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My experience taking ACE CPT – American Council on Exercise, Certified Personal Trainer


I am a proud ACE, Certified Personal Trainer from January 2018 when I received my certificate from American Council on Exercise.

In this blog post, I will share my Personal Trainer education journey during the period when I enrolled at American Council on Exercise, in the hopes giving you the readers an insight into the course, and to help you decide if it’s a worthwhile investment and decision to follow my similar path.

This blog post has several sections:

  1. Why I sign-up
  2. Application
  3. Finance
  4. Course Modules & Timetable
  5. First Day of School
  6. Classroom Culture
  7. Exams & Assignments
  8. Student Portal
  9. What’s Next



(1) Why I sign-up

The brochure then for ACE CPT October 2017 intake

I was enrolled in PSB Academy’s Diploma in Sport and Exercise Sciences back in September 2017 then, and was 2 months away from graduating, I decided to look around for a Certified Personal Trainer course, to complement my Diploma.

Well, a friend who is also a fellow PSB graduate suggested ACE CPT, and after researching, together we signed up as we are both looking to add value to our knowledge.

Apart from intrinsic personal motivation, the course provides subsidy support. One can use their SkillsFuture Credit to pay part of the course fee, and Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) to offset the course subsidy.

Another reason that convinced me to enroll in this course is that there are local classes being held for ACE CPT, rather than choosing the other available Certified Personal Trainer, such as NSAM, FISAF, ISSA, NCSF, IFPA, FIC, that was available, as some of these course offers e-learning instead.

Also, I’ve been personal training clients on a part-time basis, without a certificate and decided it’s about time that I get certified to commit myself further in this field.




(2) My Application – 18th September 2017

My first initial email to ASES, to enquire about my eligibility for the subsidies

There are a couple of ACE Education Partner in Singapore, Academy of Sports and Exercise Science (ASES), International Sports Academy (ISA) and Fit Singapore to name a few.

But I chose the former due to cost. It all boils down to money lor. They offer SkillsFuture and e2i subsidy as mentioned earlier. I am not sure if this ACE Education Partner is still offering the subsidies, it’s best that you contact them.

The ASES website is kinda not up to date, but however, their response rate is excellent. The ASES person who liaised with me was Joyce, a very helpful lady, I do hope she is still around to assist you, if you happen to decide on ASES.

I contacted ASES at ask@ases.edu.sg, and after reviewing the below criteria by the staff, I was asked to sign up online at http://www.ases.education/index.php/submit-application (The URL is now a 404 error, I told you their website needs a revamp).

Pre-Signup Criteria:

  1. Proof that I am a current fitness professional (To qualify for e2i subsidy)
  2. First Aid certification
  3. CPR and AED certification
  4. SkillsFuture credit status




(3) Finance

The whole course cost is $1750 Singapore dollar. After the two subsidies deductions, I only need to pay $375 dollar. The payment was made 8-days after the initial enquiry into the course. Fast game eh.

Of course if you signup with the subsidies, you’ve to fulfill the conditions such as “achieve 75% attendance for the course(s) within the Programme” (e2i) and the course is part of a self-upgrading umbrella of SkillsFuture Credit.

A penalty will be invoked if you do not fulfill the condition, such as full repayment of the course, which amounts to $1750.

Communicating with my ACE Education Center, ASES on the payment. Fast and quick response!

Cost of ACE CPT (In 2017 October):

Total Cost - e2i Subsidy - SkillsFuture Credit = What I paid
$1750 - $875 - $500 = $375

The communication for this payment was done both via email and Whatsapp. After the payment was done via bank transfer and forwarding the receipt copy to ASES, an invoice from ACE CPT was forwarded for my copy.

I went to Devan Nair Institute on 6th October 2017 after making an appointment with ASES, this was 3-weeks after I signed up online.

Next was picking up the textbook and finally meeting Joyce in person at their office, Devan Nair Institute. There I was confirmed with her my online access to ACE CPT student portal (Bring your laptop), and deductions from my SkillsFuture Credit.




