Free CSCS Practice Test

The CSCS certification is a challenging certification with a lot of information packed in.

The actual exam is broken into two sections, the scientific foundation, and the practical/applied questions.

The textbook is packed full of 25 chapters and the information within can get very specific and hit on things that are not found in personal training and other training certifications.

The entire exam has a pass rate of only 56%, so this should tell you just how tough it is.

The Practice test we have here is broken down into the sections and then those sections are broken down into the Domains within.

When you are going through these questions, you should try to answer them on your own, and you can look to the page or chapter we have as a reference point in the book to help with the answering.

The drop down box will then contain the answer and the reasoning below the answer.

Once you have completed this, and even before starting, you should test your knowledge with our practice quiz containing all of these questions to see where your knowledge currently stands.

Free CSCS Practice test

Section 1: Scientific Foundations

This section is the first of two, and it covers the fundamental principles used to govern exercise science. 

The stuff here is basic and needed to know for how you actually apply information in client scenarios. This whole section is 1.5 hours total of the test. 

Section one has 3 domains of the 7 total ones.

Domain 1: Exercise Science

This domain will represent 55% of the first section and around 44 questions in total.

The subjects covered here are anatomy, biomechanics, biochemical activity, and psychology.

Questions 1: Which of these actions describes transverse plane abduction of the shoulder? (pg. 25)

A. Volleyball dig

B. Backhand tennis stroke

C. Basketball pass

Question 2: Which joint is stabilized by the following: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor? (pg. 39)

A. Glenohumeral

B. Acromioclavicular

C. Scapulothoracic

Question 3: Which heart structure is most typically compromised in a sufferer of chronic tachycardia? (pg. 14)

A. Conduction system

B. Bicuspid valve

C. Tricuspid valve

Question 4: An increase in muscle contraction rate, force production, and metabolic enzyme activity can be attributed to which ‘flight or fight’ mode hormone? (pg. 84)

A. Catecholamines

B. Dopamine

C. Norepinephrine

Question 5: The most frequent use of the electron transport chain is stimulated by which of these modes of training? (pg. 47)

A. High intensity interval training

B. Long-distance aerobic training

C. Low volume training

Question 6: What type of training is defined by training with one set of each of the following: squats, push-ups, biceps curls, leg curls and chin-ups, in sequence with limited rest intervals between sets. (Chapter 5)

A. Interval training

B. Calisthenics training

C. Circuit training

Question 7: While performing maximum effort squats, what is the role of the deep abdominal and diaphragm muscles? (pg. 38)

A. To promote faster breathing for increase oxygen uptake

B. To improve lung capacity

C. To increase intra-abdominal pressure

Question 8: The relaxation phase of muscle contraction result in what occurring? (Chapter 2)

A. Sarcoplasmic reticulum receives calcium

B. Calcium is transported into the bloodstream

C. Calcium is ionized

Question 9: The most post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) can be attributed to what form of resistance training? (pg. 58)

A. 80% of 1 rep max with heavy resistance for maximum reps

B. Aerobic training only

C. Circuit weight training

Question 10: The majority of metabolic fuel is provided by which energy system during a 50m dash? (pg. 46)

A. Krebs Cycle



Domain 2: sport psychology

This section represents 24% of the whole section and around 19 total questions.

The topics covered here are psychological techniques and knowledge used for enhancing training with psychology

Question 1: Which of the following is a physiological function of epinephrine in muscle? (pg. 67)

  • I. Decrease blood flow
  • II. Decrease blood pressure 
  • III. Increase muscle contraction rate
  • IV. Decrease force production

A. I, II only

B. I, II, IV only 

C. III only

Question 2: In an athlete suspected of having an eating disorder, which of the following warning signs can be used to differentiate bulimia nervosa from anorexia nervosa? (Chapter 10)

A. Criticism of one’s body 

B. Excessive exercise 

C. Repeatedly disappearing right after eating 

Question 3: How do you describe the type of motivation that influences the pursuit of a professional sporting career for the sake of a high income? (pg. 161)

A. Intrinsic motivation

B. Group motivation

C. Extrinsic motivation

Question 4: An athlete’s drive to succeed beyond others and obstacles, achieve mastery, and attain social recognition is known as what? (pg. 162)

A. Positive motivation

B. Achievement motivation

C. Goal oriented action

Question 5: What type of feedback is provided by a video analysis? (pg. 172)

A. Results knowledge feedback

B. Tacit feedback

C. Performance knowledge feedback

Question 6: What eating disorder is characterized by ingestion of nonnutritive substances? (pg. 223)

