FREE CSCS Study Guide 2023 - Studying Made Simple

Welcome CSCS learners to our PTPioneer NSCA Study Guide page. This article is potentially the most important article within our CSCS study materials as it will provide the bulk of the materials.

All in all, the basics covered in this article will be:

Chapter-by-Chapter Study Guide
Navigation and Study Tips
Recommendations on Combining this Material with our other NSCA CSCS Study Materials

Get your copy of the CSCS exam cheat sheet and our study plan. It helps immensely in studying for the exam.

Make sure to check out Trainer Academy for premium NSCA CSCS study materials. Trainer Academy offers premium study guides that go more in-depth than any free materials online. Read my full review of them here. You can save $100 on their MVP study system with the code: PTPSUB

NSCA CSCS Study Series

FREE CSCS Study guide: 4th Edition 2023

FREE CSCS Study Guide [year] - Studying Made Simple 4

Using the PTPioneer ACSM Study Guide

This study guide for the CSCS, as well as all study guides found throughout PTPioneer, will contain each and every chapter, simplified for readers to study easily.

It is not a perfect test prep substitute for the book, as learners should, ideally, still read and utilize the chapters in the textbook, at least once.

For the CSCS, the current textbook is the Essentials of Strength Training, 4th Edition.

FREE CSCS Study Guide [year] - Studying Made Simple 5

For the most optimal study experience, readers will go through the chapter in the official CSCS textbook and the more condensed version of our chapter-by-chapter study guide here on this page.

Our flashcard system also follows chapter-by-chapter and should be utilized to keep everything fresh for learners on a daily or semi-daily study basis.

Studying the CSCS materials in a regular fashion can help create some optimal study habits that translate well to future endeavors,

Make sure to check out the PTPioneer study plan for the National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, as well.

In the study plan, I break down the study guide’s chapters to fit each of the four main calendar timeframes seen by learners. This can help you set goals.

CSCS Breakdown

The NSCA CSCS Test, and subsequently the practice test we offer, are broken up into two daunting tests.

The first CSCS test will be the Scientific Foundations Exam. The Scientific Foundations exam holds questions from the first three domains (out of seven total) from the CSCS textbook.

  • Domain 1 Exercise Science:(55% of section score/44 questions).
  • Domain 2 Sports Psychology: (24% of section score/19 questions).
  • Domain 3 Nutrition: (21% of section score/17 questions)
  • Non-Scored Questions: a total of 15 questions are not scored.

The second CSCS test is the Practical/Applied exam. The practical and applied test will contain questions from the remaining 4 domains.

  • Domain 4 Exercise Technique: (36% of section score/ 40 questions)
  • Domain 5 Program Design: (35% of section score/ 38 questions)
  • Domain 6 Organization and Administration: (11% of section score/12 questions)
  • Domain 7 Testing and Evaluation: Percentage of section (18% of section score/20 questions)
  • Non-Scored Questions: a total of 15 questions are not scored.

CSCS Study Tips

Study Tips

The CSCS study guide located on this page is meant to supplement the full 4th edition Of the essentials of strength and conditioning. This is the primary textbook for the CSCS test.

I will go over some additional study tips and techniques I have for you guys so that you guys can ace the CSCS exam without any difficulty.

Here are some excellent CSCS study materials/study techniques that I like to use with my students and have implemented into the Study Hub pages for the CSCS.

CSCS Practice Tests:

I have practice tests included in this study hub, and they come next in the sequential order of the study materials for the CSCS.

I also suggest picking up additional practice tests and practice quizzes for each of the individual domains of study in the CSCS (there are seven domains).

I only have the one practice test and domain quizzes for each of the 7 domains, and someone may want even more practice for this challenging certification exam.

Practice exams and practice questions are extremely important because they let you know if you are 100% ready to take the real exam. I have had hundreds of students come to me asking me why they failed the CSCS exam.

It turns out that most of them never took one full practice exam, and thus did not fully go through exam prep for the NSCA CSCS Exam. How can you know if you are ready if you have never gotten back from a practice exam?

Personally, I recommend checking out the practice exams over at Trainer Academy. Check out my review on Trainer Academy right here.

Premium CSCS Study Guide:

Although this study guide here is a great place to start, it really goes over a lot of content, but doesn’t hold up to more focused and premium models.

This might seem counterintuitive, but the best study guides are the shortest study guides. What I mean is that the best study guides will point out exactly what you need to study in order to pass the exam. My study guide, on the other hand, basically goes over everything but does not pinpoint the most important parts to study.

I suggest picking up the Trainer Academy CSCS study guide if you want to save the most time while studying for the CSCS.

Spaced repetition flashcards:

The old-school way of using flashcards is done. Physically writing down the information on hundreds of flashcards is tedious and time-wasting. In addition to this, the flashcards you study after you create them are not nearly as effective as they could be.

What you need to use are spaced repetition flashcards. This is the flashcards system I have used to learn Spanish as well as study for all of my personal training certifications. It has really worked fantastic for me as well as for all of my students that have tried it.

Spaced repetition flashcards use an algorithm to learn which flashcards you already know, and which flashcards you have trouble with. The program will continuously show you your difficult cards until you know them well. The cards you already know well will show infrequently. This saves you a ton of time and really drills the difficult concepts until you have mastered them.

CSCS Cheat Sheet

A cheat sheet is a good way to keep all of the information you struggle with or find yourself forgetting, all on one page together.

You can either make your own or click on the button below to look at and utilize ours in your studies.

Well, that’s it, ladies and gentlemen for all of my CSCS study tips. If you utilize all of these tips that I have given you, I am sure you will have no problem passing the CSCS test. Good luck and get to studying!

Start the Free CSCS Study Guide 2023

If you’re ready to get studying or looking for some of the information included in the CSCS, make sure you check out our free study guide by clicking the button right below!

