DSST Tests (Dantes Subject Standardized Tests)
Originally designed for military personnel, DSST tests are now available to the general public. Like CLEP tests, the 38 DSST tests evaluate a student’s understanding of college level work. Passing a DSST test can earn you college credit AND high school credit at the same time.
If you’re a student interested in DSST tests, follow these easy steps:
Step 1: Check with your college of choice. Each college sets its own DSST policy which means it decides which tests it will accept. Since it varies from school to school, please take the time to research the colleges of your choice.
Step 2: Look over the the 38 DSST tests and decided which tests you want to take – keeping in mind Step #1.
Step 3: Study on your own by first downloading the Test Taker Info Bulletin to find their recommended study materials based on the tests you choose to take.
- Amazon.com – DSST Official Study Guides
- Test Taker Info Bulletin – download for content outline and sample questions (with answers)
- Free Clep Prep – (includes DSST tests)
- Petersons.com – $20 per test
- InstantCert.com – online DSST flashcard website – $20/mth (has good Specific Feedback Forum to chat with others)
Step 5: Register at Prometric Online Testing (you may have registered here previously to take a “DSST practice exam” but you’ll still need to register again, this time choosing “DSST” from the menu.)
- Provide the 4-digit code for the college you want your official scores sent to. (If you skip this there will be a fee to do this later on.) You can find the code by locating your institution on the DSST website. The code is on the left corner of the institution’s name.
After this, you can login here anytime you want to access your information.
Step 6: Find a test site and contact them to schedule a time to take your test.
- Once you’ve registered for a test, contact the test center you chose to schedule a day and time to take the test. (Days and times may be subject to college policy.)
Step 6: Take the test when scheduled. DSST tests can only be administered by a certified proctor. They’re available via computer testing though there are testing sites that still have a paper and pencil test.
You have a 2 hour time limit about 90 minutes to answer the multiple choice questions. You receive points for each correct answer. Points are not lost for wrong answers – instead that answer is not given any points.
You will need:
- No. 2 pencils (if taking paper test)
- a black pen (if writing an essay)
- a valid photo ID (more info below)
- calculators are only allowed for specific tests. Refer to the Test Taker Info Bulletin for more information.
Internet-based tests must be paid for with a credit card (V, MC, AMEX), but paper tests can be paid with credit card, check, or money order.
Step 7: Wait for Your Scores
Your internet-based test scores are reported instantly (unless it’s an essay). You can also view them at Prometric by entering the username and password you created when the test was taken.
Paper and pen tests are rarely used, but if they are then the scores are sent to the testing institute within 3-4 weeks after testing.
- Wait at least 90 days before retaking a test or your test will be invalid.
The ‘norm-referenced’ method says a passing score is between 44 and 49, but the ‘criterion-referenced’ method which will gradually replace the ‘norm-referenced’ says a passing score is 400.
Most institutions grant 3 credits per exam, but that can vary per institution policy.
Step 8: Send Scores to Colleges
Once you get your scores, you’re able to send one score report free of charge to the college you designated when you registered. You can also leave that part blank if you’re undecided when you register but there will be a fee to send them to a school later.
You can request additional copies of your transcript by filling out a DSST Transcript Order Form ($30 fee per transcript). All scores are included on the transcript and kept for 20 years.
DSST Contact Info
Toll Free: 1-877-471-9860 (7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., CST, Monday-Friday)
Homeschooling in High School Series:
Part 1: Grading & Planning
Part 2: Explaining High School Credits
Part 3: Defining Fine Arts, Electives & Extra Curricular Activities
Part 4: How to Prepare A High School Transcript
Part 5: High School Testing
Part 6: Earn Credits with CLEP
Part 7: Earn Credits with DSST/DANTES
Part 8: Earn Credits with Advanced Placement (AP)
Part 9: Earn Credits with PSEO + HSLDA Transcript Service Giveaway! (coming soon!)