…there wasnt any case study ?, as in creating a full fledge program for the client, etc, it was just asking questions of muscle groups, whats his HRR, HRMAX blah blah blah and BMI , what would you tell the client to keep them motivated, stuff like that, so where’s the case study part of the exam lol . i didnt see it ?


  8. “The practical exam must consist of a 60 minute personal training session, covering all mandatory fitness components listed in the Personal Trainer Specialist study guide.” What was this like? I could see this taking all day if it were a large class. Does another student participate in your “session”?


    • Billy says:

      Hi Veronica. You are supposed to bring your own ‘client’ to the practical exam – it’s better to have someone familiar in the gym if you can. The practical is One-on-One with your examiner (and your client) and does not take more than an hour.. After the written exam, every student will make an appointment with the examiner which date works for them so you’ll all have different days and times to do the exam.


  9. Jessy says:

    Hi Billy, I did my exam not too long ago and I did not pass it. I have no background experience at all in fitness, but I though Canfit would help me understand it. I have read the study book carefully but when I did the exam, I did not expect the study case to be 100pts and long to do. I was not prepared at all. In the class that I took, he did not show us how to do a case study so I was very confused.

    I tried looking for help, but no one replied to any of my emails. So I would like to ask you, do you how I can get help with the case studies? I would like to have some examples so I can test myself before redoing the exam. Please help,

    Thank you


  10. Chris says:

    Very helpful…thanks for taking time to post this

    Liked by 1 person

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