T Nation



Anyone here take this test?

I'm taking it on April 1. I haven't really studied for it yet, but over my Spring Break I will put in about 25 hours of studying.

How difficult was the test?

Any tips on how to take it or what material I should concentrate on?



I'm an NSCA CSCS and CPT. Have you taken any college courses (biology, human anatomy & physiology, etc)?


I took a biology course my frosh year in college, but I'm an English major now so I have been away from the "biology scene" for a while.

If I put in a shitload of studying next week, do you think I will be in a good position to pass the test, given that I have an educated background?

Any suggestions or tips for me.

I appreciate your time.


Impecable timing, dude!

I studied for probably about 25-30 hours for the 3 weeks before the test. I studied all the NSCA study materials: the book, cd's, etc. Honestly, I don't think they really helped a whole lot. The things that helped me the most:

  1. Take your time - the test is as much about knowing how to take tests as knowing the material.

  2. Think critically - the questions require you to think beyond just simple numbers and facts.

  3. Take more than one practice test - this will help you a) get an idea of how the questions are worded and b) get an idea of your strengths and weaknesses.

  4. Know how to perform lifts how they want you to know them.

  5. Read up on the relationship between anatomy and training ("structure and function") - that would be Mike's functional anatomy series:
    Part 1 - http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=918697
    Part 2 - http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=920621

  6. Know how to determine intensity: HR, RPE, etc., especially for special populations.

I would first take a practice exam and then go from there, that way you'll get the most out of your study time. Also, try to find someone in your area that has taken the test and see if they'll lend you the study materials - you can check for certified persons at the NSCA website.

Hope that helps and best of luck.


I took it October of 2005 and passed. Like the previous post, take your time. Focus on the book. I thought the test was based mainly on the text. I found the Practice DVD and both practice exams helpful. Know your muscles! Know what exercises work specific muscles. There were a few calculations on mine. I don't know for sure, but I would imagine there are many different versions out there.

Good luck!


Thanks for the help.


I remember the first 20 or so questions were from a video where you had to identify technique mistakes from various lifters.


Where do you get the practice tests? Also NSCA does not require a College degree correct?

Thanks Fellas!


The NSCA sells practice tests. A college degree is only required for the CSCS (at least when I took the test a few years back.)


Thanks SD...what type of study aids do you recomend? Besides the practice tests...thanks!


The CSCS requires a fitness/exercise related degree. An english or Criminal Justice major (like myself) may not sit for the exam.

I even contacted the NSCA and asked for a waiver. They said they have never, nor will never, waive the degree requirement for the CSCS.

Just take your time and read carefully. If you know the stuff, you will pass.


Are you sure about this? I have a non-exercise-related major also. I looked on the website and it just says a BA or BS is required. It even gives a suggested study schedule for those with non-exercise-related majors taking the exam...


Definately get the Essentials book. I did get the audio tapes (they are probably CDs by now, I took the test quite a few years back). I'm not sure how much the tapes helped me on the test, but they did help me quite a bit in my training.


Maybe it changed since I asked a couple years ago. I still have the email from the lady with NSCA telling me my degree was not good enough to sit for the exam.


That's weak. Sounds like you got shafted by an archaic rule.


I took the CSCS exam 5 years ago with a BS in Communications.

I passed the written portion but failed the practical due my lack of studying one chapter of the book. I didn't study the "test order" while giving an evaluation. 40yd , Vert jump and max bp in whatever order . I knew I wouldn't be doing that kind of stuff so i foolishly ignored it and paid the price. I toatlly bombed that part and it caused me to fail the exam.

I outlined the whole book (- said chapter) and it filled up a notebook. Do the same and you'll be ok.


Are you or anyone here looking to sell old practice tests and or books/cd's?

I will be buying some this week, I saw a few on Ebay, but I thought I would give Yall first crack.