The 5 Hardest NASM CPT Test Questions (and Answers)

The NASM CPT exam is notorious for being one of the most difficult fitness certification exams out there. They purposely try to make it difficult in many ways, like reaching into the depths of the text book to locate the one sentence where that test question can be found [our Audio Lectures and Study Guide help to point these out]. They also have many questions that you must truly understand the concept to get right. Regardless of the reason for these questions being hard, let us help you by explaining the top 5 hardest questions from the NASM CPT Exam. (This has been updated to reflect the newest version of the exam: Version 6)

circles@2x 1
cross 1


Which of the following is released into the synaptic terminal to stimulate muscular contraction?

  1. Calcium
  2. Troponin
  3. Acetylcholine
  4. Actin

To immediately analyze this question, it is a science-based and from chapter two, which they do point out in their study guide. Specifically, they tell you to memorized Figure 2.38. When memorizing this chart, the answer is only 1 of the 10 steps in initiating a muscular contraction. All of the above answers are also located in this chart, making it that much more difficult. Thirdly, the actual answer is abbreviated in the text, making you second guess yourself. All of these answers participate in muscular contraction, but the key words you must look at in the question is the ‘synaptic terminal’, as this will tell you which part of the muscular contraction they are focusing on.

Answer:  C : Acetylcholine


Anything asking you about Altered Length Tension Relationships or Altered Force Couple Relationships.

To vent a smidge, they don’t tell you what these topics are when you are reading in the book. They discuss the Length Tension Relationship and Force Couple, but never define what an altered version of either actually is. Yes, you could say its common sense, but the way they ask the questions leaves a little room for argument as to what the correct answer is. For example, “When the feet turn out due to tightness in the calves, which of the following has occurred? A. Altered Reciprocal Inhibition B. Altered Length Tension Relationship C. Altered Force Couple Relationship D. Muscle Imbalance”. Well we definitely know that this is an example of a muscle imbalance. But by definition, which they do not have in the book, misaligned joints or poor posture is an Altered Length Tension Relationship. This is your correct answer. My guess is they are trying to get you to use the principles they discuss as opposed to just saying it is a muscle imbalance. Tough stuff, but you just got it right for reading this.


Which muscle can internally rotate the hip when the foot is in the planted position touching the floor?

  1. Gluteus Maximus
  2. Adductor Longus
  3. TFL
  4. Vastus Medialis

Overall just a tough question as this would require you to memorize all the concentric actions of most the muscles in Appendix D. Luckily they don’t ask many muscle action questions, so don’t waste too much time, but knowing the basics to the larger muscles can help. In the back of the book the TFL does perform internal rotation, but adding, “when the foot is in the planted position touching the floor” throws most people off. The others are going to be external rotators of the hip or perform no rotation of the hip at all. The TFL is also associated with many muscle imbalances, so be aware this is not the only place that the TFL makes an appearance on the NASM CPT Test.


Which exercise follows the Half Foam Roll in the lower extremity proprioceptive progression continuum?

  1. Bosu Ball
  2. Balance Beam
  3. Foam Pad
  4. Balance Disc

This question is one of the questions that point to a very specific section of the book that you would not think to memorize. Most of us have some basic training sense that would give us a good guess, but the answer can be found in table 10.1 in Balance Training Program Design section. The correct answer is the Foam Pad, but noting the asterisk at the bottom, “theses modalities come in many shapes and sizes that will dictate proper progression”. This tricks many test takers as the balance disk and foam pad are tough to choose from when thinking of the next progression logically. Studying the right material is sometimes better than relying on logic, (insert shameless plug here) and that’s why we highly encourage checking out Fitness Mentors Study Guide for the NASM CPT Exam.


Which of the following supplements have the greatest potential for excess dosage in adults?

  1. Selenium, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Thiamin
  2. Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Iron and Zinc
  3. Vitamin A, Iodine, Potassium, Vitamin K
  4. Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, Biotin and Manganese

Uggghhhh. Pure agony. Of course you studied this, right? Well you know a few that might be considered toxic in excess amounts, but you can’t recall all of them can you? I know the feeling and this one gets most all test takers. Looking to Chapter 18 – Nutrition and Supplementation. You’re going to find this in the first two paragraphs after Table 18.3 – Comparison of Dietary Reference Intake Values (for adult men and women) and Daily Values for Micronutrients with the Tolerable Upper Intake Levels, Safe Upper Levels, and Guidance Levels; they couldn’t have named that chart any better. Every supplement has the potential for excess dosage when taken in extreme amounts, but NASM is looking to make sure you know the ones that are most common for our society, eating the American diet. Looking at the paragraph below Table 18.3, they list 3 vitamins and 2 minerals that specifically that can cause serious adverse effects, which are Vitamins A, D, B6, Iron and Zinc.

