The CSCS exam, formally known as the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist examination, is a challenging and comprehensive assessment for men and women looking to enter this rewarding and rapidly growing field of health care. In order to take this exam, candidates must have either a bachelor’s degree or a chiropractic medicine degree from an accredited school. In some cases, college seniors are allowed to take the exam.
The CSCS examination is developed by the National Strength and Conditioning Association in consultation with an expert team of test administrators. It has two sections: Scientific Foundations and Practical/Applied.
The Scientific Foundations section takes one-and-a-half hours to complete and consists of 90 multiple-choice questions on two subjects: exercise science (57 questions, 71 percent of the exam section) and nutrition (23 questions, 29 percent). The questions on exercise science relate to anatomy, bioenergetics, exercise physiology, biomechanics, and acute and chronic adaptations to anaerobic and aerobic exercise. The other questions cover nutritional factors that affect health and sports performance.
This section of the exam also includes 10 unscored questions on these subjects. These questions do not contribute to the candidate’s final score but are included to help develop future versions of the exam.
The Practical/Applied section of the CSCS exam consists of 120 multiple-choice questions, a third of which relate to a video depicting exercise techniques, functional anatomy, and testing procedures. This section also includes unscored questions used to develop future versions of the exam (20 of them). The Practical/Applied section of the CSCS exam takes about two-and-a-half hours to complete.
Topics include exercise technique (39 questions, 36 percent of the exam section); program design (40 questions, 36 percent); organization and administration (11 questions, 10 percent); and testing and evaluation (20 questions, 18 percent). In this section, exercise technique questions relate to flexibility, conditioning, plyometric, and resistance training. The program design questions ask about the development of anaerobic and aerobic training programs based on sport, strength, conditioning level, and training goals. The CSCS section on organization and administration questions relate to the policies and procedures, staffing, layout, and safety guidelines of a strength-and-conditioning facility. Testing and evaluation questions relate to the proper selection, administration, and evaluation of results based on the subject’s sport, strength, conditioning level, and training goals.
For those who take the computer version of the CSCS exam, scores are available immediately at the testing center after completion of the examination.
CSCS Study Guide
Start learning how to be successful on your CSCS exam. Our CSCS study guide is guaranteed to help you get the results you deserve on your CSCS test. Some test takers prefer to study using flashcards and so we have created the best CSCS flashcards that cover everything you need to know for the CSCS exam. Note that using multiple study aids will help you maximize the benefit from your study time.