How To Study for the CSCS Exam: Part 4

How To Study for the CSCS Exam: Part 4

It took every ounce of my willpower to not write a Part 4 to my “How To Study for the CSCS Exam” series. But…here we go.

In the past week, I’ve received 10 separate emails asking MORE advice:

Erica, do they really ask the science-y questions?
Do I really need to read the entire book?

Will busting a load right before the test help?

My answers in order: yes, yes, and fuck YES.

As much as I want to go in depth in my reply emails, I don’t.

Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is outlined in my blog posts. It’s not that I don’t want to help, it’s that if you can’t read my advice verbatim on a blog, then you’re sure as hell bound to have problems reading an entire textbook on exercise physiology and anatomy.


Look. I’m not mad. I’m teaching you a lesson. 

Maybe people are still confused with what I outlined in Parts 1, 2, and 3. Although, I like to think I was VERY diligent with my advice and I provided comprehensive study tips on how to not be an idiot. Better yet, these posts are outlined in bullet points and pretty charts and tables. What more do you need?

On the other hand, perhaps people just want to exchange emails with a single 26 year old female and brush it off as “needing CSCS exam help.” 

It’s fine. Let’s get you to pass this exam first, then maybe your chance of getting some from me will increase by 0.000001%. But even then, probably not.

I’m going to be honest: passing this exam is hard. And now that everyone and their grandmother wants to be a strength coach, it is becoming a heck of lot harder to squeak by with your certificate and the rights to stamp the CSCS letters behind your name on a biz card.


Not to put a damper on things, but I’ve known many people who have failed. Like. A lot. Sometimes this makes me question if these peeps should even be strength coaches after all.

I mean would you hire an accountant who failed their CPA three times? Methinks not.

So to aid you along in your journey to becoming a strength and conditioning coach, read these first:

How To Study for the CSCS Exam
How To Study for the CSCS Exam Part 2
How To Study for the CSCS Exam Part 3

Then, dive into these books:

Essentials of Strength and Conditioning 4th Edition  <— this is the main book that you must read front to back. No excuses.

CSCS Study Guide

CSCS Exam Secrets

Then, if you want to be an overachiever, check out these additional readings:

Exercise Technique Manual for Resistance Training <— if you have less than a year of experience as a coach, I recommend this for the practical portion of the exam.

New Functional Training for Sports 2nd Edition <— this is also a great resource that will help with the practical portion. Plus, every beginner strength coach needs to know Mike Boyle.

To repeat, I’m not mad…I’m just tossing out tough love. I can’t reiterate enough how critical it is to 1) read on your own 2) comprehend information and 3) apply yourself. These are all skills you will need for the length of your career as a strength and conditioning coach.

One more thing: just because you have huge biceps and testicles the size of Volkswagens doesn’t mean you’ll pass the exam and be the world’s best strength coach.

So get started. Time to hit the books.

That is all. Hope that helped.

  • David
    Posted at 22:09h, 27 September Reply

    Thanks so much for taking the time to put this together. These are definitely some pearls

    • erica
      Posted at 01:56h, 28 September Reply

      Of course! Happy to help! 😀

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