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DANTES DSST Exams: Everything You Need About the DSST Test


There are several ways you can take a test instead of completing a class for college credit. One way is taking the DSST exam.

There are a few reasons why this is a good idea. For one thing, you will be saving yourself time by testing on a topic you already know about.

They can also be a money saver as you will not have to pay for the whole class. They can help you get into programs or help you finish up your degree without having to take more classes.

Here is what you need to know about the DSST Exam:

What is the DSST Exam?

DSST stands for DANTES Subject Standardized Tests, and as of 2006, they are available to anyone who is seeking college credit outside of the traditional classroom, although in the past they were only available for military and their families. The exams will allow you to further your educational goals while serving in the military, even if you are deployed.

The exams are created by the company, Prometric, who is the trusted provider of market-leading test development and delivery solutions. They are accepted for credit by more than 1900 colleges and universities nationwide.

The ACE (American Council on Education) has evaluated and recommended the college credit for all DSST exams.

How Much Do They Cost?

The cost of the DSST exam is $85 but, veterans that are eligible for the Post 9/11-GI Bill can be reimbursed for their DSST exams.

The DSST credit-by-exam program is an approved VA National Testing program. The VA will reimburse the DSST exam fee as well as the testing center administrative fee. The amount of that fee varies. You will need to submit a receipt or proof of payment to be reimbursed for the exam.

You will need to apply for the Post 9/11-GI Bill benefits and then complete a VA Form 22-0810 which is the Application for Reimbursement of National Exam Fee.

What Type of Exams Can You Take?

There are six categories of exams you can take with DSST. They are in:

  • Business
  • Humanities
  • Math
  • Physical Science
  • Social Sciences
  • Technology

What Does The Testing Look Like?

Testing takes place at colleges and universities nationwide. You can also take the exams at your local base education office or nearby locations funded by DANTES. You can check for locations here. If you are looking for a specific duty station, make sure to enter that into the search for exact locations.

Each of the locations determines the frequency and the scheduling of the exams. They will also provide accommodations for those with disabilities. They do need to be reasonable, approved as well as scheduled ahead of time. Accommodations can also vary based on their location.

On the day of the exam, make sure to arrive at least 30 minutes early. Make sure you bring your government ID and if you are military, your CAC (Common Access Card.) Exams are internet or paper based and need to be completed at the testing center. You can’t just log in from your home to take the exam on the internet. The exams are in multiple-choice format.

As you prepare for the exams, you can get practice exams. Peterson’s, a Nelnet Company will supply test preparation tools for DSST exams free of charge for military members. You can also find study guides, but if you want to go with the ones that are endorsed by Prometric, you will want to look for the DSST and Prometric logo on them.

What If I Need To Retake An Exam?

If you need to retake the exam, you can do so after 30 days. Typically DANTES will not pay for repeat test taking, and the cost would fall to you.  However, right now they’re offering a special promotion through Sep 30th.  You can for a limited time retake the DSST exam for free.

How Do I Sign Up?

You will need to register at the testing center on the day that you take the exam. You can then have the scores sent to your college or university or request them yourself.

How Is The DSST Exam Different Than The CLEP Exam?

In addition to the DSST exam being offered by Prometric and the CLEP being offered by the College Board, the main difference between the two exams is the content. While CLEP is mostly for lower level credit, DSST is for both upper and lower level credit. DSST exams also tend to be a bit more specific with regards to the subject levels.

If you are looking for ways to earn more college credit, take a look at the DSST exams to see if any of them would be worth taking. Make sure you are prepared for the test and register correctly.

Taking DSST exams will help save you time and money and help you work towards your educational goals.