Good transferability

The DSST exam (formerly called DANTES, and still referred to as such by some colleges) used to be only available to our military; however, they are open to the public and your children. A DSST exam is essentially just like a CLEP exam. Your teen will take a homeschool course of your choosing, and then when ready, you can register for the exam. Also, like CLEP, DSST exams are taken at a testing facility in your town. Since DSST is a lesser-known brand, it’s possible that a simple web search of your college’s website may not provide you with lists as you’ll find for CLEP or AP. Rest assured that if your college accepts CLEP and AP, they probably accept DSST/DANTES as well. Be prepared to ask the registrar.

At the time of this writing, DSST exams cost about the same as CLEP and are each worth 3 potential college credits. Unlike CLEP or AP, the DSST website http://www.getcollegecredit.com provides coupon codes from time to time. Also like CLEP and AP, you may have an additional cost to your testing center for their “proctoring fee” which usually ranges from $0 – $25.

Exam cost:  $85

There are some exams offered through DSST that are not offered through CLEP or AP (e.g., The Civil War and Reconstruction). One point in DSST’s favor is that some of their exams have been determined to award “upper level” credit. Where CLEP and AP only award 100 and 200 level (freshman, sophomore) credit, some select DSST exams can earn 300 level (junior) credits. While this may not matter at the community college (100/200) level, this is a huge cost savings at the bachelor’s degree level. In all practical terms, you won’t notice much difference between a DSST or CLEP test. The popular opinion argues that since the DSST questions only offer 4 possible answers (compared to CLEP’s 5 answer choices), your odds of guessing are better with DSST. My personal opinion is that the aesthetics of DSST exams are more attractive and easier to read due to a nice use of fonts and whitespace.

DSST exams have been pulled, revised, and replaced with “refreshed” exams recently. During this process, they’ve completely removed many of the exams that were quite popular with no projected return date. As exams are refreshed, you might expect their official exam study guides to be updated, and their official practice tests to be refreshed as well. The feedback I receive on Facebook about refreshed exams has consistently pointed to slow or non-updated study guides. In other words, the document you’ll look at to find out what’s on the exam doesn’t match well with the new refreshed exam. The result has been an unusually high number of poor scores. That said, I expect these wrinkles have worked themselves out. For this reason, websites with DSST information compiled before 2016 should be considered “old.”

DSST exams that were discontinued December 31, 2013
note:  DSST has not indicated if these exams will return, however, if you took one of these exams before it was removed, most colleges will award credit for a passing score.

  • Business Law II
  • Introduction to the Modern Middle East
  • Physical Geology
  • Principles of Financial Accounting
  • Western Europe Since 1945

DSST Upper-Level Exams

This list was once long, however, currently only 2 exams are worth upper level credit.   Generally, a college’s credit award will match the value that was assigned on the day you took the exam, so if you took an exam back when it WAS upper-level, you can sometimes still get upper level credit.

  • Fundamentals of Cybersecurity, 3 upper-level credits
  • Money and Banking, 3 upper-level credits

Exam List & ACE Credit Award for a Passing Score
Art of the Western World, 3 credits
Astronomy, 3 credits
Business Ethics and Society, 3 credits
Business Mathematics, 3 credits
Computing Information & Technology, 3 credits
Criminal Justice, 3 credits
Environmental Science, 3 credits
Ethics in America, 3 credits
Foundations of Education, 3 credits
Fundamentals of College Algebra, 3 credits
Fundamentals of Counseling, 3 credits
General Anthropology, 3 credits
Health and Human Development, 3 credits
Human Resource Management, 3 credits
Human/Cultural Geography, 3 credits
Introduction to Business, 3 credits
Introduction to World Religions, 3 credits
Lifespan Developmental Psychology, 3 credits
Management Information Systems, 3 credits
Math for Liberal Arts, 3 credits
Principles of Advanced English Comp., 3 credits
Organizational Behavior, 3 credits
Personal Finance, 3 credits
Principles of Physical Science I, 3 credits
Principles of Public Speaking, 3 credits
Principles of Statistics, 3 credits
Principles of Supervision, 3 credits
Technical Writing, 3 credits
A History of the Vietnam War, 3 credits
Fundamentals of Cybersecurity, 3 upper-level credits
History of the Soviet Union, 3 credits
Introduction to Law Enforcement, 3 credits
Money and Banking, 3 upper-level credits
Substance Abuse, 3 credits
The Civil War and Reconstruction, 3 credits

DSST Table % Correct Needed To Pass
Source: http://getcollegecredit.com/assets/pdf/DSST_Exam_Scoring.pdf  (Note: CLEP does not publish a list like this one)

A History of the Vietnam War, 56–63%
Art of the Western World, 71–76%
Astronomy, 63–69%
Business Ethics and Society, 51–54%
Business Mathematics, 68–72%
Criminal Justice, 61–66%
Environment and Humanity, 52–56%
Ethics in America, 46–50%
Foundations of Education, 57–61%
Fundamentals of College Algebra, 38–47%
Fundamentals of Counseling, 63–67%
Fundamentals of Cybersecurity, 63–68%
Here’s to Your Health, 59–63%
Human Cultural Geography, 69–73%
Human Resources Management, 69–73%
Introduction to Business, 40–45%
Introduction to Computing, 59–63%
Introduction to Law Enforcement, 65–69%
Introduction to World Religions, 46–50%
Lifespan Developmental Psychology, 71–75%
Management Information Systems, 58–62%
Organizational Behavior, 68–72%
Personal Finance, 57–62%
Principles of Finance, 52–55%
Principles of Physical Science, 66–72%
Principles of Public Speaking, 65–71%
Principles of Statistics, 42–46%
Principles of Supervision, 36–41%
Substance Abuse (Drug/Alcohol Abuse), 53–57%
Technical Writing, 63–67%
The Civil War and Reconstruction, 62–68%

DSST Study Guide for HS4CC Readers!

This is a 766-page pdf download and my gift to you!


Peterson’s Master the DSST Exams Volume 2 is the ONLY prep guide endorsed by Prometric, the DSST program provider.
This comprehensive guide includes:
  • 12 full-length DSST tests, each offering a pre-test, subject review, and post-test with detailed answer explanations.
  • Diagnostic and post-tests with detailed answer explanations for each subject
  • Reviews of each subject, with the information needed to score high
Download here (no registration required) –> MasteringDSSTExams

This content is reprinted from Chapter 2 of Homeschooling for College Credit 2nd Edition.