These questions will now be a ton easier once they show up on the test. 5 questions down, 115 to go. NASM can pull questions from any sentence in the book which makes the 600+ pages daunting for the unmotivated reader (Our Audio Lectures take you page by page through the text and explain everything to make this process easier). Check out more of our tips and tricks to passing the exam by signing up to receive the “5 Secrets to Passing Your NASM CPT Exam”. Also if you need more help we have some great premium materials, like our Practice Tests for the NASM CPT Exam that make this test a breeze. Check them out here. (If you can score above a 108 out of 120 on all three of our practice final exams you are ready to test.)

circles@2x 1
cross 1

Recommended Posts


  1. Hi

    I am very nervous about takeing the CPT test. Are there any practice exams that I can take ?

  2. Yes Ziggy! Check out a free practice test at the PRACTICE TESTS heading under CPT PREP above. Also If you want three full tests and a quiz for each chapter including over 500+ questions you can purchase them from that page too.



  3. Are the practice test questions similar to the actual test? Ive been memorizing the flash cards? Will that help me?

    • Hi Shane!

      Our Practice Tests are going to be the most similar to the actual exam you will find anywhere. All forms of studying, including flashcards, can be great but we recommend making sure you study the most test specific material that our Audio Lectures and Study Guide point out.

      Study up!

      Fitness Mentors

  4. I am having a hard time comprehending the materials in the textbooks the more I read the more I do not retain anything I read I purchased the 1,999 package and I supposedly have all the resources but how can this be easier on my brain

    • Hey. I purchased all that stuff too. I am also having problems ” getting it “. I ve called NASM twice and they say the same thing ,” don’t worry so much ” .
      Ugh… I ve gone on Quizlet a million times and have good days and bad days.
      I think I bit off too much with NASM right now. I’m feeling defeated and I’m only in the 3 rd week !!!

      • Hey Guys,

        The NASM Material is tough and truly getting it can be a hefty task. We have set up a system with our Audio Lectures, Practice Tests and Study Guide that make the learning process easy and not so overwhelming. Also if you have any study questions you can call us and we will answer them right away. Also as a test of whits, if you can score a 108, or better, out of 120 on both of our practice tests we nearly guarantee you will pass. We are always here to help.

        Keep up the good studying!

        Fitness Mentors

        • Hi my name is Shelby petersen. I just enrolled at nasm . I am have a really hard time paying for it . An I don’t understand any of the program . Any suggests on how to pass the program . Or how do you cancel the program if you can’t pay for it .

          • Hi Shelby,

            Congrats on enrolling in NASM. The way they structure their program can be difficult to follow and understand. Check out our study materials for a concise curriculum that shows you exactly what you need to know to be a great trainer and pass the exam. Audio Lectures, Practice Tests and Study Guide for the NASM CPT Exam.

      • I’m in the same boat! The first few lessons seemed easy but then I got to Chapter 3 and 4. Now, I find myself full of doubt and second guessing my ability to complete this task. I also got the $2,000 program and now I’m left wondering if I made a mistake. It’s overwhelming. I’m not sure how they think you will retain everything you read and BOOM, You’re passing the test. “Don’t worry so much” seems insensitive to tell you when they aren’t risking anything. I’m thinking this program will be my saving grace. I’m keeping my fingers crossed now. Otherwise, I’ll be out another $250, which is yet another risk.

        • DId you end up passing it. I am struggling myself

    • Please help… did you get certified? Can you give me some pointers? I am a bit nervous

  5. I believe I saw you guys on Instagram. Believe me, I know all about test taking. What you’ve offered thus far has been helpful. Definitely wanna get some of your test-taking tips.

  6. Eddie,

    Thank you! I purchased the $999 package from NASM. This is not easy but it does require some common sense. I’ve highlighted all definitions, information from quizzes, etc., and after viewing the study material you provide was able to take your practice tests with better success and more confidence. I am looking forward to taking my exam next month.

    • Awesome Work! I am glad our Practice Tests are helping!

  7. Do you have a study guide,tests etc for the 5th Edition NASM CPT?

  8. If I have been getting 70s 80s and 90s on each of my module quizzes is it probable that I will pass the nasm exam?

  9. I have a question, I am about to take my Fifth Edition NASM test. I bought the 999.00 program, but I still do not feel confident on taking the test yet. I find it hard to absorb all the information. I need answers to the questions that are going to be on the test so I can study exactly that so I can feel confident knowing I will pass. However, I can’t afford the 199.00 program you have. What is the next best guide to purchase?

    • We offer our Audio Lectures and Study Guide combo package for $149 total. We also offer the Practice Tests and Study Guide combo package for $149. Also you could always upgrade to include the third material for only $50 when you can afford it down the road.

