AEA 2011 Certification Exam - High Scorers
How Did They Prepare?
Urban legend has it that the AEA Aquatic Fitness Professional (AFP) Certification exam is wicked hard. So, is it legend or truth? Well, I think most who have taken the exam would say it is pretty true. The Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) has maintained its reputation as the leader in aquatic fitness for over 25 years. Why? Because AEA certified instructors prove that they meet a standard of education that is indisputably superior in the aquatic fitness industry. They do this by preparing for, and passing, the AEA certification exam and then they maintain their certification through strictly enforced continuing education requirements.
Let’s go back to the part about preparing for the AEA exam because here within resides the bogeyman that fuels the legend of the exam being a horror to get through. Breaking News! If you do not prepare adequately the exam will be brutal. There…the truth is out.
If you are preparing for the exam in 2012 what should you know? Well, we have a pretty good idea why some people fail the exam. Let’s start there.
TOP FIVE REASONS PEOPLE FAIL
1) Registering late. Statistics show that people who register less than two months from the date of the exam have lower test scores due to inadequate time to prepare.
2) Failure to review the exam study objectives. Exam study objectives are emailed to each candidate when they register. There is also a practice exam at the Online Education area of our website to assist in understanding the terminology of the true exam.
3) Spending too little time studying the AFP manual. The manual has almost 400 pages – you cannot learn the content in a few days.
4) Assuming that the AFP Practical & Skill Applications course prior to the exam will cover all objectives. This daylong course only covers approximately 33% of the questions asked on the exam.
5) Failing to take advantage of the online prep course. Those freaked out by anatomy and science should take the online prep course.
Okay, now that you know what NOT to do, let’s take a look at what you should do in preparing for the exam. Who better to give advice on this than seven of the top AFP exam scorers in 2011? What highly effective study habits did these seven people have that allowed them to breeze through the exam and land themselves at the top of the scoring charts? How did they study and what tips can they share?
Gayle Haab, an aquatic fitness instructor at the NorthPointe Health and Wellness in Roscoe, Illinois.
How did you study for the exam? I read the Aquatic Fitness Professional Manual cover to cover, answered the review questions at the end of each chapter, and took the online AEA Online Prep Course offered by Human Kinetics.
Tips for studying: Study well in advance of taking the exam. Register for the AEA Online Prep Course and complete the test questions for each chapter in addition to taking the course test.
Zaira J Knudsen, an aquatic fitness instructor, certified life guard and AFAA personal trainer at the West Morris Area YMCA in Randolph, New Jersey.
How did you study for the exam? I studied the book from start to finish, about two hours daily for close to three months. I also observed many classes and practiced some.
Tips for studying: Get your materials in advance, study daily and get as much aqua practice as you can. Also, it did help that I was recently certified as a personal trainer with AFAA.
Zach Miller, an aquatic fitness instructor and personal trainer in Cincinnati, Ohio.
How did you study for the exam? I personally read the 6th Edition AEA Manual beginning from about 3 months prior to the test. Then I studied other instructors, asked questions and sought out additional resources when necessary. I also attended the AEA practical class the same day as the exam.
Tips for studying: Concentrate on sections of the exam that have the most questions, but make sure you cover all the material in the manual. And, as you study, think about what kind of questions they may ask about the material.
Lisa Nardell, an aquatic fitness instructor in Richmond, Virginia.
How did you study for the exam? I read through the entire manual twice with the goal of covering three to four chapters per week. I also completed the AEA Online Prep Course offered by Human Kinetics.
Tips for studying: Take the online prep course! Also, keep the manual with you whenever possible so that when you get some spare time you can review - e.g. doctor's office waiting room, during lunch break, waiting to meet a friend, etc.
Alane Redwanz, an aquatic fitness instructor in Trumbull, Connecticut.
How did you study for the exam? The AEA Online Prep Course and AFP manual were the key tools. I would read a chapter in the manual and then do the related online prep course chapter.
Tips for studying: Once you have gone through all of the chapters, do the entire online prep course again and then study the manual, especially definitions and the tables. The day before the exam, review both the definitions in the glossary of the manual and the AEA Standards and Guidelines. (See link below)
Janet Tart, an aquatic fitness instructor in Clinton, North Carolina.
How did you study for the exam? I thoroughly studied the manual, taking notes as I went and answering every review question in the manual. I also completed the AEA Online Prep Course (Human Kinetics) and attended the review class prior to taking the exam.
Tips for studying: Don't underestimate the complexity of this certification! AEA is serious about their instructors earning their certification. Allow yourself plenty of time to study. Use the online prep course if at all possible as that helped me immensely, as did the certification course before the exam.
Cheryl J. Urmy, a land and water group exercise instructor in Honolulu, Hawaii.
How did you study for the exam? I read 80% of the chapters in the AFP manual and completed most of chapter reviews. I purchased the AEA Online Prep Course offered through Human Kinetics and used that course as the center of my study. Some online chapters, I completed twice if I needed the extra help.
Tips for studying: I highly recommend the Human Kinetics online course because it condenses the material in the AFP manual to all of the pertinent information and gets you prepared for the type of questions on the exam.
Based on these seven responses, I think we can draw two strong conclusions here.
- The AEA Online Prep Course seems to be a magic bullet for those who take advantage of it. As a trainer on the road, I can assure you that the most confident people sitting through the certification courses that I have taught are those who take the online prep course. AEA recommends that you may want to consider registering for this course 3-6 months prior to sitting for the exam.
- The AFP sixth edition manual must be purchased early and must be reviewed cover to cover. AEA recommends 8-12 weeks of self-prepared advance study. This, apparently, is not sinking in with some people because, as a trainer, I have witnessed people show up for the certification after having just purchased the manual the week before! This self-study should be performed with the sixth edition manual, not the fourth or fifth edition manuals. Try to resist the urge to save a few bucks by borrowing someone’s outdated manual. The new manual you purchase will be a coveted reference guide for future use after you are certified.
Ready, set, go! Below are some valuable links that will help you study more effectively. These are your links to success! There is even an all NEW link that will take you to a sample test available NOW online for just $12.50 ($10 for AEA Members). This test is a sample of what you can expect when you sit for the AEA AFP exam.
HELPFUL LINKS FOR SUCCESSFULLY PASSING THE AEA CERTIFICATION
There you have it! The highly effective study tools needed to secure you a spot on the high scorer list for 2012. And if you aren’t a high scorer - who cares - no one will ever ask you what you scored on your certification exam. They just want to know if you are certified – and more and more frequently – they want to know if you are certified by AEA, the indisputable leader in aquatic fitness education.