Reader Experience: From Grumpy to Passing!

Posted by on Jul 1, 2017 in Exam Preparation, Reader Question, Study Strategy | 0 comments

This was an interesting experience, for both me and the reader in question. While it always stings a little to get critical feedback, it is always the most useful. In this case, for both parties.

Ronald contacted me dissatisfied with the book, and gave me a lengthy explanation which you can read here:

Hello Julian,

I want to give you my honest regards as it relates to your CSCS Study guide e-book. My experience goes as follows. When I ordered the book my expectations were that there would be some remedy to help me remember or understand the scientific foundations portion of the exam.

My background is I have a Sports Management degree with a concentration of Wellness and Fitness. I graduated in May 2016. I have several other certifications e.g. ACSM CPT, NSCA CPT, NASM CPT PES, CES. As we both know the CSCS is definitely the most difficult and holds the most weight. I failed the exam on February 5th, 2017. I missed the practical applied section by 7 questions. I also missed the scientific foundations part by 3 questions. I am truly seeking mastery of the exam. I literally want to know everything to defeat this behemoth!

I was expecting to see a way that I could relate things such as adaptations to hypoxia immediate and long-term. Also adaptations to resistance training and aerobic training and overtraining. One more thing the testing and evaluation, a cool way to remember those 90 vs fiftieth percentiles for athletes.

The most that I gained from your study guide is a clever way of remembering the one repetition maximum. The mathematical calculations are far too advanced for me. I have never been an electrical engineer, therefore, there were several analogies that went over my head literally. In a lot of ways I must be honest with you I was more confused after assessing the study guide.

I wish that this could work for me, or had things that I could relate to the subject-matter in a simpler format. I hope this worked for you and some others, but for me it was just daunting trying to get through the esoteric format. I respect your profession and wish that I was more mathematical savvy,  but unfortunately I’m not.

I’m glad for this exam I don’t have to know calculus or analytical geometry. I’m sorry to say but according to how the e-book is now it doesn’t work for me. It probably won’t but I wish the rest of the book was designed to be as understandable as the 1 repetition maximum protocol that you designed.

Thanks for reading my email and understanding that it just did not work for me.




I immediately issued a refund and responded, read here:

Hey Ronald,

Your detailed feedback is greatly appreciated. I have refunded you the $27.

However, it seems you purchased the book 5 days ago….so I have to provide some critical feedback of my own:

Trying to understand it in 5 days might be a bit of a stretch.

I have all that math background, and I did not ace the exam by any stretch. I passed, fairly comfortably (80ish percentish if I recall). You have given it 5 days of trying to understand math that seems over your head, at the moment.

I encourage you to give yourself some more credit. When your brain is tired from trying to understand some of this shit, that is time to set the book down and go move your body, or sleep….but then you come right back and try to grasp it again. It’s like going to the gym, you exercise the muscle until it’s your desired strength.

Look for the “NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) & CPT Study Group” on facebook, join it…and start asking some questions.

Best of luck buddy!

I really appreciate your time spent giving me detailed feedback.

You’re going to get it next time! Leave no stone unturned. DO NOT wait until last minute. Make every page in my book make sense to you, even if it means learning better math….none of which required calculus, just good algebra.


Then over the next few months the following emails came in:

Hello Mr. Julian Corwin,

I wanted to thank you for the reply to my feedback concerning the issues I had with your e-book. I have learned a lot from your book in relation to tips and tricks. I also noticed the relevance it has in preparation for the CSCS Exam.

I hope you will allow me to send you the money back. I stand corrected sir you were right. This book has enough intricate details to give me just the edge I need to defeat this behemoth! Lol..

And finally

Hello Julian,

I passed the exam Wednesday the 10th. Your book CSCSEXAMGUIDE was very instrumental in my passing this exam. I was really comfortable with the exercise science portion this time. The ten repetition maximum table memory method was invaluable. You also conveyed the anatomy & physiology/ kinesiology in an easy way to comprehend.  As discussed before I failed both sections back on February the 5th.

When we accept critical feedback and respond in thoughtful ways, amazing things happen. I received the feedback and gave my response, and Ronald did the same. His response was to re-evaluate his approach – which changed everything.

Congratulations Ronald on your CSCS!

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