You will be beginning your road to becoming a strength and conditioning coach.

FREE CSCS Study Guide [year] - Studying Made Simple 6

Tyler Read

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT. Tyler holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Sonoma State University and is a certified personal trainer (CPT) with NASM (National Academy of sports medicine), and has over 15 years of experience working as a personal trainer. He is a published author of running start, and a frequent contributing author on Healthline and Eat this, not that.

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34 thoughts on “FREE CSCS Study Guide 2023 – Studying Made Simple”

  1. PTPioneer User

    How we have to study for exam .language of book is very tough .
    Can you please tell me that which part of book comes under the exam.(1) scientific foundation
    And which chapter comes under the (2 )practical applied exam

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hey Lais,

      I have been working with trainer Academy for about a little over a year now. They have great study materials and all of my students that I send their way always have good feedback from the experience with them. Hope this helps

  2. PTPioneer User

    I think it’s looking so hard but genuinely i interested and I don’t have much money so please tell me easy way to complete this please

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      The certified strength and conditioning specialist certification is definitely one of the hardest personal training certifications out there. I would definitely start here with the free study guide in practice test but if you want a full suite of study materials and a much better chance of passing the exam I suggest checking out the trainer Academy study materials. Here is a link. https://traineracademy.org/nsca-cscs/

  3. PTPioneer User

    Is CSCS the best option for someone looking to become a strength and conditioning coach? I would be working in a smaller privately owned gym and with athletes in specific. I’m prepared to study as long as I need but am stuck on which certification would be best as I did not major in a related field.

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hey Tori,
      The certified strength and conditioning specialist certification is definitely seen as the gold standard in terms of strength and conditioning or working with athletes. This is definitely what I would go for but the only thing is that they do require a four-year college degree before you can even sign up to take the exam. It does not have to be a degree in a health-related field, just a four-year degree in any subject will do.

      1. PTPioneer User

        Hey Tyler. I do hold a Bachelors in Business Administration from DeVry University ( Private Accelerated University) . I looked within the NSCA handbook for 2019 and DeVry University does not fall under the accreditation for the CSCS prerequisite qualification being that it is accredited through the Higher Learning Comission. What should I do? I would really like to pursue a career in strength and conditioning for baseball players and mma fighters/boxers .

        1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

          A four-year bachelors degree should be all that you need in order to be eligible to take the certified strength and conditioning specialist certification. I suggest that you petition it or even called them up to see if there’s anything that you can do with your degree in order to take the exam. That is pretty cool that you are wanting to train mixed martial artist fighters! That is a super dynamic sport that would be fun to train somebody in.

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hello, I do believe that the certified strength and conditioning specialist certification can be done in Spanish. You will definitely need to double check with the NSCA on this. In terms of having study materials for it on my website in Spanish, I only have study materials in English but that would be a cool option to be able to have both. Thanks a lot for the suggestion!

  4. PTPioneer User

    Hey Tyler,

    I recently took the cscs exam but failed because of the nutrition section e.g calculate how much protein calories does X athlete has in this diet chart.

    I also came short because of volume load questions too.

    Basically my maths was not good.

    i look forward to your reply. thank you.

  5. PTPioneer User

    Hi Tyler,

    Thank you for very helpful information. Now I’m living in Vietnam, I wonder that if I take CSCS course, can I take the exam and that exam is online test or something else Tyler?

    Furthermore, I have read on NCSA website and it say that I need to take the test at Pearson VUE testing centers worldwide, but I can find any center working in Vietnam. Can you give me some information about the Exam Registration and Scheduling Tyler?

    Thank you so much Tyler

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      This is true, you will need to find a testing center near you. I’m not sure if they have any testing centers in Vietnam or where the nearest one is. You will have to check their website for this information. You cannot take the final exam online, you will need to go into a testing facility. Good luck with your personal training career and I’m sure you will figure out the right solution.

  6. PTPioneer User
    Nevan Dominguez

    Tyler, I recently took and passed my CSCS exam. I wanted to thank you for this overview of the chapters which helped me to study along with the textbook.

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      I’m so glad that you passed your CSCS exam! That is a fantastic step towards becoming an awesome strength and conditioning coach. Good luck with your career.

  7. PTPioneer User

    Hi Tyler-

    Would you say that the practice questions included above are pretty much what the questions on the actual CSCS are going to be like? I am finding that most of the practice questions online are of similar difficulty and easier to dissect, but the practice questions that I purchased directly through the CSCS website are waaayyyy harder. Any insight would be helpful. Thank you!

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      Hey there, it’s hard to tell which questions are going to show up on the exam as they change them frequently. Also, my sample practice test does not cover nearly as many total questions that you will see on the final CSCS exam. That being said, I would definitely suggest heading over to trainer Academy as they have three full practice exams.

  8. PTPioneer User

    Hey Tyler,
    I am very much interested in this fitness training domain. Currently do not have any certification, in a rush to get one certification and get a job + start of as an online training personal coach. I’m confused with which certification is the best ACE or CSCS? I do have a 4 year bachelor’s degree in engineering.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

    1. Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

      If you have a four-year bachelor’s, I definitely recommend the certified strength and conditioning specialist as it is the highest regarded personal training certification.

  9. PTPioneer User

    hi i hold 3 year bachelor degree in computer application and currently doing 2 year master in exercise physiology ….2021 i will complete my master…… did i am eligible for cscs exam ?

  10. PTPioneer User

    Hey man, I actually wanted to ask you if you could make the guide into a pdf so that it would be easy for us to access it offline and even print it.
    and btw do you have the CSCS ebook?

  11. PTPioneer User

    Hello, your ‘answers’ to the Practice tests do not seem to be working? I cannot seem to expand the answer key and view it??

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