Posted in HS4CC

DSST: The Civil War & Reconstruction

In this post, I’m going to feature the exam “The Civil War & Reconstruction” from DSST. With a passing score, this exam can yield 3 college credits.

This exam was developed to enable schools to award credit to students for knowledge equivalent to that learned by students taking the course. This examination includes the causes of the Civil War, the political situations from 1861- 1865 and Reconstruction.

The exam contains 100 questions to be answered in 2 hours. Some of these are pretest questions that will not be scored.

Insider tip: students must get approximately 68% of the questions correct to pass this exam.

Area or Course Equivalent: The Civil War and Reconstruction
Level: 3 Lower Level Baccalaureate

Amount of Credit: 3 Semester Hours
Minimum Score: 400

The following is an outline of the content areas covered in the examination. The approximate percentage of the examination devoted to each content area is also noted.

I. Causes of the War – 16%

a. United States Society in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

b. Slavery

c. Anti-Slavery and Abolition movement

d. Westward Expansion of Free and Slave Territory

e. John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry

f. Political situation in 1860

II. 1861 – 11%

a. Secession

b. Formation of Confederacy

c. Fort Sumter

d. Lincoln’s Call for Volunteers

e. First Manassas (Bull Run)

f. Union Army versus Confederate Army

g. Lincoln versus Davis leadership

III. 1862 – 17%

a. Southern Strategy

b. War in the East

c. War in the West

d. Major Battles

e. Emancipation Proclamation

IV. 1863 – 19%

a. Casualties

b. Role of Women in the War

c. Black Americans and the War

d. Major Battles

V. 1864 – 15%

a. Political Situation

b. War in the West

c. War in the East

VI. 1865 – 7%

a. Sherman’s Carolina Campaign

b. Fall of Richmond

c. Lee’s Surrender

d. Assassination of Lincoln

e. End of the Confederacy

f. Cost of the War

VII. Reconstruction – 15%

a. Presidential Reconstruction Plans

b. Southern Response

c. Congressional Reconstruction Plans

d. Military Reconstruction

e. End of Reconstruction

Building Good Curriculum for Civil War & Reconstruction

About these resources: The resources below represent a small selection of the possible resources you can choose from. DSST does not endorse any one curriculum as being a perfect match to their exam, so my advice is to layer tried and true resources with those that can help you build a solid homeschooling curriculum. In the curriculum layer, you probably won’t want to complete all the courses, but feel free to pick and choose based on how deeply you want to cover the subject. There are enough resources here to EASILY fill an entire school year / 1 high school credit course.

Layer 1: Official Exam Study information: here

Layer 2: Textbooks / Curriculum

Layer 3: Multimedia/Video

Layer 4: Test Prep Material

Layer 5: Practice Tests

  • DSST free practice test for this exam: here


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit

2 thoughts on “DSST: The Civil War & Reconstruction

  1. Hi Jennifer, Can you tell me what DSST stands for? Thanks! I also looked to see if this was in the Michigan FB group to ask the question there, but it wasn’t posted.



    1. Great question Katie! DSST stands for “DANTES Subject Standardized Tests” and the “DANTES” part refers to military funding. Once upon a time you had to be in the military to take these, and they called them “DANTES” tests, but they did away with that about 20 years ago and changed the name. I’ve taken several DSST exams, and they have nothing to do with military stuff- it’s just a different brand of credit by exam (like CLEP, AP, UExcel, TECEP, and others)
      You can read about how to use it in your homeschool here:

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