A. Pica

B. Anorexia nervosa

C. Anxiety disorder

Question 7: When experiencing high levels of arousal, what theory describes an athlete reacting with excitement and anticipation as opposed to one of fear and anxiety? (pg. 161)

A. Inspiration

B. Reversal theory

C. U theory

Question 8: Which term correctly describes negative stress? (pg. 158)

A. Eustress

B. Anxiety

C. Distress

Question 9: What is the main reason for avoiding alcohol intake post training? (pg. 190)

A. It impedes muscle protein synthesis

B. It impedes glycogen 

C. It impairs coordination and focus

Question 10: Which sort of substance has an ergogenic effect that can decrease anxiety and tremors during athletic performance? (Chapter 11)

A. Growth hormone

B. Beta blockers

C. Valine

Domain 3: Nutrition

This represents 21% of the whole section and around 17 total questions.

The topics covered in this section are focused on nutrition as it affects the general health and performance of people.

The other nutrition topics revolve around nutritional choices, macro monitoring diet-related psychology, and disorders. 

Question 1: What does a nutritional supplement containing leucine stimulate? (pg. 182)

A. It buffers muscle protein catabolism and stimulates protein synthesis

B. It promotes vasodilation

C. It increases protein absorption

Question 2: Members of the elderly population can benefit from which nutrient combination in order to optimize bone density? (pg. 191, 193)

A. Iron and vitamin A

B. Calcium and vitamin D

C. Zinc and vitamin B12

Question 3: For athletes referring to the glycemic index, which pre-workout food considerations are recommended? (pg. 186)

A. The GI rating should be as low as possible

B. The GI rating should be as high as possible

C. Athletes should experiment with both high and low GI sources to determine the optimal rating for their individual needs

Question 4: With an increase in training intensity and duration, glycogen stores are depleted. How can glucose availability be increased without additional carb intake? (pg. 53)

A. Liver glycolysis

B. Gluconeogenesis

C. Muscle glycogenesis

Question 5: How is calcium absorption is affected by low protein intake? (pg. 183)

A. It remains unaffected

B. Absorption is increased

C. Absorption is decreased

Question 6: Which of the following statements about zinc is false? (pg. 194)

A. It optimizes endogenous testosterone production

B. It is essential in bone synthesis

C. It optimizes wound repair

Question 7: Which substance should be avoided before training in order to avoid gastrointestinal issues? (pg. 203)

A. Energy beverages

B. Xylitol and other sugar alcohols

C. Protein

Question 8: Regarding nutrition planning, which of these is false? (Chapter 9)

A. . Fundamental considerations of health and disease prevention must be taken into account

B. Physiological parameters such as age, sex, height and weight must be considered

C. Fundamental considerations regarding macronutrient intake will remain similar across all population groups as it relates to activity levels

Question 9: What is the first order of conduct for a nutrition specialist providing consultation? (Chapter 10)

A. A total in depth nutritional evaluation

B. Assessment of athletes objectives

C. Design a weight management program

Question 10: Which of these aspects influences the GI rating of a food source? (pg. 186)

A. A hyperglycemic predisposition

B. Consumption of multi-source meals as opposed to a single food source

C. Level of physical activity

Section 2: Practical/Applied

This section is 2.5 hours of testing and it contains a total of 125 questions.

Here we will be applying the principles throughout section 1 and putting them into action for the use in programs for your clients.

There is also a focus on the administration portion of operation as a Personal Trainer. This includes the image and video resources for testing your competence across the domains. 

Section two is made up of the remaining 4 domains out of 7. 

Domain 4: Exercise Technique

This domain is 36% of the whole section 2 and around 40 questions.

This domain is going to test you on the training styles of resistance, agility, sprint, and plyometrics.

We also will have information on the energy systems, ATP cycle, and conditioning of the metabolic systems. Flexibility conditioning and spotting techniques are also touched on throughout these questions. 

