Exam Preparation

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.

Regards,

Ronald

 

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.

Julian

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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The CSCS Exam – Math Questions (Answer)

Posted by on Jul 24, 2014 in Exam Preparation, Practice Questions | 1 comment

See my previous post for background. Note that I did edit that post on 6/21.

The question is:

The collegiate training center is currently undergoing renovations and all 6 teams of 124 athletes need to share a smaller facility. You modify the facility arrangement to fit slightly more power racks – for a total of 7. The athletic director insists on every athlete maintaining their 1 hour of strength training. The training center is open 8 hours, but every athlete is pairing up and sharing racks operating at a 1:1 work:rest ratio. However, since you are using power racks assume that racking and re-racking weights will cause a 15% drop in efficiency in rack use.
The athletic director asks if you figured out a plan for the athletes, what do you tell him?
 
I. We can’t accommodate the athletes
II. We can accommodate the athletes
III. We need the facility open 1 more hour
IV. We need the facility open 4 more hours
 
A. II only
B. I only
C. II and III
D. II and IV
 

In questions like these, I like to think of it in terms of needs and resources

Needs

By needs I simply mean how many resources are required to get the task done. We have 6 teams and 124 athletes, but in this case we aren’t given any scheduling or segregation requirements between the teams – so the number 6 is irrelevant. Each athlete requires 1 hour of strength training, but will be pairing up and operating at 1:1 work:rest ratio. So in terms of time at the station they will only really need 30 minutes. However due to the 15% loss in efficiency due to racking and re-racking weights, each athlete will need closer to 35minutes. Multiply this number by 124 athletes and you get the total number of rack-minutes you need.

 

What my scratch paper might look like on exam day

Resources

The training center is open 8 hours, with 7 racks.

8 hours x 60min/1hour x 7 racks = 3360 rack-minutes. Notice again I like to keep descriptive “made up” units to describe the resources available. Rack-minutes are a resource just like any material resource that we use math to describe (8 six packs x 6beers/six pack = 48 beers, etc).

A quick comparison of our needs vs resources reveals 4340 – 3360 = 980 that we are still in need of 980 minutes of platform-minutes. If we look at the possible answers to the question, we can go back and calculate which option yields us the best answer.

1 additional hour gets us 1 hour x 60min x 7 stations = 420 minutes
4 additional hours gets us another 1680 minutes

resources

More scribbles

See from the math that we really only need 980 extra minutes, somewhere between 2 and 3 hours. However since 3 hours isn’t an option, the correct answer is the one that BEST meets the objectives in question – 1 hour isn’t enough, and even though 4 hours is overkill – it’s the only answer that meets our needs. So the answer is D.

We can accommodate the athletes and
We need the facility open an additional four hours

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The CSCS Exam – Math Questions

Posted by on Jul 7, 2014 in Exam Preparation | 0 comments

You don’t need to know differential equations to pass the CSCS exam

i\hbar\frac{\partial}{\partial t}\left|\Psi(t)\right>=H\left|\Psi(t)\right>

But having taken it wouldn’t hurt you, because in order to do well in higher level math like differential equations your basic algebra has to be rock solid. I know, mine is – and it’s a result of every EE class being essentially applied algebra and calculus. Yours would be too if you used it intensely for every major class you took.

If I missed a math question on the CSCS exam, it wasn’t due to my poor math skills – but due to an incorrect assumption or remembering something incorrectly.

This is where I can help you – don’t miss a question because you suck at basic math.

integral

What Kind of Math is on the CSCS Exam?

Sometimes on the exam or in the practice materials we will get a question that seems like it needs a lot of math. And often times it does, but we’re not talking differential equations or calculus here – just some pretty basic algebra and careful interpretation of the wording of the question.

I want to talk briefly about a thing called dimensional analysis. This is a skill that you have to be totally comfortable with to get anywhere in a science-based field. As an engineer I had to deal with all kinds of units, conversions, constants with crazy units – and this helped me in unexpected ways when it came to math questions on the CSCS exam, and even more so in life in general.

