The course is essentially a companion for the Essentials textbook and quite frankly I much more in terms of the content and delivery. Here are my impressions:
1. Content-wise the course doesn’t add much knowledge. If anything, it might add 1-2% to what you have learnt from the textbook. Effectively, you cannot take this exam without thoroughly studying the textbook and when you have done so, you don’t need this course.
2. Since I didn’t see it int textbook, I was hoping to get a good review of musculoskeletal anatomy at least with this course, but again it wasn’t there. I still believe that it is such an essential segment of information that it’s inacceptable not to have it in either the course like that or the main textbook on strength and conditioning.
3. My understanding is the course is designed to guide you through the textbook, but all it does is telling you to read chapters XYZ and then take the corresponding unit of the course. At this point they don’t have much to add, but they might highlight certain important concepts (select few) and give them some practical prospective.
4. I hope that the course, being an official NSCA resource, helps us to focus on the most likely to be tested material and to prepare us for the exam in by reviewing the most crucial pieces of information (at least I thought of it that way).
5. The course is problem-based meaning that they give you lots of practical scenarios and ask you to work with them. While this might be important, my impression was that the problems and tasks were rather basic to begin with and their format was quite different from the format of the exam – the exam is a multiple-choice test while the majority of the course tasks and quizzes were based on matching items in two lists. For example, they would give you 5 definitions and 5 terms and would ask you to match them or they would label various parts of a diagram and your task will be to name them.
6. Speaking of definitions – lots of them were questionable to say the least and I was quite annoyed a lot of times as they would force me to give odd answers in order to pass the quizzes. A good example would be the definition of speed: ‘The time that it takes to go from a starting point to an end pint”. It’s plain wrong!
7. The design of the course is way outdated. Not that the test was a technological breakthrough, but this one looked like it predated Web 2.0. I would expect much less archaic design in 2019.
8. The interface was also quite slow and glitchy at times and it did interfere with my prep on couple of occasions when it was just hard to go through the units of the course without dealing with technical issues.
9. The end of course test was decent. It had the general exam format (multiple-choice questions) and though it was much shorter and didn’t have certain type of questions (like video questions) it managed to predict my score pretty well – I scored 87% on this test and 86% on the real exam.
10. Extras: The course comes with several perks and might include the Essentials textbook or not. If you get it, you will get it with a good discount, so this part is totally worth it. It also comes with several extras such as the exercise technique manual, which is pretty much a duplicate of the corresponding part of the textbook. The good thing is that it has a video guide for many exercises and exercise technique errors, which I found quite helpful. Finally, the course will give you some continued education credits, which counts towards your annual certification with NSCA.
So, overall, my impression is that while this course has some useful perks, it is not really worth your time and money. Content-wise it won’t add much, and the extra materials can only add that much. The only two components that were worthwhile were the end-of-course test and the exercise videos. Though I don’t regret paying for the course and taking it, I honestly can’t recommend it. I would suggest taking a live clinic for the same amount of money – it would be much more comprehensive.
That was all I had to say about the course. I will talk about the CSCS exam itself course in one of my next blogs, so stay tuned – subscribe to my newsletter, to my YouTube channel, ask questions and make comments. All kinds of interactions and constructive criticism are always welcome!