      • I highly recommend the lectures and Study Guide combo. I bought everything but ended up on a shorter timeframe than I thought so never got around to the tests. This combo helps you learn the materials by utilizing three modes of learning – auditory, visual and kinesthetic. It is amazing the amount of knowledge that you absorb by using all three modes. I passed on my first try. look at it this way. For $199 you can learn from an expert in the field and pass your exam or spend that same $199 to retake the exam. There were things mentioned in the exam that are not in the text but that Eddie had us notate. I not only learned how to study for the test, I actually learned a bunch and actually appreciate the textbook more.

      • Hi! Eddie:
        my school paid for my NASM, please can you possibly send exactly study guide, audio lectures and practice tests link where I can purchase them to start getting prepared for the exams. I am pretty nervous but I think if I have a clue understanding on what to expect, I will be good. I don’t want to purchase the wrong study guide. Thank you. Nneka.

  10. The first question is stated to be explained in chapter 2. My chapter 2 booklet is on Employment Opportunities and Educational Requirements. I have the 5th addition.

  11. Would the practice tests help for the 5th edition?

    • Yes, Our Practice Tests have been updated for the 5th edition test and textbook. If you can score a 108 out of 120 on our 3 Practice Final Exams you should feel really confident to pass the real exam.

  12. Hey Eddie, isn’t Altered Reciprocal inhibition and Altered length-tension relationship the same thing?

    • Hi Nilma!

      They are similar, but Altered Reciprocal Inhibition directly means that a muscle is tight because its antagonist is weak and vice-versa. Altered Length-Tension refers to a muscle imbalance around a joint with no specific cause (overuse, injury, structural issues).

      I hope that helps and check out our Audio Lectures as they explain all of these tough subjects in detail (especially how to know them for the exam).


  13. Eddie,
    I want to share that I went & took my NASM CPT exam today & PASSED on the first try! What an info-heavy exam! Whew! I had signed up with NASM self-study last year but couldn’t fully comprehend all the heavy info their guided study materials was “trying” to teach me so I never fully felt confident enough to take the certification exam and honestly just kept feeling “lost”. Then, I happened to find Fitness Mentors services and LET ME TELL YOU, your audio lectures, study guide, quizzes and the 3 practice exams have allowed me to UNDERSTAND and fully COMPREHEND so much to not only become a GREAT future CPT but also…PASS MY TEST on my first try!!! I’m a school teacher so all of my past education had nothing to do with biomechanics or anything human body/fitness related! BUT, in your audio lectures, you did such an amazing job explaining many concepts to help me grasp it all and make sense of it the concepts. I took notes of each chapter as I went through each audio lecture. Your study guide was to the point yet detailed. It allowed me to understand and look for answers to many concepts. One (out of many) BEST advice was to memorize the “always tight/weak” muscles because now I can easily point out overactive/underactive muscles for assessments without confusion. After completing each study guide chapter, I took a quiz for each chapter. Following that, I reviewed and reread the study guide I did and then took the final exams! Everything was spot on! THANK YOU Eddie!!

    xo- Nilma

    • Congratulations Wilma!

      Thanks for sharing your experience and great work studying!

  14. I am taking the exam Thursday. I feel confident because j have a degree in kinesiology human performance but am curious what I need in order to pass the exam. Is there a percentage I need to get to pass and will I find out the results right away? Thanks!

    • Hi Marlee,

      NASM tends to focus on their model for training, and less on the kinesiology topics. Knowing the science is important for the field, but not as important for the actual test. We set up our Audio Lectures and Study Guide to pinpoint what makes it onto the test so definitely check those out. Also if you can pass our three 120 question Practice Tests with a 90% or higher, you would all but guarantee a passing score on the real exam.

  15. Hello there,

    I took the NASM exam a month ago and failed after constantly studying the practice exams and practice midterm and final exams I took and making mini flash cards out of them so I’m just feeling pretty down that I have to pay $200 to retake it and I have a sad feeling that I may fail again…. Would purchasing the Fitness Mentors program help and If so where and what should I purchase?

    • Yes, we have helped a lot of people in your situation. A failed attempt is never fun but our program can get you right back on your feet and pass this test. Check out our Audio Lectures page to purchase our material and sample the lectures.

  16. I took the NASM CPT test yesterday and passed!! I purchased the cheapest study material from NASM and your study guide with the flash cards and Cram session. Your resources were great to put it all in perspective. The cram session needs some updating. Some of the references refer to previous versions of the study book. Thank you for your products. They are worth it!!

  17. I passed!!!! First try! Was very nervous but so grateful to your help in getting me through this Eddie! Especially thankful for your being available to respond to email questions I had! Thank you so much this course was a TREMENDOUS help and a really great value!


    • Congrats Kate!!!