My advice here is to keep track of your units, and even make up units as you do your math. Make up units that are descriptive of the things they are calculated from. Much like force is described as a “kilogram-meter per second squared”

F=ma=\frac{kg m}{s^2}

Basically it helps to keep track of units, because as you are multiplying things out and dividing and moving units around – you may suddenly realize (based on the units) what you are dealing with. This can help in kind of unexpected ways, conceptually speaking.

Let me show you what I mean with a question I made up. Take note that this question is harder than ones you would find on the CSCS exam. I believe having skills higher than those required on the exam is helpful in that it makes your skill level sufficient that your performance can take a hit due to nervousness, and you can still perform well enough to pass.

The collegiate training center is currently undergoing renovations and all 6 teams of 124 athletes need to share a smaller facility. You modify the facility arrangement to fit slightly more power racks – for a total of 7. The athletic director insists on every athlete maintaining their 1 hour of strength training. The training center is open 8 hours, but every athlete is pairing up and sharing racks operating at a 1:1 work:rest ratio. However, since you are using power racks assume that racking and re-racking weights will cause a 15% drop in efficiency in rack use.
The athletic director asks if you figured out a plan for the athletes, what do you tell him?
 
I. We can’t accommodate the athletes
II. We can accommodate the athletes
III. We need the facility open 1 more hour
IV. We need the facility open 4 more hours
 
A. II only
B. I only
C. II and III
D. II and IV

Part of the trick to these questions is interpreting the wording into math. I like to think of this type of question in terms of resources and needs, then interpret those things into math.

Stay tuned for my next post to see the answer.

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Book Preview Video

Posted by on Jun 10, 2014 in Anatomy, Book, Exam Preparation | 0 comments

Hey guys –

I must admit, it’s a little weird shooting video of myself talking into a video camera. It took a little bit of courage to put this out on the internet, it feels personal and risky. But at the same time I hope to give you guys a little bit of an idea of the stuff in my book as well as alleviate any fears you have in buying my book….if you don’t like it you can get a full refund.

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The Book is Finished!

Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Book, Exam Preparation, Exercise Science, Exercise Technique, Facility Management, Nutrition, Org & Administration, Personal, Program Design, Review Topics | 7 comments

Wow – talk about the biggest project I have ever undertaken. I’m glad to be done, but at the same time I feel like I could’ve kept going… I’ll have to save those thoughts for a later edition.

Book stats:

Page Count: 104 pages
Word Count: 16,663 words
Image/Diagram Count: 56

The Ultimate Guide to the CSCS Exam

 Table of contents preview:

  • Disclaimer
  • Preface
  • About the Author
  • Materials You Will Need
    • Cost Breakdown
    • Exam Breakdown
  • Part 1 – Scientific Foundations
    • Exercise Science
      • The Sliding Filament Theory Revisited
      • Statics of the Human Musculoskeletal System
      • More Statics: Levers and Mechanics
      • Gender Differences
      • Muscle Twitch
      • Humans: A Hybrid Energy System
      • The Physics of Human Motion
      • Key Anatomy Points
    • Nutrition
      • Protein
      • Carbohydrates
      • Fat
      • Hydration
      • Food Disorders
  • Part 2 – Practical & Applied Knowledge
    • Exercise Technique
      • Fundamental Rules
      • Handgrips
      • Five-Point Body Contact Position
      • Breathing & the Valsalva Maneuver
      • The Five Phases of Sprinting
    • Program Design
      • The Seven Steps of Program Design
      • Cycles and Periodization
    • Organization and Administration
      • Facility Specifications
    • Testing and Evaluation
      • Memorization of the Mean
      • Statistics Review
    • Conclusion and Final Thoughts

 

Pricing and other thoughts

I’ve priced the book at $27 – I feel this is justified given the amount of unique content I’m providing.

This is not a rehashing of the NSCA book, this is not an outline, it’s high quality content that will set you back less than the price of one online practice exam from the NSCA. As I get feedback I plan on editing and updating the book – purchasing this book at any time entitles you to all future updates. As I said in my previous post the pricing will always be the cheapest possible when you buy it, because it’s only going to go up as I add and update the content.

And with that, I know a bunch of you are scheduled to take the exam in the next month or two. Good luck to you, and I hope my book helps. As always, feel free to contact me via email with any questions, clarifications, or criticisms.

Buy my book!

 

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