How many questions does it take to pass the CSCS test?

  • October 24, 2014
  • / By Tom

You have prepared and booked your Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist exam and are ready to sit for. So how many questions does it take to pass the CSCS test?

The short answer is that you need to score a scaled score of at least 70 on both sections of the exam.

There are 2 sections on the CSCS exam:

  • Scientific Foundations
  • Practical/ Applied

The Scientific Foundations section has 95 questions, of which 80 are scored. This covers exercise science and nutrition. The Practical/Applied section has 125 questions, of which 110 are scored. This covers exercise technique, program design, organization and administration, and testing and evaluation.

Answering 70% of the question right would mean the following:

  • Scientific Foundations – 56/80 = 70%
  • Practical/ Applied – 77/110 = 70%

Remember, that is the minimum score for each section. Also, you could get over 70% of the questions correct when combining the sections and still not necessarily earn the certification. You have to get at least 70% on both sections.

So even if you get 110 right on the a practical applied, 55 correct on the scientific foundations wouldn’t cut it. On the bright side, in that scenario, you would only have to retake the scientific foundations part again.

Also, as the name suggests, the non-scored questions don’t factor in here. You could miss all 10 of the questions on each section and it would have no impact on your grade.

The non-scored questions are basically practice questions for future versions of the exam. The NSCA is literally testing them to see if they will be a good fit going forward. When taking the test, you will have no way of knowing that they don’t count towards your score and they are mixed in at random.

You can find out more in the exam candidate handbook (PDF download here) or you can look at NSCA CSCS Certification Exam: The Complete Guide for a look at how to prepare for the exam.

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