Exam Prep To Go: Study Tips for the Busy Student
Chances are you’re busy. There is no doubt that balancing work, family, and daily commitments while training to be a Pilates instructor can be a lot. So it’s important to find ways to squeeze in study for your certification exam. But I bet if you dedicate a few minutes everyday towards preparing for the test, you’ll make steady progress.
Erica, Blue Sparrow Pilates’ Education Coordinator and recently STOTT PILATES® certified instructor, shared with me her super smart tricks for carving out a little study time every day. I recommend you try each of these strategies for one week. At the end of three weeks you will likely shock yourself with the progress you’ve made!
Record the Basic Principles
Write out a script for you teaching the Basic Principles. Be sure to hit all the important bullet points. Record on your smartphone you reading your script. As you get dressed or while commuting, listen to the recording.
- After you listen to each principle, pause the recording. See what you can recall. Try to go through the entire principle as best you can without stopping. Even if you miss something or stumble for words, keep going.
- Listen to the principle again.
- Make a mental note of what points you missed.
- Repeat this process for each principle.
- When you get home, re-record yourself to see your progress.
Muscle(s) of the Day
Flash cards can be a very effective study tool but may be difficult to store the information in your long term memory.
- Each morning select 3-5 muscles flash cards each day.
- While commuting, read through the front and the back of each card. Then test your short term memory by seeing if you can recall the information you read.
- To engrain the information in your long-term memory, use the information throughout the day. Say you’re working on hip muscles. As you walk up stairs try to recall the muscles that mobilize the hips. As you sit down onto a chair say to yourself what muscles work eccentrically and what are working concentrically.
- As you move throughout your days, see if you can feel in your own body where the muscle begins (originates) and ends (inserts).
- During a dull moment like waiting in line for coffee or riding an elevator, pull a flashcard out to see how much you remember.
- Lastly, try to think of three Pilates exercises that highlight that muscle.
Exercise of the Day
Put each exercise on your calendar. Ab Prep Monday, Breaststroke Preps Tuesday, Hundred Wednesday, and so forth. At the beginning of each day write out a single index card for the exercise of the day including the following information:
- Exercise goal or essence
- What are the exercise’s target muscles
- What is the start position of the exercise
- What is the breath pattern of the exercise
- What are the modifications of the exercise
- What are key things to look out for while performing the exercise
Carry the index card with you. Put it in your pocket or rubber band it to your smartphone for easy access throughout the day.
- Review all the information several times throughout the day.
- Visualize yourself teaching the exercise. What cues would you give your student?
- As you review the modifications, what postural reasons would lead you to select each modification?
- When you get home from your day, do the exercise immediately. Say out loud all the information on the index card along with all the cues that refine the movement and emphasis the Basic Principles (See Holly’s article about the importance of saying it out loud).
I think you’ll be surprise how much you can learn in one day. Remember, studying for the certification is like eating an elephant. You have to crew one piece at a time.
Study hard and ace your exam!