CSCS Certification

I wasn’t quite sure where to put this, but the off-topic forum seems to get the most traffic on other boards I frequent. If this should be somewhere else, feel free to move it.

Anyways, I’ve got grand ideas of getting CSCS certified, but my degree is not in ANYTHING health and fitness related. Like a lot of the Tmuscle readers, I have a lot of great real-world knowledge and experience, but I have NO classroom education. I’ve read through the text book and the A&P sections are what give me the most troubles. I understand everything as I read through it, but I can’t retain anything for some reason.

So, have any of you done something similar? What material helped you get ready for it? Did you spend the money on the practice exams they sell? Would it be “easier” to take a couple A&P classes online through a college?


The key to memorization is not repeated exposure as some people think, but rather repeated testing - you’ve got to try to “make” yourself remember facts (such as A&P) over and over again, even when you can’t recall those facts, to really get it to stick. My biology professor who gave regular quizzes (that weren’t even for credit/grades) yielded students with MUCH higher knowledge retention and test scores than the profs who just lectured and gave a few tests.

He shared with me a neuro journal article that substantiated this method - I’ll try to find it if you are interested.

What I learned from this is that flashcards are an excellent way to learn (and retain) a lot of facts quickly. Don’t bother making them yourself, thats wasted time that you could be drilling. I suggest A&P cards make for medical students, then take your textbook and sort out all the cards that are relevant to the learning objectives you will be tested on.

Then its just a matter of drilling (start with just a few cards and add as you learn, don’t forget to shuffle them periodically) - just make sure you try really hard to recall the answer before you flip the card over, even if you can’t recall it - it is that attempt to remember that will cement what you see in a second when you flip the card. Never just read the question and flip over for the answer.

Go ahead and buy and take a couple of practice tests to build confidence, then knock the test out of the park. Even though the prep materials are expensive, they are high-yield compared to general college classes - the classes will teach you more (but possibly not cover some stuff on the test), but the prep materials will give you exactly what you need for the actual test.


Sounds good. I actually already have a set of CSCS specific flash cards I bought for $20 or something like that.

I think most of my problem is that the book and flashcards speak in very academic terms. Terms that I have to keep looking up just to know what the eff they are actually asking. If they were written in layman’s terms, I’d probably be able to retain things a lot more easily.

For example, I read through the section about ATP and how it uses creatine and the chemical reactions, etc. etc. I knew what it was saying, but hell if it stuck with me. Then, when that soon to be Dr. guy posted his “Everything About Creatine” article on here, I was like, “oh, yeah, now I get it.” Ha ha.

Anyways, thanks again.

Check this out. Lots of good suggections, including mine…lol.
As for Anatomy and Physiology that should be the easy part. If you lack interest maybe another field ?

A&P Should be the easy part? I’m not talking memorizing bones and muscles. That part is easy. I’m talking the chemical make-up of cells, muscle fiber structures, ATP generation, and general biochemistry.

Knowing that stuff is useful, but in the end, I only care about making people better athletes. Knowing the exact chemical reaction as to how ATP is generated and stored is not high on my list.

Thanks for the link though. Checking it out now…

I would recommend an anatomy coloring book and a large box of colored pencils.

I have this one

There’s also a physiology coloring book so if you are having trouble with the biological processes that might be more beneficial