The Scribbler

30 November 2012

Back in the exam room

A couple of months ago I began a distance learning course with Absorb Fitness to get a fitness qualification. It’s basically the one I would need to go and work in a gym environment and devise cardio and resistance training for clients.

I’ve really enjoyed settling down to learn something. That’s no doubt helped by my interest in the subject, but it has reminded me that I was in the past, quite academically minded, and I actually do enjoy the process and discipline.

Sometimes it’s been hard to fit in time to study. I’ve mainly slotted it in over a weekend, hitting the books on Saturday and Sunday, or picking up the odd hour at lunchtime. And I went back to old learning tricks, like having prompts and key facts pinned up around my desk at home and at work. I’ve had a few comments about my muscles and skeletal diagrams!

Last weekend was finally the time to put it to the test as I was booked to take two exam papers – Anatomy and Physiology and Principles of Health and Fitness. And I was nervous. I worked out on the drive over to the sports centre where I would sit the test that it’s been 20 years since I last sat an exam.

But there it was, the room with the desks and well separated chairs. The invigilator giving out papers, writing the codes at the top and then the dead quiet as the exam began and we began to mark our answer sheets.

It was multiple choice and there were a few questions that I knew I hadn’t covered in the course materials and a couple where I thought all or none of the answers fit. But I worked my way through and was reasonably confident.

The second paper had a pass mark of 18/25 and as I went back through my answers I counted 8 I wasn’t sure of, so I thought it could be close. But I decided I’d done what I could and handed in my paper.

At least I didn’t have long to wait to get my result as they arrived by text later that evening (how many times did I check my phone on Sunday afternoon?). And I passed.
43/50 for anatomy and physiology
23/25 for principles of health and fitness ( the one I was worried I might fail)

I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve learned so far. It’s put a lot of my own training into context and helped me understand the theory behind it, so now I understand the good habits that I’ve learned. For example, I’d have instinctively done the kind of warm up that I normally do with my PT if I was planning a session for a client, but now I understand the different elements of that warm up and why they’re recommended. 

That’s basically the theory part of the course done and the next part will be a practical assessment where I’ll have to demonstrate how I plan and deliver an appropriate training session using cardio and resistance work with a ‘dummy’ client. I hope to do that early in the New Year and then I’ll be qualified.

The more I do, the more I’m convinced this is something I want to continue. I’ve got loads of satisfaction from volunteering at parkrun and encouraging friends in their fitness goals, so it would be nice to spread that a little wider. And I’m enjoying learning again, filling my brain with stuff, making connections and applying what I know to my own training.

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