Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Exam Description

The Certified Strength and Conditioning SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®) exam is comprised of two sections that test the candidate's knowledge in the Scientific Foundations and Practical/Applied areas.

1. Scientific Foundations - 80 scored and 15 non-scored* multiple-choice questions

2. Practical/Applied - 110 scored and 15 non-scored* multiple-choice questions

The pass rate was 53% for candidates attempting both sections of the CSCS exam in 2017.

Candidates must pass both sections and meet all other eligibility requirements within 1-year from initial exam date.

Get the Detailed Content Outline

The detailed content outline for the exam is available in the NSCA Certification Handbook(PDF).

Download the Certification Handbook (PDF)

Scientific Foundations Summary

The Scientific Foundations section, which is 1.5 hours in length, is designed to assess a candidate's knowledge in the areas of exercise sciences (anatomy, exercise physiology, biomechanics, etc.) and nutrition.

Domain   Percent of Exam   Number of Questions  
Exercise Science 74% 59
Nutrition 26% 21
Non-scored Questions * - 15
Total  
100%  
95
Length of section  
1.5 hours

Exercise Science
Anatomy and physiology (muscular, neuromuscular, bone and connective tissue, cardiopulmonary); Biomechanics; Bioenergetics and metabolism, Neuroendocrine physiology; Physiological adaptations; Anatomical, physiological and biomechanical differences of athletes; Psychological techniques.

Nutrition
Nutritional factors affecting health and performance; Food choices and training methods to maximize performance; Signs, symptoms and behaviors associated with eating disorders; Effects, risks and alternatives of common performance-enhancing substances.

The information above is only a summary of the Scientific Foundations section. The detailed content outline is available in the NSCA Certification Handbook (PDF).

Practical/Applied Summary

The Practical/Applied section, which is 2.5 hours in length, is designed to assess a candidate's knowledge of program design, exercise techniques, testing and evaluation and organization/administration.There are 30-40 video and/or image items that assess competencies across multiple domains.

Domain   Percent of exam Number of Questions
Exercise Technique 35% 38
Program Design 35% 39
Organization and Administration 12% 13
Testing and Evaluation 18% 20
Non-scored Questions * - 15
Total  
100%  
125
Length of section  
2.5 hours

Exercise Technique
Resistance training; Plyometric exercise; Sprint/speed technique; Agility; metabolic conditioning/energy systems development; Flexibility; Spotting procedures and techniques.

Program Design
Training methods and modes; Exercise selection; Exercise order; Exercise intensities; Training volumes; Work/rest periods, recovery and unloading; Exercise progression; Periodization; Reconditioning.

Organization and Administration
Design, layout, and organization; Duties and responsibilities; Policies and procedures; Safe training environment.

Testing and Evaluation
Selecting and administering tests; Testing protocols and procedures; Evaluate and interpret test results.

The information above is only a summary of the Practical/Applied section. The detailed content outline is available in the NSCA Certification Handbook(PDF).

*Explanation of Non-Scored Exam Questions

The CSCS exam contains non-scored questions that are being "pretested" or evaluated for future use. Including this type of question allows the CSCS Exam Development Committee to collect meaningful information about new questions that may appear as real scored questions on future exams.

Pretesting is accomplished by interspersing new ("untried") questions throughout the exam (15 non-scored questions appear in each section of the CSCS exam). Only this small number is included so that additional testing time will not be needed by exam candidates. These questions are not scored as part of a candidate's certification exam, and they do not affect an individual's pass/fail status. The non-scored questions are scattered throughout the exam so candidates will answer them with the same effort that they give to the actual scored questions.

To keep the CSCS exam reflective of current job-related duties, new questions must continuously be introduced and evaluated. Pretesting is an accepted testing practice that creates a statistically sound standardized exam and allows candidates to receive scores that are based only on previously used ("tried") questions.

Please note: A strength training and conditioning professional must write effective and well-defined training programs for a wide variety of sports, including those that he/she did not actually participate in or play. The examination questions evaluate the person's knowledge in the areas of anaerobic and aerobic training programs based upon an athlete's sport, strength and conditioning levels and training goals as well as proper performance test selection, administration and evaluation of results based on the athlete's sport.

#everyonestronger #everyonestronger

has been added to your shopping cart!

Continue Shopping Checkout Now