      I am glad our Audio Lectures, Practice Tests and Study Guide helped you so tremendously!!!

  18. I PASSED!!! My very first attempt!!! Unbelievable!!! I felt so confident!!!
    NASM textbook, so full of information, I never thought I would survive. Then I found Fitness Mentors and Eddie. My rescue!!! I purchased at the very beginning, the whole package and I dont regret it at all. It is fantastic!!! and a MUST!!! And I must say, when I had a question, Eddie was always available (even the weekends). AWESOME!!! THANKS SO MUCH!!!

    In good health,

  19. Hi,
    I want to become a personal trainer but i’m not sure about this course.i have 6 months to finish this course and my college start in about 2 months. If i spend 3-5 hours everyday to study, will i be able to finsish this course before my college started?

  20. My name is Matt, I am a school teacher in MN with a degree as a physical education instructor. I am well versed in exercise science and do teach classes for it from time to time. I chose NASM because it appears to be the most asked about certification currently; at least in the larger of the gym settings. I took the guided study course through NASM, did exactly as they said for the better part of 3 months. After the class was over they had me take a final practice exam that counted for a retake voucher apparently and I failed it. I was upset needless to say. I had completed all practice tests up till this point at 90-95% or even better in the class. To fail what would be the most indicative of tests I was appalled and felt even betrayed by my instructors. As a school teacher I can say with confidence they are not “teaching” in your best interest or to pass the test. I e-mailed them addressing this issue and they responded with we are not here to give you answers to pass the exam. I thought that was a little beside the point but this lead me in a different direction. I need the perspective of a 3rd party to let me know what was going on and that lead me to fitness mentors. I was very skeptical and I called/talked to Eddie himself before buying the materials. I said I will do what is asked and more if this is really what gets me through the Exam and purchased the audio, tests and study guide package. We talked a couple of times during my studies and I followed the plan, completed the guide, made note cards on anything relevant and took the practice exams until I was getting 117 consistently. Today I took the test and walked out the door with about an hour and twenty mins left, passing easily on my first attempt. This test is no joke even for someone that teaches it but this program can help. I saw many similar questions from the study guide and audio lectures that are on the test. Take it from someone that knows how to study and is very skeptical, if you want to increase your chances Fitness Mentors is well worth the money.


    • Congrats Matt!

      Thanks for sharing your experience. Keep up the great work and good luck in your new career!

  21. I studied for the NASM and failed by 4 points. I am really upset at how many questions were on the exam that were not covered in the program that I studied or on any of the quizzes and tests in the program. The guy who administered the test said for the people who go in to take the exam 50% pass and 50% don’t. It was an expensive program and I’m thinking of buying your program to help me pass on my 2nd attempt.

    • That is so close!

      A lot of people fall into that category of missing by just a few points. Our program will point you toward the right information so you can really focus on the test specific topics. That will easily get you the knowledge you need to move you above the 70% mark.

  22. I purchased the self study package. I have gone to school already to be a body worker and this cpt program is so hard to understand. It makes you feel dumb. I do not have the 200 to throw out right now for this program, as I am a single mom. I need to take the Nasm in 2 weeks. Would your program aid in this time frame?

    • Hi Tiffany,

      Yes, our program can definitely get you prepared in that time frame. We have had people complete it in as little as one week. Let us know if we can answer any further questions. Good luck on your test!

  23. I just took the NASM exam for the 3rd time today and FAILED! I am broken by this. The exam honestly has very little to with the practice exams and study guides NASM has to offer. I’ve basically wasted $2000 I feel! And now, unfortunately I have to wait a whole year to retake it but I WONT give up! Now I am searching for resources outside of NASM to get me through the next time. I’m not letting my money go waste! I hope I can find that help here

    • The test is definitely tough when you are not sure what to focus on. With our guidance you can trust your next attempt will be successful. Definitely check out our Pass Guarantee with the Online Course for the NASM CPT Exam.

  24. Is the pes test credential without the cpt test?

  25. Number 3 is so frustrating! Technically the only one that performs medial or internal rotation is the adductors. The TFL and gluteus maximus actuall share the IT band and all perform external rotation. For example, the only way to stretch the TFL is to bring knee across the body medially. I have noticed online and in various anatomy books, everyone likes to explain the function on adductors and TFL different. It is very confusing. Is the reason why the answer is TFL is because it is the foot on the floor? I hope you can see my dilemma. I have been struggling with this only for a while! haha! Are they trying to say the adductors actual create an opposing force on the hip and although the function is the bring thigh to middle/axis of body, are they trying to say it actually performs external l rotation because of external force? I am trying to come up with excuse for just different answers across all sources… but I can’t come up with any… help!

  26. Thinking about doing the self study nasm course. Is the test really that tough?

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *