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Mastering NSCA CSCS Exam: Strategies for Studying Chp 13 Normative Data Tables

Back in December 2017, it's early on a Saturday morning. Just me, my dog Arthur, a white board and dry-erase marker. Something in the back of my mind was itching, in fact, telling me I needed to know these twenty-seven tables at the end of Chapter 13, Essentials of Strength & Conditioning. There was no external source guiding me on how to study for this exam. As an Athletic Trainer, our common saying yet misguided thought process was if we could pass our Board of Certification Exam, the NSCA CSCS Exam would be a walk in the park. As a 2x Summa Cum Laude graduate, I did not trust that advice. I was skeptical.

I am believer of leaving "no stone left unturned" when it comes to studying, so I certainly was not going to let twenty-seven tables of data left unmastered. Now by no means did I think it would useful to memorize the entirety of each table. My memory is good, but not that good. So I took that dry-erase marker and white board, and started recording the 90% percentile scores for each table. I then went through each table, memorizing the 90% percentile scores. Once I mastered one table, I moved onto the next.

As you could imagine, this took a lot of time. I probably spent 4-5 hours on this Saturday going through this process. But you know what? IT WORKED! Man did I know those numbers. And when I sat for that exam about one month later, there was wave of relief. I was so happy I took the time and energy to study those tables, as it paid dividends on my exam. It's part of the reason why I scored a 90% on my exam.

I do not write this saying that you need to mimic my process, but you do need A PROCESS. Hopefully my story inspires, and lights that fire within you, to get after it. Not just to pass, but CRUSH the CSCS Exam.

What's your studying process? If you passed your exam, what habits helped you the most?

With gumption,


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