Question 1: Where should the handles be relative to the body with the pec deck machine? (pg. 376)

A. Aligned with the middle of the chest

B. Aligned with the deltoids

C. Aligned with the chin

Question 2: Which grip forms should be used by the lifter and spotter during the downward phase of a barbell tricep lift? (pg. 355)

A. Both use a pronated grip

B. Lifter: pronated grip; Spotter: supinated grip

C. Both use supinated grip

Question 3: Which of these shows incorrect execution of a tire flip when employing a shoulders-against-the-tire technique? (pg. 417)

A. Shoulder rise occurs too slowly

B. The foot placement is too far from the tire position

C. The foot placement is too close to the tire position

Question 4: Which is an essential consideration with regards to foot action during a power clean’s second pull? (pg. 404)

A. Maximum heel/ground contact time before extension induced launch

B. Maintain toe/ground contact

C. Toes bear all the weight

Question 5: The hook-grip is commonly employed during a snatch lift by lifting athletes and is described by which of these statements? (pg. 352)

A. Thumb is squeezed by the middle and index fingers

B. Thumb squeezes middle and index fingers

C. Thumb remains positioned next to index finger

Question 6: Regarding the log clean press exercise, which of these is true? (pg. 430)

A. A full squat is essential during the dip-phase

B. The log will be above the quads at the end of the initial pull

C. The lifter can rest the log on the thighs in between the first and second pulls.

Question 7: Should the low-bar and high-bar back squat employ different grip widths? if so, what is the suggested difference? (pg. 380)

A. The lifter should employ a wider grip for a low-bar back squat

B. Grip width should remain constant for both squat forms

C. The lifter should employ a wider grip for a high-bar back squat

Question 8: How do the torso angles differ in a Romanian Deadlift with a snatch grip as opposed to one with a clean grip? (pg. 391)

A. A more horizontal torso orientation with the RDL on a clean grip

B. A more horizontal torso orientation with the RDL on a snatch grip

C. There is no variance in angle with a change of grip

Question 9: Which of these is an instance of a hip abductor dynamic stretch? (Chapter 14)

A. Spine twist

B. Walking over and under

C. Curtsy squat

Question 10: Which of these statements about an incline DB press is true? (pg. 355)

A. The dumbbells are moved with abduction and flexion

B. The feet should be positioned as wide as possible

C. The spotter positions their hands by the lifter’s forearms

Domain 5: Program Design

This domain represents 35% of the whole section and around 38 total questions.

This domain looks at the proficiency in crafting plans and programs tailored for clients.

The focus is on the methods and modes of training, the selection of exercises, the order, and intensity of exercise, finding the proper volume, progressive overload, unloading, and reconditioning of clients.

We also need to know the functional ranges and the one rep limits as well as the protocols for recovery. 

Question 1: In order to manage aerobic intensity, which of these is not an ideal method? (Chapter 20)

A. Rate of perceived exertion (RPE) scales

B. Blood pressure

C. Karvonen method

Question 2: The prioritization of low sports practice and high resistance training occurs in which season? (pg. 444)

A. Off-season

B. In-season

C. Pre-season

Question 3: In order to optimize the perceptual-cognitive ability of an athlete, what considerations can be made by a coach regarding agility training? (pg. 522)

A. Combine multiple agility drills

B. Increase intensity of plyometric exercises

C. Prompt swift direction change using a whistle

Question 4: Which pathway provides the greatest supply of ATP in the final phase of a marathon race? (Chapter 3)

A. Glycolysis

B. Oxidation of fats

C. Insulin pathway

Question 5: Cardiorespiratory endurance can be optimized by which form of resistance training? (pg. 106)

A. Compound training

B. Circuit training


Question 6: In order to optimize muscle endurance, what would be an ideal set recommendation for a trainer client?

A. 4×5 reps at 90% 1RM

B. 3-4 x 12 reps at 70-85% 1RM

C. 1-3×12-25 reps at 50-70% 1RM

Question 7: What concept describes the high CNS activity that stimulates high velocity near-maximum to maximum muscular activation for sprint training?

A. Action potential

B. Rate coding

C. High-velocity twitch activation

Question 8: At the beginning of a youth resistance training program, what is the ideal set and rep ranges? (pg. 144)

A. 4 sets of 12 reps

B. 1-3 sets of 6-15 reps

C. 3 sets of 15 reps

Question 9: Which method of training is most effective for increasing stride rate for optimized sprint speed? (Chapter 18)

A. Isometric training

B. Heavy resistance training

C. Plyometric training

Question 10: Regarding a resistance training program, Which is the ideal exercise to perform first during a training session? (pg. 448)

A. Press-up

B. Power clean

C. Walking lunge

Domain 6: Organization and Administration

This is the smallest percentage of the entire exam at around 11% and 12 questions.

This domain looks to test your knowledge of the things needed to run a business.

The test will cover organizational structures, administrative layouts, legal and ethical standards, and insurance and bookkeeping.

