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Exam FAQ

Rehab exam FAQs

General exam information

Where can I take my exam?

Option 1:

It is strongly recommended that you take your written and practical exams at our Toronto Corporate Training Center or at any of our Licensed Training Centers or at a Hosting Center. The written and practical components may be taken on different days but MUST be taken within 7 days of one another and completed at the same venue or both portions submitted via proctor. If you are not able to complete both portions within 7 days, the exam will be void.

Option 2 – By Proctor

Written exam: 
If you are unable to complete the written portion of your exam at a Training Center you have the option of writing the exam by Proctor. Use of a public library is standard protocol for most STOTT PILATES course examinations as these locations Proctor a variety of examinations for various organizations.

The conditions of a proctored exam include the following:

  • A third, uninterested party (notary or public library) must oversee/supervise the written exam
  • Exam must be taken within the six-month period after the last STOTT PILATES® Education Course (this includes ISP and Functional Anatomy) was completed. For Comprehensive Program students, apprenticeship is also to be completed within the six months after the last course date.
  • Exam fees (practical and written) must be paid in full prior to sending the written exam to the specified Proctor

Proctored Exam Procedures 
Contact the Merrithew Education Department at, 1-800-910-0001 ext. 0984 or email, education@merrithew.com to express your intent to write an exam by Proctor.

You will need to provide the following information:

  • Exam location (i.e. public library), mailing address, and phone number
  • Contact person supervising the written exam
  • Method of payment (VISA, MasterCard, AMEX, or money order)

The exam package will be sent to the contact person at the specified exam location. It will contain the following:

  • STOTT PILATES certification course written exam (1 copy)
  • Receipt of payment (2 copies)
  • Pre-addressed return envelope
Student Responsibilities Proctor Responsibilities
Student Responsibilities
  • Set time and date to write the exam
  • Provide up-to-date contact information (phone numbers and email address) on the written exam so that we can notify you of the results.
  • Complete Observation and Practice Logs. We will not process practical exams without this accompanying paperwork.
Proctor Responsibilities
  • Receive the examination package
  • Supervise the examination process (date, time, and location to be agreed upon by the proctor and student)
  • Seal the pre-addressed return envelope (with completed written exam and receipt of payment enclosed) and sign the back portion of the sealed envelope to ensure authenticity. The student is responsible for postage for this package

Practical exam:

The practical component exam can be submitted by DVD, USB stick/key or secured link. The purpose of the practical examination is to observe you as you lead a 'subject' through a workout. The subject must be familiar with the STOTT PILATES repertoire covered in the exam and be capable of performing required exercises safely (student, certified instructor, client, etc). The videotaped workout will be one hour for the Matwork or Reformer exam, 1-1/2 hours for the Matwork& Reformer exam, and 2 hours for the Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair & Barrels exam.

Technical Considerations:

  • Position the camera to observe a side view of the subject's body and allow for an additional three feet on either end ensuring enough room to move about. Keep the view close enough to allow details in the movement and the interaction between you and your subject.
  • Test the video equipment and sound level and make sure that it records properly and that your voice can be heard on the tape.
  • Face the camera (instruct on the far side of their subject to not obstruct the view).Camera adjustments should be performed at natural breaks in the examination process (i.e. between the postural analysis and Matwork or between the Matwork and Reformer).
  • The recording should NOT be stopped at any point during the examination. The workout should be continuous.
  • Video editing is NOT permitted.
  • The use of notes including postural analysis check list or manuals is NOT permitted
  • The submission must be sent in by DVD (mini DVD or DVD and DVD must be a brand name DVD (e.g. Sony)), USB stick/key or secured link.

Conducting the Practical Exam:

Please read all information about practical exams for more details. Follow the timelines and minimum requirements outlined. State your name and the name of your exam as you start recording.

How do I schedule an exam?

Please contact our Toronto Corporate Training Center or Licensed Training Centers to make arrangements to compete your exam in person. To Proctor your exam please contact the Merrithew Education Department at, 1-800-910-0001 ext. 0984 or email, education@merrithew.com to express your intent to write an exam by Proctor.

How much does it cost for each exam?

Prices will vary depending on region and location. Please contact individual training centers for up-to-date pricing information.

How long do I have to complete my course examination?

You must take your exam within six months of completing your last STOTT PILATES Education course (this includes ISP and Functional Anatomy). For Comprehensive Program students, your apprenticeship is also to be completed within the six months after the last course date. We encourage you to take some time afterward to practice and synthesize the information prior to taking the exam; however, you are welcome to take the exam immediately after you complete the course if you and your Instructor agree you are ready.

What if my course finished longer than six months ago?

If you have failed to meet the six-month requirement to complete your examination, you must complete private review hours with an instructor trainer to reinstate your eligibility. Material covered will be specific to your needs to better prepare you for the exam. The number of hours required is based on the course material that must be covered and the demands of the course repertoire. The MINIMUM private session requirements are:

  • Matwork – 1 hour
  • Reformer – 1 hour
  • Matwork & Reformer – 1 to 2 hours
  • Matwork, Reformer & CCB– 2 to 3 hours.

The Instructor Trainer may recommend further privates or study as preparation.

Please note: The reinstatement is valid for 60 days and will not provide the student an additional six months to complete their examination.

How long does it take to receive notification of my results?

Exam results will be sent directly to you, normally by email. The LTC and/or Instructor Trainer will also be informed of the marks. Marking takes between four to six weeks from the date of the exam. Please note exams are not returned but can be reviewed upon request.

Pass/ Fail

You must receive an average score of 80% (practical and written) and achieve a minimum score of 75% on each portion in order to pass. Both of these requirements must be met in order to achieve certification. If you have to retake a portion of or the entire exam, this should happen within six months of the date of the original exam. This ensures that the information remains relatively fresh but allows time to study and improve in the necessary areas.

If the six-month time limit has passed, you must take both the written and practical exams again and it is highly recommended that you also book privates with an Instructor Trainer.

If you take your exam for the first time and fail both portions, you have one more opportunity, within six months, to successfully pass the exam. If you fail both portions the second time, you must wait six months before retesting.

What exams should I take?

The following exams options are available:

Level 1 (Essential &Intermediate) Level 2 (Advanced) Combined Levels 1 & 2 (this can be a variety of possibilities)
Level 1

Format: written and practical

  • Matwork; or
  • Reformer; or
  • Matwork & Reformer; or
  • Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair & Barrels

If you have only taken CMR, IMP, IR or ICCB courses and have not taken the Level 2 course(s) but wish to certify, you may take only a Level 1 exam.

Level 2

Format: practical only

  • Advanced Matwork; or
  • Advanced Reformer; or
  • Advanced Matwork & Reformer; or
  • Advanced Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair & Barrels

If you have taken AM, AR, or ACCB courses and already hold a Level 1 certification, you are only required to take the Level 2 practical exam.

Combined Levels 1 & 2

Format: written and practical

  • Levels 1 & 2 Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair & Barrels

If you have taken all of the relevant courses but do not hold a Level 1 certification, you are eligible to take a combined Level 1 & 2 exam.

Please note:

  • If you hold STOTT PILATES Matwork certification and then want to certify in STOTT PILATES Reformer (or vice versa), you will be required to take a combined STOTT PILATES Matwork and Reformer exam so that we can test your ability to program various equipment repertoires together.
  • You are not obliged to take (and pay for) two or more exams if you are planning to take more than one course. You may wait until completion of the second or final course to take a combined repertoire exam.
  • If you choose to examine at Level 1 and wish to upgrade to Level 2 certification at a later date, a separate fee will apply.
  • If you test for a Combined Levels 1 & 2 certification, you may be awarded Level 1 certification only (and need to re-test on Level 2) or you may be awarded Level 1 in a certain portion of the repertoire and Level 2 in another portion. A separate fee will apply for any re-testing.
  • You may choose to examine at Level 1 on a certain portion of the repertoire and at Level 2 on another portion. However, as a general rule, we do not recommend only testing on part of the repertoire learned. We encourage you, if at all reasonable, to test on all levels and all repertoire for the courses you have taken.
  • You are eligible to take a Full Certification exam if you have completed all levels of training on all pieces of equipment AND have also taken the Injuries & Special Populations course.
  • A breakdown of marked exams provided upon request, however copies of the exam will not be sent.

Practical Exam

What is the best preparation for the practical portion of my exam?

