**UPDATE (10/03/2011)!!!** I’m now offering tutoring for this exam. Click HERE for details! (Ok, now you can enjoy this post.)
I typed this up for Chris Smith over at Train Better Fitness who is also studying for his CSCS exam, but I thought I had better wait to post this until I knew for sure if I passed since I wrote this 4 days ago. But since I’m posting this, it should give you a little hint….
But who really cares about that, right? It’s just a piece of paper. I still need to be a good trainer guy, and that piece of paper doesn’t guarantee anything. But I digress…this is the strategy I used for studying for the CSCS exam…
Items you’ll need:
- Certified Strength and Conditioning textbook (the one they suggest on their website)
- 3 practice exams they sell on their website
- 2 different colored hilighters
- Something to keep you awake and focused (coffee, tea, coke, etc. etc.)
The first thing I did was study the textbook enough to where I thought I was “ready”. This took approximately 1 hour a night for a week. I knew I was nowhere near ready, but I also know my study preferences. Even in school I could NOT, for the life of me, sit down and read a textbook. In 5 years of college, not once did I ever read a textbook. Didn’t need to. Didn’t want to. YUCK!!
Getting back to this hurr… After my feeble attempt of studying, I took the first practice test. I used the notebook so that I could take the tests multiple times without seeing what I had previously answered or what the correct answer was. I marked off the ones I got wrong, but I didn’t write down the correct answers.
I went through the test question by question (even the correct ones). If I got it correct and knew why it was correct, I just went on to the next question. If I got it correct but it was a guess, or I was unsure as to why it was correct, I found the chapter it was in and searched for the correct answer (even though I still didn’t know what the correct answer was cuz I didn’t look in the answer key). Obviously, I did this with all of the incorrect answers as well.
Now, errytime I’d find the answer to a question, I’d hilight it in orange (cuz that’s what color I had). If I read anything along the way that I thought might be important while searching for the correct answer, I’d highlight it in yellow (cuz that was the only other color I had).
After I got through all of the questions in the first test, I did the same for all the chapter review questions in the textbook: answered them all, corrected, searched, and highlighted.
By the time I got all that done (which was several days worth), I had forgotten many of the practice test questions (which was by design so that I could go back and re-take the test to see how much I improved). And that’s what I did. I went back and just kept retaking the 1st practice test until I was only getting 3 or 4 questions wrong and I felt comfortable knowing WHY the answers were correct as well. Then I moved on to the 2nd practice test, and repeated the entire process again. After doing all that sh*t, the 3rd practice test was no different.
As I mentioned on facebook and twitter, by the time I got through all 3 practice tests and all the chapter review questions, I knew WHY the answers were correct for 339 questions.
The knowing WHY is absolutely the most important part of it because there were hardly any questions on the real test that were identical to the 339 I had just memorized. However, knowing WHY those 339 were correct is what got me through it. It’s kind of what got me through engineering school as well.
You see (figuratively, of course), in the later years of engineering school, the professor writes an equation that runs the length of the board, which doesn’t actually contain any numbers. The following weeks, you learn how to pick and choose parts of the equation that you can get rid of and don’t apply to your specific engineering problem. Therefore, that huge, long-ass equation could really be interpreted multiple multiple ways. Some people would get so hung up on which simplified version could be used for which exact application. But in reality, if you just know HOW to apply it, you don’t need to worry about memorizing all the billion different simplified equations, you just derive it every time.
** That last paragraph was mostly me bragging about how smrt I used to be, but it is still applicable to this test as well. Rather than equations, you have fundamental program design, responses to, and application of. **
And that’s about it, bizznitches. That’s how it done. THAT’S how you debate!
Anyone else take the CSCS exam? Did you do anything differently?