When I first signed up to get my group fitness certification through AFAA, I had all the intent to take the exam before the last minute. While this was the plan, I did end up waiting until the 11th hour, or more specifically, the 11th month. 1 month before my time limit was up was when I finally picked up the study materials. In the end, I passed the exam in about 1/2 an hour with a 97% score.
Based on conversations with other instructors, I found out that preparation for AFAA’s Primary Group Exercise exam used to be offered through live classes. Now it’s all online. I purchased the self study course at a discount through AFAA’s partnership with Zumba. My course came with the textbook, reference manual, study guide, and video lectures – everything I would need to pass the exam.
I will say that studying for the Primary Group Exercise exam took time. I followed the study plan and read through the suggested chapters of the textbook. As I read through the textbook, I filled out the study guide. That study guide is, in my honest opinion, the best way you can guide your preparation for the exam. Additionally, I spent some dedicated time looking over the muscle man and memorizing the different muscles, where they were located, and their muscle actions. During workouts, I often found myself thinking about which muscles I was using and if the class followed AFAA’s formula.
There were times when I wasn’t sure of the answers in the study guide. In those moments, I referred to the internet and cross checked different sets of Quizilla flash cards to verify their accuracy. This investigative process reinforced my learning by forcing me to digest and understand the different ways of phrasing responses.
Personally, I did not think the video lectures were very helpful. It may be my attention span, but I did not find them engaging. I would often doze off in the middle of each video. That said, I did watch all the videos so I may have learned some of the content through osmosis.
Lastly, I barely used the reference manual. From the material I skimmed in there, I think the manual is a great guide to use after passing the exam if you want to revisit the material. It’s definitely not a substitute for the textbook. Many of the chapters in the textbook are not covered in the reference manual, and a lot of the information that is in the reference manual is directly quoted from the textbook. So, if you read the textbook chapters, there’s no need to duplicate efforts by reading the reference manual.
To summarize, I relied heavily on the textbook and study guide, as well as internet sources to fill in gaps I had on the study guide. While the videos weren’t helpful for me, they may be more effective for audio learners. While I don’t advocate for waiting until the last minute to take the exam, if you’re in a bind and don’t want to pay to extend your study time, it is possible to prepare in a short amount of time. Good luck!