CSCS Exam Study Materials

The CSCS® examination is based upon the critical knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA’s) needed to safely and effectively work as a strength and conditioning coach. These KSA’s are developed following a job analysis and are used to create the CSCS Detailed Content Outline (DCO). Therefore, the materials developed by the NSCA serve as the primary resources for preparation but they should not be considered as the sole sources for the exam.

CSCS Content Description booklet

This booklet provides candidates a description of the role and scope of practice for strength and conditioning professionals and the most current DCO (2014) upon which the exam is based. Also included is a basic explanation of the CSCS exam, instructions on how to read and understand the DCO, self-assessment questions, and a list of additional references.

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NSCA Official Resources

Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, 4th Edition Textbook

This is the essential text for those seeking to become strength and conditioning professionals. This comprehensive resource, created by 30 expert contributors in the field, explains the key theories, concepts, and scientific principles of strength training and conditioning.

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Exercise Technique Manual, 3rd Edition

The Exercise Technique Manual for Resistance Training is a practical resource for current and aspiring strength and conditioning professionals and personal trainers. This full-color reference explains 70 resistance training exercises with step-by-step instructions, photos, and online video demonstrations.

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CSCS Complete Online Question Bundle

Domain-specific practice questions are available to help candidates become familiar with the type, scope, and difficulty of the questions on the CSCS Certification exam. The questions assist in developing a better understanding of the content and help to assess a candidate’s relative strengths and weaknesses. Questions can be purchased by individual domains, section bundles, or as a complete bundle. 

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CSCS Essential Package

The CSCS Essential Package contains the most common exam prep material used by candidates who have a background in the field to study for the CSCS Exam. Visit the NSCA Store for more details of what is included in the package.

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CSCS Essential Plus Package with Online Study Course

This study package contains the most common exam prep material used by candidates, plus the online study course and additional resource for exercise technique. This package is ideal for a candidate who is new to the field, does NOT have a background in the field, or just wants all of the study materials NSCA provides.

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CSCS Exam Prep Live Clinic

The passing rate for the CSCS® exam is 63%. The NSCA Exam Prep Live Clinic series is designed to help individuals understand the most relevant content as it pertains to these exams. The NSCA offers CSCS® Exam Prep Clinics that are a blend of classroom lecture and hands-on training. Your time is valuable; spend it efficiently by focusing your studies on the most relevant content!

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CSCS Study Material Comparison Chart

This chart is a general comparison of the main study materials the NSCA recommends to help you prepare for the exam. This is not a comprehensive list. The Packages offered to provide the most relevant resources for exam preparation. 

NSCA Membership can help you save on exam preparation materials and as well as $135 on the exam registration fee.

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CSCS Study Material Comparison 
A La Carte 
Essential Package 
Essential Plus Package 
CSCS Content Description Booklet 
Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning  Textbook
CSCS Complete Online Question Bundle 
Exercise Technique Manual  
Not Included 
Online Study Course (not sold individually) $269 combined price 
Not Included 
Member Savings** 
Save $61.80
Save $54.90 
Save $60.30 

Additional NSCA Resources

CSCSOnline Study Course  

This self-paced course is recommended for those candidates who do not have an exercise science-related degree. The course content reflects the weighting and scope of the CSCS exam and is supplemented by content from the Essentials of Strength Training and ConditioningFeaturing over 160 interactive learning activities, this online study course assists candidates in the studying process. 

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NSCA's "Guide To" Series - Tests and Assessments; Program Design; Sport and Exercise Nutrition 

These comprehensive texts offer candidates and strength and conditioning professionals more extensive information on the topics as identified. Readers are provided guidelines for converting scientific research into practical application. Books can be purchased individually or as a bundle. 

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NSCA's Sports Performance Series  

The NSCA, in collaboration with top subject matter experts, has developed a series of books designed to provide strength and conditioning coaches research-based recommendations, assessments, analysis, exercises and drills, and programming for a variety of performance factors. The Core; Endurance; Speed; Agility and Quickness; Power. 

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Other Resources

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