(4) Course Modules & Timetable

This was the schedule for my intake back then, the venue is fixed, 2 locations, one for lessons, the other is practicals

The scheduling for this course is ideal for full-time working people. Lesson starts at 7pm and ends 3-hours later at 10pm. This will go on for 2-times a week for 2-months. The timing for practicals is usually held after lunch time.

The lessons are long, compact and very dry subjects, so bring a stimulant such as caffeine during classes. For me, I brought my Redbull. There are breaks in-between, that’s when I’ll eat my meal prep, my last meal of the day.

As for the course modules, recall the textbooks I mentioned earlier in the post from ASES office, well I categorize them as ‘Thick’ and ‘Thin ‘books, lol. Plus another book I called, ‘Other Book’.

Thick Book:

  1. Trainer Manual, 5th edition
  2. 18 chapters in total
  3. ACE CPT exams wise, I only study certain chapters
  4. You’ll go crazy if you try to remember all the stuff in there, for your exams
  5. Of course, if you have the time, feel free to learn more in the book on your own

Thin Book:

  1. Human Anatomy
  2. Execise Physiology
  3. Applied Kinesiology
  4. Nutrition
  5. Physiology of training

Other Book:

  1. Kinda like a revision book
  2. It will summarize and question you on what you’ve learned




(5) First Day of School – 23 October 2017

The view from the venue at Devan Nair Institute. It is just less than 5 minutes walk away from Jurong East mrt

I made my interest in the ACE CPT course with ASES on 18th September 2017 and a month later, I was enrolled in it. Just dive in and do it!

The first day of the lesson started 30 minutes earlier at 6:30pm. The half-hour was used to settle the administration and payment details.

ASES provides 1 bottle drink per lesson. You can also bring in your snacks and drinks into the classroom but please nothing too foul smelling. Also I recommend you bring your laptop, to jot down notes, easier when it comes to exam period as everything is already collated and archived.

It was a small class for my batch then, around 30 plus future Personal Trainers. We introduced ourselves and state our reason why we are there. As for me, I commented I enrolled “Because it’s cheap! Due to the subsidy”. LOL!

I refer to you, my friend Joe, who is an excellent Coach!

Try to signup with a friend if possible. If one of you are unable to attend any of the lessons, the friend will take down notes. Support each other. I am glad I joined with my friend, Joe, who share the same passion as me to self-upgrade.




(6) Classroom Culture

This is one of the three practicals lesson held. It was a different venue than the classroom. We had a hands-on experience on how to assess the client, not that much on how to teach exercises however.

The lecturer I had was very Zai (Expert). He was very patient with us and explained in details, and at times in layman terms for those without any fitness background.

Most of the lecturers used by ASES are those who had taken ACE CPT themselves and scored highly (E.g. 700+ points and above out of 800 scores).

During the breaks, I would buy snacks from the vending machines found outside the classroom

I like going to classes at ASES. It is quiet and conducive. The participants in there, which comprise from all walks of life, from students, teachers, current trainers to retirees, are all well-behaved, friendly and thoughtful of others.

Never it was ever noisy in the classroom. If you want to slack, go ahead and sleep in class, just don’t be a burden to other people. That’s my belief.

I did make contacts, but wish I had network more during the course though. This is a photo of me, networking with a ripped individual.

It is also a good time to network as you’ll meet other individuals, who share the same fitness passion but are Captains of Industry in a different field than yours.

You just never know, an opportunity might arise from these meetups. Grab it!




(7) Exams & Assignments

You can try Quizlets platform to find many of the ACE CPT exam questions there too

There isn’t any assignment for American Council on Exercise, Certified Personal Trainer.

The whole of two months of lessons, they are preparing you for the final exam, that’s it.

Once the school term is over, you’ll be advised by the local ACE Education Center to indicate your exam date, which can be within 1-3 months after your last lesson.

As for me, I chose 1 month. I don’t really fancy choosing 2 or 3 months as in my opinion, you don’t need that long to prepare. Take the exam when you’ve done your revision with the info still ‘fresh’ in your mind.

