Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Preparing for your STOTT PILATES practical exam

Hi Everyone!

I thought I would start a new series of posts for all of you Students out there and that will hopefully help you along in your Pilates career.   This is the first entry and I figured we should start at the beginning with some tips on how to prepare for your practical exam.

1.  Prepare for the “nervousness”. One of the most difficult parts about the practical exam is that you will be nervous.  Even if you feel prepared, you will be nervous and that can make it difficult to focus and perform at your best.  Make sure you prepare for the nerves by teaching people that challenge you to be better or make you a little nervous J.  This way when you are in your actual exam you will know what it feels like to be nervous and know how to rise above it. 

2.  Do several “rehearsals” of your exam without stopping.  Treat it like it is your actual exam and do not look at your book until you finish the FULL 1 hour, 1.5 hours, or 2 hours.  Keep a piece of paper and write down questions that pop up as you go and check them all after the “rehearsal”.  You want to know what it feels like to get through the entire exam layout from beginning to end.  Then when you do your actual exam it will be familiar territory.

3.  Make your practice hours count.  Observe teachers that inspire you.  Teach as many different bodies as you can, practice the movement with your own body over and over and over so you know what 2 springs feels like and you know what 3 springs feel like in the same exercise.  Adjusting for others becomes easier if you know what it feels like.

Ok, now some more obvious things you need to know:

4.  Know your STOTT PILATES Basic Principles.  Know the depth of them so that you feel confident that you can teach people to understand them AND integrate them into their body. Read the details in the front of your manual (regularly) and start teaching them to people just like you will do it in your exam.

5.  Know how to do Postural Analysis. The PA is detailed and the best way to learn this is to work with people/instructors that know it well so that you feel confident you have it right.  The more practice you having doing the PA the better you get at doing it, so do them as often as possible.

6.  Know the exercises:  I know this one seems obvious but here is how to organize it.  Know the starting position (it will get you off to a good start), the breathing, the choreography, and how to modify it if you need to for your exam body.

7.  Programming. One of the biggest reason STOTT PILATES requires a practical exam is to make sure you know how to program appropriately for many different bodies.  That is one of the many ways STOTT PILATES instructors are unique and valuable to the community.  We can program at all levels and for all types of people!

 8.  Do an exam review.  If you are struggling to know where to start or just want to make sure you are on the right track let us know.  We are happy to meet with you and get you or keep you moving in the right direction.  That is truly what we are here for and we love our job working with you.

As the Licensed Training Center for your community, Intermountain Pilates Training is here to help your Pilates career be a success.   Talese, Amanda, Mariko, Jaada, Jenna, and I are all here for you, so use us for everything you need!

Sorry this was a little long but hopefully it is helpful.   I will try to make the next few a little shorter.  HAPPY STUDYING!



  1. Hi, thanks for the tips. Im scheduled to take my exam this coming Monday and a nervous wreck. Im most concerned about thinking on the spot which exercises to teach according to the posture. If I had time to think I would b ok but this is on the spot. Any advice? I have my program ready regardless of body type and will make any adjustments I see fit when I finish PA.

  2. We always recommend having about three workouts prepared for your exam so that you have options depending on the posture your body has! If you look at the workouts prepared in your support materials, you'll notice that MOST exercises are appropriate for most postures, so you'll really only have to be prepared with 3-5 alternates! I'm not sure which exam you're taking, but for instance, have an alternate for an exercise that might not be do-able for someone with lordosis, etc. remember to use props and modifications but be sure you know why they are appropriate for your body. Good luck!!!

  3. just did my practical exam and it went abysmally - don't want to discourage anybody but please be prepared for a very confusing situation, different form any teaching session you have done so far: you get a pilates student as a body, who knows all the basic principles and exercises, but you have to pretend they haven't a clue and explain all very carefully, and cue the exercises extensively even if they do it perfectly. It feels a bit scizophrenic, but just don't think of it as a teaching session, but rather as a perfomance.

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