Posted in AP Advanced Placement, CLEP, Curriculum, Distance Learning, DSST, High School, Self-Paced Learning

The Great Courses

In 2008, I was struggling through a college Anatomy & Physiology course when I turned to youtube for some help.  I stumbled upon a video by Dr. Anthony A. Goodman – it blew me away.  Not only did he help me understand the information, but I dug until I found the rest of his lectures- they were that good.  As it turned out, they were eventually pulled from Youtube for copyright violation (oops) but I found the source: The Great Courses

Here’s the short of it:  The Great Courses are usually (not always) college-level learning taught by well respected and highly regarded professors.  These are not worth college credit when taken alone, rather they are used in your homeschool as a high school curriculum.  You could then marry the program with other test prep material if you desire to finish your teen’s program with AP, CLEP, or other exam credit.

Format:  Individual Great Courses are available on DVD, CD, Audio, or you can stream their whole Plus catalog on demand through their new Great Courses Plus program (monthly subscription).   While I am not a Plus subscriber, the Plus program looks amazing!  It will appeal greatly to those of you who use technology in your classroom or are already comfortable with products like Amazon Prime, Apple TV, mobile device based streaming, for entertainment.  This product fits into that category perfectly.   Plus program subscribers also have the option of purchasing hard copies at a deep discount (70% off).  

This promotional link gives you 1 month free:

The Great Courses Plus – One Month Free

CLEP & AP Friendly?  I asked our membership if they thought the Great Courses alone were “enough” to prepare their teen for an AP exam or CLEP exam, or if it served as the main curriculum and they followed up with CLEP/AP prep.  This is what they had to say:

Jude Barrier Dickson writes…” I don’t think any TGC {The Great Courses} is enough for an AP or CLEP exam. This is NOT to say they are not valuable, and be sure to know we use them extensively, but I find the best practice for exams are flash cards of info, presented as they would be in an AP or CLEP test.”

Wendy G.  writes… “Lots of CLEP and AP here and I also don’t think TGC would alone be enough, we just use them as supplemental.”

Selecting TGC for Your Homeschool

Since no single course stands alone as your curriculum and test prep, this small selection is representative of the types of courses I believe would enhance your homeschooling for college credit program.  I’ve deliberately selected courses from the Plus list since they are all also available for DVD purchase if you choose.  (Not all DVDs are available to stream)

SCIENCE: The Great Courses Plus

AP or CLEP Biology Program:  Biology The Science of Life, The Joy of Science, Understanding Genetics, and What Science Knows About Cancer.

AP or CLEP Psychology Program:  Mysteries of Human Behavior, Biology, and Human Behavior, Understanding the Brain, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

AP or CLEP Chemistry Program:  Chemistry our Universe, Chemistry 2nd Edition, Nature of Matter, and Organic Chemistry.

HISTORY: The Great Courses

AP or CLEP American History Program:  History of the United States 2nd Edition, Experiencing America, World War II, and Decisive Battles of History.

DSST Civil War Program: American Civil War, History of the United States 2nd Edition, and The Life of Abraham Lincoln

ECONOMICS: The Great Courses

AP or CLEP Economics Program:  An Economic History of the World, The Economics of Uncertainty, and New Global Economy.

OTHER: The Great Courses to Consider

DSST Cultural Anthropology Program:  Customs of the World and Cultures of the World.

AP or DSST Environmental Science (Human Cultural Geography): Understanding Cultural and Human Geography, The Science of Energy, and Fundamentals of Sustainable Living.

AP or DSST Statistics and Probability Program:  Big Data How Analytics are Changing the World, Probability Made Clear, Mathematics of Games and Puzzles, and Game Theory.

AP Music Theory Program:  Music and History, Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, Mozart’s Chamber Music, Greatest Orchestral Works, and Great Solo Piano Works.

CLEP Humanities Program:  Understanding Opera, History of European Art, Masterpieces of the Ancient World, How to Look at and Understand Great Art, The World’s Greatest Churches, The Louvre, and Understand Great Music.


If your family has used The Great Courses in your homeschool, let me know your favorites, and I’ll add them to this page!  Contact Jennifer

Posted in ACE, DSST

DSST Expiration / Revision Dates

ACE is the third-party review organization that colleges use to decide if a class or exam is “worth” college credit or not. In other words, DSST exams are worth college credit because they have undergone review by ACE.

When ACE reviews an exam, they always assign a date range for that review. At the ending date, the exam must be reviewed again or removed. If it is reviewed and renewed, a new date range is issued. In general, DSST likes to keep test takers informed, and often posts on their website when an exam is undergoing revision (they sometimes call it being “refreshed”) and a target date for the change.  As such, it’s a little bit easier to track DSST exam revisions than CLEP!

All date ranges and the history of date ranges are available by searching the ACE Database.

These dates are not guarantees that there will be an exam revision or removal, but the expiration dates are established by ACE,  ss such, you should plan your high school accordingly, and proceed as if an exam will be revised or removed on its expiration date to be on the safe side.

A handful of exams were revised 4/1/2016 despite their deadline not being up, so be aware that even with the best planning, you should remain flexible.

NOTE:  upon expiration (12/31/2014) the following exams were DISCONTINUED.  If you’ve already taken one of these, no worries- your score is still valid.  However, DSST testing centers will no longer offer these exams:

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

Currently, 36 DSST exams are evaluated for college credit.

A History of the Vietnam War   11/1/2013 – 12/31/2017

Art of the Western World   11/1/2013 – 12/31/2017

Astronomy  11/1/2013 – 12/31/2017

Business Ethics and Society  1/1/2013 – 4/30/2017 (deadline approaching)

Business Mathematics   1/1/2013 – 4/30/2017 (deadline approaching)

Computing and Information Technology   1/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Criminal Justice  1/1/2013 – 4/30/2017  (deadline approaching)

Environment & Humanity   3/1/2015 – 4/30/2017 (deadline approaching)

Ethics in America  1/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Foundations of Education  11/1/2013 – 12/31/2017

Fundamentals of College Algebra  1/1/2013 – 4/30/2017 (deadline approaching) 

Fundamentals of Counseling   7/1/2013 – 4/30/2017 (deadline approaching)

Fundamentals of Cybersecurity  11/1/2013 – 4/30/2017 (deadline approaching)

General Anthropology 7/19/2016 – 12/31/2018

Health and Human Development (formerly Here’s to Your Health)  4/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

History of the Soviet Union  4/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Human Resource Management  7/1/2013 – 4/30/2017 (deadline approaching)

Human Cultural Geography  11/1/2013 – 12/31/2017

Introduction to Business 4/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Introduction to Law Enforcement 11/1/2013 – 12/31/2017

Introduction to World Religions  4/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Lifespan Developmental Psychology  7/1/2013 – 4/30/2017 (deadline approaching)

Management Information Systems 1/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Math for Liberal Arts  11/1/2016 – 10/31/2019

Money and Banking  1/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Organizational Behavior  7/1/2013 – 4/30/2017 (deadline approaching)

Personal Finance 1/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Principles of Advanced English Composition  11/1/2016 – 10/31/2019

Principles of Finance  4/1/2016 – 4/30/2017 (deadline approaching) 

Principles of Physical Science I  11/1/2013 – 12/31/2017

Principles of Public Speaking   11/1/2013 – 12/31/2017

Principles of Statistics 1/1/2013 – 4/30/2017 (deadline approaching)

Principles of Supervision  4/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Substance Abuse 4/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Technical Writing  3/1/2015 – 4/30/2017 (deadline approaching)

Civil War and Reconstruction 11/1/2013 – 12/31/2017