In addition to fully understanding the material conceptually and physically reviewing the exercises, the best preparation for the practical exam is the practice teaching of as many different people as possible (family, friends, classmates) to apply your knowledge, adapt it to many different body types, improve your teaching skills, and become comfortable with your teaching experience. Practice teaching within the specified timelines and meeting at least the minimum number of exercises.

What will I be asked to do for my practical exam?

The time allotment for each practical exam is as follows:

  • Matwork – 1 hour
  • Reformer – 1 hour
  • Matwork & Reformer – 1.5 hours
  • Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair & Barrels – 2 hours

Information Gathering: 5–10 minutes 
The initial five to ten minutes of the exam should be dedicated to information gathering. You are required to ask your subject pertinent questions regarding history, physical condition and goals.

Postural Analysis: 5–10 minutes 
For this portion of the exam, you are required to analyze the subject from both sides, front and back view. Using visual observation AND palpation, verbally relaying your findings to the examiner. You are also required to give a stated focus and general description of your planned workout including: what muscles/muscle groups will be targeted, what alignment issues will be addressed and what props or modifications may be necessary.

Five Basic Principles:5–10 minutes 
Next you will review the Five Basic Principles with your subject. They should be introduced in proper sequence, using clear imagery and movement cues to help your subject understand and focus on greater body awareness. Choose the movement sequences from the Five Basic Principle pages in the manuals that will best demonstrate each Principle, and also serve as part of the warm up for your subject. Clearly explain why each of the principles is important, and how it will be incorporated into the remainder of the workout. If appropriate, you may teach one or more of the remaining warm-up exercises, however, be mindful of time constraints in the exam. To be sure you are touching on all the key points and for tips on proper cueing and correcting, download this PDF.

1. Breathing

  • In through the nose, out through the mouth with pursed lips
  • Emphasis is on 3-D breath especially into the posterior and lateral aspects of the rib cage, because these tend to be under utilized areas
  • Exhaling deeply can also help activate the deep support muscles by engaging the transversus abdominis
  • Explanation of the action of the transversus and how it stabilizes the lumbo-pelvic region, especially in neutral position.
  • The gentle contraction of the deep pelvic floor muscles also aids in firing the transversus abdominis
  • This breath pattern helps avoid unnecessary tension in the neck and shoulders
  • This breath pattern helps relaxation
  • The rib cage opens out and up during an inhale, promoting spinal extension and 
    closes in and down during exhale, promoting spinal flexion

2. Pelvic Placement

  • In neutral pelvic placement, the natural lordotic curve of lumbar spine is present
  • ASIS and Pubic Symphysis lie approximately in a horizontal plane drawn parallel to the floor when lying supine
  • Neutral promotes good shock absorption and efficient movement patterns throughout body
  • Neutral is usually used during closed kinetic chain activities
  • Imprinted position is a slight posterior pelvic tilt with slight lumbar flexion cannot be maintained 
    and often used during open kinetic chain activities
  • Imprint involves shortening of obliques without activation of glutes

3. Rib Cage Placement

  • Emphasis is put on breathing into the posterior and lateral aspects of the rib cage
  • Abdominal wall attaches to the lower ribs. Be aware of maintaining abdominal engagement 
    and not popping the ribs
  • Abdominals stabilize rib cage and therefore spine during movement of the arms
  • Used to keep the spine neutral and stable

4. Scapular Movement & Stabilization

  • Scapula lacks bony attachment to the ribs and spine (only attaching to clavicle), thereby providing mobility 
    to the upper limb, which must be counterbalanced with stability
  • It is important to balance the surrounding muscles and to control the movement of the scapulae
  • The scapulae should lie flat on the rib cage and glide across it without winging
  • Protraction, retraction, elevation, depression, upward rotation and downward rotation are available movements
  • Stabilizing the scapulae is necessary during the initiation of every exercise

5. Head & Cervical Placement

  • Cervical spine should hold its natural curve (anterior convex) and the skull should be balanced directly above the 
    shoulders in sitting or standing
  • Pads or pillows may be needed in supine or prone to prevent hyperextension of the cervical spine
  • Cervical spine continues the line of the thoracic spine in neutral, during flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation
  • Cranio-vertebral flexion, flexing the cranium on the first two vertebrae of the cervical spine, not jamming the chin 
    into the chest, occurs initially when flexing the upper torso from a supine position
  • Use these methods to (dynamically) stabilize the cervical area and avoid strain

The Workout: remaining time (see chart) 
The remainder of the practical exam is dedicated to taking your subject through an appropriate workout. The time allotted for the workout portion of the exam will not allow for the completion of all exercises in the full repertoire. You must ensure that the exercises chosen represent a well-rounded workout that address all aspects of movement (i.e., flexion, extension, rotation, etc.) and cover the minimum required number of Essential, Intermediate or Advanced exercises, while being appropriate to your subject.

