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Examination Processes and Procedures

Personal Fitness Trainer Certification Exam Format

The on-site certification examinations include a 105-question multiple-choice exam (5 questions are not graded and are for statistical purposes only) exam. An 80% is required to pass on the multiple choice and exam.

Unless otherwise noted, on-site certification workshops are conducted from 8:45 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday and from 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday. Our certification exam is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 pm. on Sunday afternoon.

Plan to arrive at the certification site 15 minutes early. Be sure to bring a photo ID, course manual, study guide, notebook and pen/pencil. All students must provide proof of payment and have a valid photo ID to gain admittance to the certification workshop and examination. For breakdown of class topics see Workshop timeline page 11.

Scoring the Exam

The certification exam is scored at IFPA Headquarters in the Test Grading Department. The multiple choice exam is graded by hand with a stencil overlay which is placed over the candidate’s multiple choice answer sheet. The stencil has the correct answer punched out which will line up with the correct responses. The test grader marks all responses that are incorrect and determines percentage correct out of 100.

Notification of Results

An 80% is required to pass on the multiple choice exam. A results letter will include the percentage the candidate made on the multiple choice exam. Complete processing of certification exams and notification of results may take four to six weeks after IFPA’s receipt of the examination(s). Individuals who achieve passing scores will receive their certificates and wallet cards at this time.

Rush Processing is available upon request for a fee. (Call the IFPA for current prices.) With the Rush Processing option, your results will be faxed or e-mailed to you within 72-hours after the IFPA receives your exam. This option must be selected before your examinations are received for grading (either with initial registration or when your exam is returned to the IFPA for grading). Your results will then be mailed to you (along with your certificate and wallet card if you pass) within two weeks.

Scores are only official once assigned by the IFPA headquarters. Examination faculty or proctors are not allowed to review students’ examinations on site.


The initial registration fee includes the opportunity to take the required exam once. Those individuals who do not receive a minimum 80% on the multiple choice exam will be notified. Options for retaking exams include: (1) Retake on-site exam(s) at the next available workshop within 3 months of test results for the cost of retest only or (2) retest by proctor in your local area within 3 months. After 3 months retest will be available for the cost of retest and a penalty fee. Retesting is not available after 6 months from the date of your test results. Current retest fees are $79 to retake the exam. Prices are subject to change. Retake fees will be listed on the results letter sent after you take the exam.

Proctor Fee

Students that wish to take a proctored exam prior to the scheduled workshop date may do so for a $50 proctor fee. This would be paid to the IFPA prior to the event by contacting the IFPA at 1-800-785-1924.