CSCS Exam Prep Checklist

Aug 07, 2023

Edited by: Danielle Abel

If you want to get your CSCS Certification, you might feel a bit overwhelmed with all the information available online. So in this article, we'll go over the 5 Steps we think you need to follow to plan, prepare, register, study, and test.

Be sure to favorite this article as an easy reference. You can easily go step by step to help you avoid missing any important points, plus, the links are clickable and will take you directly to the reference to read more about the linked topic without having to search Google. 

We can't overemphasize the importance of planning, preparing, and studying. More than likely, the process is going to take longer than you want. However, a slow process is usually an effective process in our experience.

Maybe it might help to think of it this way; if you pass on the first time, you won't regret the extra time and effort you put into preparing for the exam. 





  • Read the NSCA's Essentials of Strength and Conditioning 4th edition textbook
    • You can buy the print or digital version, but we highly recommend the print version
    • Pro Tip: We recommend keeping your book for reference even after you've passed the exam, there's a ton of great reference information in the book, so we don't recommend selling it
  • Consider registering for a study prep course to help you learn the materials more efficiently, you can check out our CSCS Study Prep Course here
  • The NSCA also has study materials you can purchase as well here
  • Take 1 or more practice tests
    • Successfully passing the exam requires you to do more than memorize facts, you need to be able to apply the concepts in real life scenarios and choose the best answer
    • Practice tests help you to test your knowledge and identify any areas you might need to spend more time studying before your test date
      • The Movement System Practice Test has 67 Scientific Foundations Questions, 83 Practical Application Questions, and includes detailed explanations for correct answers 


  • Go to bed early and try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep the night before the exam
  • Show up at least 30-45 minutes early for your exam so you don't feel rushed
  • Bring something to drink and eat with you, you won't be able to bring it into the exam room, but you can put it in your locker for your break
  • Take the break they give you between the 2 sections (if you're not sure what to expect on the exam, check out our blog post here). 
  • If you're worried about noises in the exam room, consider taking the ear plugs they offer you before you enter the exam room 

Hopefully, by the time you're reading this, you've accomplished most of the items on the list and you're ready to sit for your exam. All of us have been through this process before and it can definitely be stressful, but remember, you can do hard things!

In case you're worried about failing, keep in mind if you don't pass, you can always retake the exam within 1 year from your original registration date. If you pass one section but not both, you also have 1 year to pass the second section of the exam. 


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