Question 1: A 16 year old athlete has been training for two years with a strength and conditioning coach. He is considering use of creatine and asks the coach which brand he should use. How should the coach respond? (Chapter 24)

A. Advise against creatine use

B. Recommend any reputable brand

C. Recommend the athlete consults a qualified nutrition and diet expert

Question 2: For lifts such as the clean and the snatch, what is the recommended flooring option for Olympic platforms? (Chapter 23)

A. A spring floor

B. A wooden platform with a rubber perimeter

C. Granular rubber

Question 3: After a verbal warning and one day suspension, what is the recommended course of action for an athlete who continues to transgress the policies of a strength and conditioning facility? (pg. 650)

A. A final verbal warning

B. Further extended suspension of a week and a detailed record and notification to the athlete’s trainer

C. Suspension for the remainder of a year and a detailed record of transgressions

Question 4: An orientation meeting does not typically include which of these? (pg. 651)

A. Pre-participation screening

B. Review of policies and procedures of the facility

C. Equipment and technique instructions

Question 5: When designing a weight room, what is the most important consideration at the initial phase? (pg. 624)

A. Commissioning an architect

B. Conduct a S.W.O.T analysis

C. To recognize important policy guidelines

Question 6: Which of these does not align with the mandate of a strength and conditioning professional? (Chapter 24)

A. Administrative record keeping

B. Introduction of exercise technique

C. Evaluation and treatment of injury

Question 7: Regarding the design phase, which of these is true? (pg.625)

A. Drafting of the facility blueprint is part of this phase

B. Selection of the architect occurs during this phase

C. Master plan development occurs during this phase

Question 8: In order to increase safety, how should the weightlifting racks be secured? (pg. 630)

A. Fuse two racks together with bolts

B. Attach the rack to the wall with bolts

C. Secure the rack to the floor with bolts

Question 9: What is necessary to obtain before embarking on a strength and conditioning program? (pg. 647)

A. Radiological report

B. Legal background

C. Medical clearance

Question 10: For every inch of elevation, how many inches of horizontal surfacing must be provided for a wheelchair ramp in a strength and conditioning facility? (pg. 627)

A. 12″

B. 10″

C. 6″

Domain 7: Testing and Evaluation

This is the final domain covered and it represents 18% of section 2 and has 20 total questions. This domain will test you on the selections of tests and the administration of them. It will also cover how to read, interpret, evaluate, and apply results. 

Question 1: For administration of an aerobic endurance test in hot conditions, which of these is an important guideline? 

A. Athlete must sign an indemnity form before proceeding with the test

B. Athlete must sign an indemnity form before proceeding with the test

C. Make a reasonable determination of temperature, wind, and humidity

Question 2: What is not an ideal caliper measurement location for the skinfold body fat % test of a 32 year old male athlete? (pg. 314)

A. Midaxilla

B. Triceps

C. Deltoid

Question 3: What term describes the scenario where two coaches have considerably different opinions on how to proceed with testing team members, leading to unreliable results? (pg. 25)

A. Intra Subject reliability

B. Interrater reliability

C. Intrasubject variability

Question 4: When should a test site be measured a third time when performing a skinfold test? (pg. 288)

A. There does not need to be more than one test performed

B. Only if the athlete indicates a desire to be tested a third time

C. When the first 2 measurements return with a more than 10% difference between them

Question 5: What is the ideal arm position in order to accurately conduct an upper arm girth measurement?

A. Straight arm, lateral to the body with a pronated palm

B. Straight arm in horizontal position and pronated palm

C. Straight arm in horizontal position and supinated palm

Question 6: What are the different movement patterns involved in the performance of the T-test? The T-test incorporates what variety of different movement patterns? (pg. 280)

A. Sprint, crossover run, 180-degree turn

B. Sprint, 180-degree turn, backward run

C. Sprint, shuffle, backward run

Question 7: Aerobic capacity is commonly tested through which of these? (pg. 278)

A. Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test

B. 40-yard dash

C. Margaria-Kalamen test

Question 8: How is a local push-up endurance test performed according to US Army testing protocols? (pg. 275)

A. 50 push-ups for time

B. Reps until failure

C. Reps within a 2 minute period

Question 9: Which of these validities would the results of the percentile rank of athletes’ vertical jumps and 1RM back squat variations reinforce? (pg. 251)

A. Convergent validity

B. Discriminant validity

C. Face validity

Question 10: Measuring which of these aspects of performance would be an ideal implementation of the Wingate test? (pg. 261)

A. Anaerobic or maximum muscular power

B. Lactate threshold

C. Maximal speed

Randomized 70 Question CSCS Practice Exam

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