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Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (CSCSs) are professionals who apply scientific knowledge to train athletes for the primary goal of improving athletic performance. They conduct sport-specific testing sessions, design and implement safe and effective strength training and conditioning programs and provide guidance regarding nutrition and injury prevention. Recognizing that their area of expertise is separate and distinct, CSCSs consult with and refer athletes to other professionals when appropriate.


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 (10 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. Non-scored pretest questions also appear on the computer-based exam format to provide the same testing experience to all candidates, regardless of which exam format a candidate chooses.


Candidates who do not have an exercise science-related degree can follow these steps to use the CSCS exam preparation materials: Refer to the CSCS Exam Content Description booklet to discover the content and scope of the CSCS exam and to decide if more formal instruction or classes are necessary Study exam preparation material Take a CSCS Practice Exam Use the practice exam scores to identify the knowledge areas requiring further study Go back to the other exam preparation materials, if needed Take a different CSCS Practice Exam to reassess your increased knowledge base Decide if further study of the exam preparation materials is needed; if not, register for the CSCS exam The philosophy of this strategy is to first review all exercise science-related concepts, assess what was learned via the practice exams and then focus exam preparation on weak content areas. The ideas presented here are merely suggestions to assist exam candidates in the studying process. They should not be considered as the only method to prepare for the CSCS exam. Ultimately, it will be each candidate’s academic, experiential and test-taking abilities that dictate how effective the preparation materials are. Also, while understanding the information presented in the preparation materials should certainly increase the likelihood of passing the CSCS exam, it does not guarantee a successful performance. The questions on the CSCS exam are developed from resources in addition to these materials (refer to the Additional Textbook References list).