Once you have set your exam date (You need to liaise with your ACE Education Center rep for this), ACE will send you a ticket. Print it. On exam day, bring it, with your passport, IC and a jacket that has no pocket

Depending on who your lecturer is, they will provide the necessary tips and guide. Mine provided us with a ‘cheat sheet’ which is rather helpful.

Feel free also to download a summary that I did for my ACE CPT exams.

My exam was held at AXA Tower. I and my friend chose the first-morning slot. We want to get it over and done with, haha.

Upon arriving, the invigilator will confirm your identity before going inside the room (Ours was a small room at AXA Tower). There were 3 participants, each seated with a desktop and mouse.

While the invigilator is not the room when the exam starts, it is however is being monitored by audio and CCTV, so don’t even think of cheating.

You don’t need any personal writing utensils and you’ll need to deposit your handphone or other smart devices into the locker first.

You have three hours to complete the 150 multiple-choice questions. But since we are Asians, ACE consider English as our second language, thus we are given an extra 1.5 hours for the exams. LOL. For me and my friend, three hours is more than enough.

This is how the exam environment looks like. Use your mouse to choose your answer

The exams questions which is delivered via a secure internet connection, while some are clear-cut answers, some you have to choose the ‘best’ answer, which is rather annoying.

Don’t be afraid to be animated during the exams, I for example moved around while seated to get my answers. Like which movement screen is ideal, using which bodypart.

No you don’t need to bring a calculator E.g. To calculate for example maximum heart rate or unit conversions, a basic 4-function calculator is provided within the exam platform.

Don’t be an idiot and reschedule your exam as it’s going to cost you. Unless it’s an emergency, or if you are a Crazy Rich Asians, you’ll need to fork out USD$299 to retake your exam.




(8) Student Portal

Your ACE CPT portal access will be set up early during registration by your ACE Education Center rep

While I have access to the ACE Fitness portal at https://www.acefitness.org/myace/default.aspx, I didn’t really use the portal that much.

Other than trying out the Practice Tests there, it’s very much not utilised on my part.

How the portal looks like. Find job lobangs here also can

Once you’ve passed and am now a ACE CPT graduate, you’ll use it more often as you need the features there to extend your validity of your certificate.

ACE CPT certificate will last you for 2-years before you need to recertify again.

This is your ACE CPT membership card

To get recertified you’ll need 2 CECs points, CECs are continuing education credits. You can signup via the portal for the various CECs available.

Also you can find job opportunities on the portal.




(9) What’s Next

I did okay for my ACE CPT exams, I passed!

ACE CPT – American Council on Exercise, Certified Personal Trainer course is not rocket science. Once you grasp the basic understanding, you’ll do fine in your exams.

While having a fitness backgroud is a plus point, without one, as long you are dilligent in your revision, a passing grade is certain. You need however a score of 500 out of 800 to pass.

Your passing grade will be indicated once you finished your computer based internet test, on the screen. You can also check at your ACE Portal to find your grades.

Although the course touches the subject surface (Example Kinesiology, Physiology and Anatomy wasn’t explored in depth) only, there were alot of good information.

From here onwards, if you have the interest to delve further into the topic, it’s best your enroll in a Diploma or Degree programmes next. So as to become future Sports Scientists, who explores the topics such as the KREBS cycle, or performing Lactate Test on high performance athletes.

My ACE CPT class group photo during our last lesson

As for me, it has equipped me with a certificate to Personal Train my future clients with more confidence.

ACE CPT emphasise on Movement and also focusing on your domain only, which is Personal Training. If the clients wishes to engage outside this domain (such as Nutrition), don’t be a Hero and advise them. Instead, REFER them to other certified health professionals.

This course brought structure and steps on how to conduct yourself as a Personal Trainer, and I highly recommend it to others.

I hope this post has brought insights into the course and is of help. All the best in your PT journey!

Note: All the files and downloads in here are copyright of respective owners and are protected under international copyright laws and to be used only for personal use. No distribution, copies, reselling, reproduced or distributed in public, without the prior written permission of the owners.

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  1. Tks for sharing ur PT journey! I found it useful. I downloaded the summary that was uploaded. However it’s password protected. Could you email me the password pls?


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