Level 1 Essential/Intermediate

Minimum number of exercises required

Combined Essential/Intermediate/Advanced

Minimum number of exercises required

Matwork Exam
Approx. # of minutes: 40–50

It is important to incorporate the Fitness Circle®, Flex-Band®, and Arc Barrel into the workout.

Level 1

8 Essential
4 Intermediate

Combined

8 Essential
4 Intermediate
4 Advanced

Reformer Exam
Approx. # of minutes: 40–50

Level 1

6 Essential
4 Intermediate

Combined

6 Essential
4 Intermediate
6 Advanced

Matwork & Reformer Exam
Approx. # of minutes: 70-80
Matwork: 30 min.
Reformer: 40–50 min.

It is important to incorporate the Fitness Circle®, Flex-Band®, and Arc Barrel into the workout.

Level 1

Matwork:
6 Essential
3 Intermediate

Reformer:
6 Essential
4 Intermediate

Combined

Matwork:
6 Essential
3 Intermediate
3 Advanced

Reformer:
6 Essential
4 Intermediate
4 Advanced

Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair & Barrels Exam
Approx. # of minutes: 100–110 minutes;
Matwork: 20 min. +
Reformer: 30 min. +
Cadillac: 15 min. +
Chair: 5 min. +
Ladder Barrel: 10 min. +
Spine Corrector: 5 min. + Arc Barrel: 5 min

Level 1

Matwork:
4 Essential
3 Intermediate

Reformer:
6 Essential
3 Intermediate

Cadillac
2 Essential
2 Intermediate

Stability Chair
2 Essential
2 Intermediate

Ladder Barrel
1 Essential
1 Intermediate

Spine Corrector
1 Essential
1 Intermediate

Arc Barrel
1 Essential
1 Intermediate

Combined

Matwork:
4 Essential
3 Intermediate
3 Advanced

Reformer:
6 Essential
3 Intermediate
3 Advanced

Cadillac
2 Essential
2 Intermediate
2 Advanced

Stability Chair
2 Essential
2 Intermediate
2 Advanced

Ladder Barrel
1 Essential
1 Intermediate
2 Advanced

Spine Corrector
1 Essential
1 Intermediate
1 Advanced

Arc Barrel
1 Essential
1 Intermediate
1 Advanced

Please note: an exercise with variations only counts as one exercise. For example, if Footwork positions 1, 2, and 5 are shown it counts as one exercise, not three. Also, advanced versions of exercises that are only slightly different from the intermediate (e.g., Short Spine) would not count as meeting the minimum requirement of advanced exercises, but may certainly be included.

Level 2 – Practical Only

Level 2 Advanced
Minimum number of exercises required
Level 2

Matwork Exam
Approx. # of minutes: 30

Brief warm up
6 Advanced

Reformer Exam
Approx. # of minutes: 30

Brief warm up
9 Advanced

Matwork & Reformer Exam
Approx. # of minutes: 45

Brief warm up
3 Advanced Matwork
9 Advanced Reformer

Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair & Barrels Exam
Approx. # of minutes: 60

Brief warm up
3 Advanced Matwork
6 Advanced Reformer
4 Cadillac
2 Stability Chair
2 Ladder Barrel
1 Arc Barrel
1 Spine Corrector

Do I have to follow the exact order of the exercise chart?

When being examined, one of the most important criteria is that you are able to create a workout that addresses the needs of the client, and that the workout has a certain degree of ‘flow'. The ability to program is also extremely important, so the workout must contain an equal amount of both. You are encouraged to follow the order of the exercise charts for the greater part of your exam, however, the exercises may be taught out of order if you are able to provide a reason for the order change. For example, "it creates better flow in the workout; it's a preparatory exercise; it's a nice counter-movement after what we just did." You must be able to justify your choice. This is particularly appropriate when more equipment is being used as in a Full Certification exam.

