I am writing this mainly to help others who are planning on taking their AFAA group certification. I tried to find resources online about the testing date and really came up empty, I hope my brief narration of the day helps you a bit on your big day.
On Dec. 3rd, I went onto the next step for my "on the side fitness gig", I took the AFAA Group Certification test. 100 questions on all the different aspects of group fitness from anatomy, physiology, to some background on music and even aspects on creating different classes-spin, step, yoga and even children exercise plus a small practical examination.
Two of my friends and I went down to take the test, MC and Seth. MC is also starting her fitness instructor career, but Seth has over 10 years of experience, he knows his stuff and not only that, he can keep an audience's attention no problem. I was very glad to have him there with us for his advice and knowledge.
To tell you the truth, I was freaking out the day of the test as I had not really studying that much. I had filled out the study guide completely and read it a few times. I even went and recorded some of the Q&A from the Study Guide onto my iPod so I could listen to them. However, I thought it wasn't going to be enough. I had really put in about 12 hours of work into the test and I was doubting my brain's capability to remember much. In my defense, I was working on handing in the first phase of my loom knitting book.
Once we got to the testing facility, Weber State University, I was eager to get it all done and over. I prefer to get the uncomfortable things done with fast so I can get on with my life, not to mention since I thought I was going to fail, I want it done and over so I could get on with my life, hahaha. The test unfortunately was the last thing of the day.
A run down on how things went, in case you are planning on taking the test. We got in and got checked in--needed to show ID and CPR card. After short introductions by the instructor, we got down to work. She went over almost the entire Study Guide with us. Thankfully, I had it all filled out and the bits that I was missing I was able to plug the information in.
The instructor went over the different major muscles and exercises for each one of them. My friend Seth had told us before hand to remember everything the instructor showed us and to always remember to keep it simple, this was not the time to show off. The instructor demonstrated different exercises for the different muscle groups and I did my best to burn them in my memory. I really hoped that my photographic memory was at work and that the film was working!
After a couple of hours of instruction we broke for lunch and then we came back and drilled it again for a bit and then the nerve wrecking part--the part where my photographic memory had to come to play-the practical.
The practical, not difficult but nerve wrecking nonetheless. Everyone was in the same room, they just gave us some numbers to stick to our shirts and we were off. Had to show a warm up with at least 3 movements. It is the same 3 movements over and over and over until the instructor told us otherwise. I felt like a tape player being rewound after every 30 seconds. Then the next phase, the high impact or higher intensity. Again, I kept it simple, 3 moves almost the same as the warm up just a little higher intensity. Lastly the cool down, simple again, almost the same as the warm up. Everything just quite simple, as long as you kept to your script and didn't look anywhere else except inside your head. One point that the instructor brought up was to try to stay on beat. I was scared of this as I had been told before that I couldn't keep the beat. I tried my best and I guess my best was good enough.
The very last part of the practical was showing 1 exercise in front of the class and give modifications for 3 different levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. With each change with at least 2 cues to guide the students/class participants. I followed Seth's advice and kept everything simple. If an exercise was asked for a certain muscle group, I gave exactly the same exercise the instructor showed.
The day was long but I came home with a better understanding of group fitness and putting together a group class.
After about a 5 week wait, my test results came. I was afraid of the outcome and really didn't want to open the envelope. Mentally I was ready to retake the test if I had to but no one really likes to fail. As I opened the envelope and peeked inside and saw my AFAA Group Certification card, a warm feeling washed over me. I had done it! I had passed :).
Main things to remember:
Written test: Fill out the Study Guide and read it a few times over. If you have capabilities of recording the Q&As onto your iPod do it, it is so easy to listen to it while you are driving, cooking or exercising.
Practical: Keep it simple--it is no time to show off or to impress anyone. If you are able to, remember all the exercises the instructor shows during the class presentation and use the same ones.