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CSCS exam

How many people have taken this exam? I want to take it to put some letters behind my name when I try to get a coaching job next year. I already have quite a few contacts but I want to keep be able to add a little more. How hard was it really. I have a degree in Exercise Science but im sure i would have to study up on the anatomy a lot. I would also have to learn what they want to hear. Anybody with any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I know the certification doesnt mean much but I need to solidify my resume and that would look mighty good for a high school football coach.

I think you should put your total on your resume. Or vert. Now those are credentials! :slight_smile:

Seriously, though… I don’t know anything about the test.

G-Berg, in regards to your final statement, I believe quite the contrary to be true. The CSCS credentials are renowned and highly looked upon. I don’t think you’ll achieve the same level of distinction with any other certification. While it may not be necessary for a high school football coach, I think it will only solidify you as a candidate. You would be highly favored because of what you bring to the weight room for the kids also.

I’ve sat for the exam and have earned the credentials. The networking opportunities seem to be very expansive. I’ve also been a student member for the last three years. There are tons and tons of jobs posted on the site.

Anyway, as far as the test goes, I honestly did not find it that difficult. I didn’t have access to the video that was used during the exam, so I could have better prepared for that portion. I did very little reviewing for the exam, and mainly read a few chapters from the Essentials of Strength and Conditioning text. I honestly don’t think that much studying, per se, is necessary.

I felt very well-prepared simply due to my educational background in the field, particularly for the Foundations portion of the exam.

They also offer practice exams and the like for study resources. If you haven’t yet, G-Berg, check out the NSCA’s Website.

Thanks for the help Timbo. My real passion is for strength and conditioning and i would love to work with high school kids coaching weight training and coach football. Even better would be if i could be a strength and conditioning coach in college. That would be ideal for me. I guess I need to renew my membership and pass the test so I can get some good contacts. I read the study book last christmas and thought it was very basic and that I would have no trouble with the test. I just need to know what they want to know i guess in regards to exercise prescription and setting up a program.

Goldberg -

From what I’ve seen, you could probably take the exam right now and likely be really close to passing. With a little review of the Essentials book (skim the chapters and take the practice quiz at the end of each chapter), you should be ready to go.

I took the test this January and did not find it difficult at all with my Exercise Science background and self-education through T-Mag and other texts.

Bergie, in that case, I strongly suggest you get the Essentials text. Although around sixty bones, I think that you’ll find it a rather worthy and worthwhile investment. Mine is on order and I should be receiving it later this week.

To my knowledge, there is adequate exercise prescription, but if you’d like, I can give you more detail upon receipt.

For now, check out Amazon to see the Full Index and Table of Contents.

I’ll be happy to share any further info, Bergie.

I took and passed the NSCA-CPT exam, which I assume is of a similar difficulty as the CSCS exam; it wasn’t easy but it’s certainly passable with some studying. Just get the study materials, put some effort in, and you’ll be straight.


Goldberg, Personally, I haven’t take the CSCS exams yet but my collueges have and I heard mixed reviews. Some say it was hard as hell and they need to take it 3 times in order to pass it others say it was easy.

Get the videos also.
Along with the Essentials of Strength and Conditioning as Timbo suggested.

I plan on taking the CSCS also.

I hope this helps.

In health,

Silas Chen

I passed the exam and thought it was easy. If you get the “Essentials” book that the NSCA puts out and read it through once, you’ll be good to go.

Good luck, Beefy!

Joel, I believe the NSCA-CPT exam is much easier then the NSCA-CSCS exam. Its not as intense. But, I don’t believe the CSCS is as hard as they make people believe.

In any case your better off being prepared. In other words Study!

Good luck and you should do fine.

In health,

Silas Chen


I’ll be taking mine on May 31st. Incidentally, I’ll be graduating on May 14th with a double major in Exercise Science and Sports Management, so I’m more or less in the same boat as you.

The CSCS is generally considered to be more difficult than the CPT simply because it is 5 hours longer and there is a practical portion. That’s not to say, however, that the CPT is not difficult in its own right, as many people I know who have taken it have noted some questions that stumped them.

For me, in spite of the fact that roughly 75-80% of the Essentials material is review from my undergraduate curriculum, reading through it HAS been a beneficial experience thus far. There are also chapters (i.e. gym planning) that will be new to me. My working of knowledge of anatomy and physiology is solid, so I’m not concerned too much with that stuff.

All that said, I think that it would definitely be worth your while. In spite of the fact that it might not mean much to some of the more knowledgeable people in the field, those in the “middle” of the field (club owners, athletic directors) do consider it the gold standard-and they’re the ones hiring you.

Thanks for all the help. Eric those are the exact people I want to influence. I guess If i can hurry I can take it this summer. I looked last night and there are still chances to take it before the year is out. I saw that they made changes on it where there are less anatomy and physiology questions and more training related questions.

Before I would go take that exam, please go check out www.iartonline.ca

I have been CSCS certified for 8 years. So the test may have changed a little since I took it, but in sharing experiences with the more recently certified it appears to be quite similar.

CSCS is one of few exams that requires you to have a 4 year college degree.

Most of the material can be reviewed in the essentials book. There will be a few questions each about a variety of topics. Make sure to think in terms of broad information. The T-Dawg Diet 2.0 will not be one of your multiple-choice answers, even though it might be the answer you give to an athlete.

There is also a practical portion where you need to watch a video clip and then answer some questions. The clips move pretty quick, and are not repeated, so if you don’t know the answer right away, jot down some notes about the clip. You will have time to go back and give it some thought.

Hopefully this will help. I would highly recommend taking the test. You don’t necessarily have to be a member of the NSCA to sit for the exam. You just get charged a little more to take the test.

I just wanted to say the Cressey’s summation of his thoughts on the topic and the Essentials book are completely identical to mine.