Please note:

  • In an Advanced repertoire only exam, you do not need to do a postural analysis, stated workout focus or the Five Basic Principles.
  • In all exams that include Matwork repertoire, you are encouraged to use props, including the Fitness Circle®, Flex-Band® and Arc Barrel and any others that were used during the course. The props should be used to facilitate or add challenge to an exercise as required by the subject.
How will I be evaluated?

The following areas will be evaluated:

  • Postural analysis – followed full PA as per chart and covered all sections palpating and visually explaining what was seen
  • Stated focus of workout – described a clear focus or workout incorporating muscular and movement requirements.
  • The Five Basic Principles – presented separately to the Warm Up in Matwork; taught all points in each section and used appropriate movements/exercises for each principle (what, why, how)
  • Programming Skills – each exercise was chosen based on the Stated Focus of Workout and appropriately met the goals of the workout and the needs of the client. The workout was well-rounded.
  • Ability to cue – use a combination of imagery, verbal cues, and kinesthetic cues (touch) to aid in guiding the client through the exercises and transitions, cues were specific to the client and were a combination of muscular and tactile cues and imagery to achieve movements to incorporated and reinforced all Basic Principles.
  • Ability to correct – use a combination of imagery, verbal cues, and kinesthetic cues (touch) to ensure correct alignment and proper execution of exercises; applied knowledge from course(s) to achieve dynamically stabilized, conscious and safe movement.
  • Ability to modify – chose exercise modifications that helped the client get the most of each exercise; used props and variations appropriately
  • Knowledge of content – knowing the relevant repertoire of exercises and the corresponding movement and breath patterns, minimum number of exercises for each piece and level.
  • Teaching manner and energy – guided the client through the workout with control and develop a rapport; displayed effective attitude, motivational, verbalization skills
  • Rhythm and pace of the workout – taught with fluidity, using transitions from one exercise to another, chose a pace that challenged the client without compromising the Five Basic Principles or causing overexertion; cued in a manner that encouraged proper timing of movement and breath; the workout fit the allotted amount of time for the exam

Click here to view the Exam Assessment Guide.

Please note: 
Expect to be questioned periodically on the exercises and your choices. This is to evaluate the depth of your understanding of the exercises and how to administer them. After working on each individual piece of equipment you may be asked to teach a few exercises of the examiner's choosing to 'spot check' your knowledge of the entire repertoire. Completed Observation and Practice Logs must be brought to the practical exam as exams will not be processed unless accompanied by these logs.

Written Exam

What do I need to know for my written examination?

The written exam consists of multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank or matching type questions, and muscle identification questions. It will take you approximately 2-3 hours to complete the exam. However, you are not required to finish within a specified time limit. The exam tests your knowledge of the following:

  • Muscle origin, insertion and action (please refer to list of muscles in the Matwork/Reformer Support Materials book)
  • Recognition of diagrams of individual muscles
  • Concentric, eccentric and isometric contractions of specific muscles during specific movements and exercises
  • Movements that make up exercises and their proper anatomical descriptions
  • Order of Essential and Intermediate Matwork (Matwork, Matwork & Reformer or Matwork, Reformer, & CCB exam)
  • Order of Essential and Intermediate Reformer (Reformer, Matwork & Reformer or Matwork, Reformer, & CCB exam)
  • Ideal postural alignment and groups of opposing muscles
  • Poor postural alignment and muscular imbalances
  • Modifications to exercises for poor postural alignments
  • Programs to accommodate poor postural alignments
  • Proper set up of equipment, starting positions, movement patterns, and major intent or goal for each exercise
  • The Five Basic Principles – anatomical descriptions and purpose
  • Proper anatomical terms must be understood and used in all the relevant categories above

Please Note: 
In addition to STOTT PILATES manuals and support materials, outside resources such as Trail Guide to the Body, Andrew Biel; Atlas of Anatomy, Gilroy, MacPherson, Ross; Muscular System Flash Pak, Bryan Edwards; Anatomy Flash Cards, Anne Gilroy; Anatomy of Movement, Blandine Germain are highly recommended.