What is DSST Exam?

DSST Exam Practice 2023
DANTES Subject Standardized Tests

What is a DSST Test?

The DSST is an extensive series of examinations developed by the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) program of the United States Department of Defense. DSST exams allow candidates to earn college credit and are traditionally offered to military personnel but are now open to civilians as well. 

These tests are often used in tandem with CLEP (College Level Examination Program) exams by students seeking college degrees in non-traditional formats. While CLEP tests are almost primarily used for lower-level credit at regionally accredited institutions, DSST tests are applicable for both upper and lower-level credit.

Take the DSST Practice Exam Online!

DSST Content

DSST tests are perceived to be a preliminary learning assessment in which you can test your knowledge of a particular subject without actually taking the actual college-level course. This alternative method can save you both money and time, significantly reducing the timeline and the expense of obtaining a college degree. There are currently more than 30 DSST tests, all of which are listed below.

DSST Exam List
Subject AreasCourses
  • Business Ethics and Society
  • Business Mathematics
  • Human Resource Management
  • Introduction to Business
  • Management Information Systems
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Money and Banking
  • Personal Finance
  • Principles of Finance
  • Principles of Supervision
  • Ethics in America
  • Introduction to World Religions
  • Principles of Public Speaking
  • Principles of Advanced English Composition
  • Fundamentals of College Algebra
  • Principles of Statistics
  • Math for Liberal Arts
Physical Science
  • Astronomy
  • Environmental Science (formerly Environment and Humanity: The Race to Save the Planet)
  • Health and Development (formerly Here’s to Your Health)
  • Principles of Physical Science I
  • Introduction to Geology
Social Sciences
  • A History of the Vietnam War
  • Art of the Western World
  • Criminal Justice
  • Foundations of Education
  • Fundamentals of Counseling
  • General Anthropology
  • Introduction to Geography (formerly Human/Cultural Geography)
  • Introduction to Law Enforcement
  • Lifespan Developmental Psychology
  • History of the Soviet Union (formerly Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union)
  • Substance Abuse
  • The Civil War and Reconstruction
  • Fundamentals of Cybersecurity
  • Technical Writing
  • Ethics in Technology

If you are a military, you may take a limited test list at a Prometric testing center that includes:

  • Principles of Supervision
  • Computing and Information Technology
  • Ethics in America, Health & Human Development
  • Introduction to Business
  • Introduction to World Religions
  • Substance Abuse


How much do DSST exams cost?

The DSST credit by exam program is used to earn a form of college credit. Each DSST exam costs around $85, not including any expenses for the testing center. 

In certain cases, additional charges may be charged at the testing site where an individual is going to take the DSST exam. Individuals must check with their desired testing site to see if they will be faced with additional costs for the test.


DSST Test Format

DSST examinations are available in both paper-based and computer-based formats. Each examination requires about two hours to finish. The bulk of tests consist of 100 multiple-choice questions. Each examination costs roughly $85, not including other expenses for the testing center. Active-duty military personnel and veterans may have DSST test fees financed or compensated as part of their military benefits.

Participants can use their DSST scores to obtain credits at about 2,000 colleges and universities. Participants can choose from about 30 exams in the academic fields of technology, social sciences, physical science, mathematics, humanities, and business.


DSST Exam Locations

There are two types of locations that give DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST), fully funded and non-funded. DANTES can pay any fees at areas that are fully funded, such as military bases or college campuses. On schools that do not accept payment or reimbursement from DANTES, non-funded locations are set up.

The DSST website can help you identify both sponsored and non-funded locations in your area. You can limit your search to centers that have received full funding. You can also use the search engine to limit your results to institutions that accept DSST tests as credit. If you do want to get credit for the exam, double-check that the institution you wish to attend gives credit for the exact exam you’ll be taking.

DSST Scoring System

DSST tests are scored using one of two methods of scoring: Norm-Referenced or Criterion-Referenced Standard Setting. The use of scoring methodology depends on the title of the exam and the date that the exam was taken. One method isn’t better than that of the other — they’re just different ways to get to the same place.

  • Norm-Referenced Standard Setting

Traditionally, the DSST exams were scored using the “norm-referenced” method to determine the pass/fail mark for each test. Using this approach, the cut-off score is calculated on the basis of the assessments of the groups of test participants; it sets out the proportions of each group that should pass or fail. The results of the DSST norm-referenced score vary between 20 and 80, with passing score settings ranging between 44 and 49 (C-grade), depending on the exam title.

  • Criterion-Referenced Standard Setting

The scoring method used for all updated and new DSST tests is called “criterion-referenced.” This approach sets scores based on decisions on individual test items or the test as a whole. This helps determine how many of the test items have to be answered correctly in order to pass the test. Criterion-referenced DSST scores are based on the test-takers’ knowledge, not how they performed against each other in the same pool. Criterion-referenced scores vary from 200 to 500, with a passing score set at 400 for all tests.


DSST Score Grade Conversion

DANTES DSST testsScoring RangeC-Grade Equivalent (passing) ScoreB-Grade Equivalent Score
Norm-Referenced20-8044-49 (score range)48-54 (score range)

DSST Pass Rates for Military

SubjectsDSST Exam Pass Rates
Principles of Supervision87%
Introduction to Business81%
Technical Writing81%
Computing and Information Technology78%
Fundamentals of Cybersecurity76%
Health and Development75%
Personal Finance75%
Criminal Justice72%
Management Information Systems66%
Principles of Public Speaking65%
Foundations of Education64%
Introduction to Law Enforcement63%
General Anthropology63%
Introduction to World Religions61%
A History of the Vietnam War61%
Substance Abuse60%
Human Resource Management58%
Business Mathematics55%
Money and Banking54%
Ethics in America, Health & Human Development54%
Business Ethics and Society54%
History of the Soviet Union52%
Environmental Science51%
Lifespan Developmental Psychology48%
The Civil War and Reconstruction44%
Principles of Advanced English Composition43%
Organizational Behavior39%
Introduction to Geography (formerly Human/Cultural Geography)37%
Principles of Physical Science I35%
Principles of Statistics27%
Principles of Finance25%
Fundamentals of Counseling24%
Art of the Western World19%
Fundamentals of College Algebra10%
Math for Liberal Arts5%

DSST Retake Policy

Individuals who have to re-take a DSST examination may do so after a full 30 days after the previous DSST examination. Individuals must ensure that they complete the waiting period in order to have their scores counted for credit. Those who need to take the exam again will be required to pay for the re-test. The test cost of $85 per test is standard. Many test sites impose additional testing charges (usually about $25), but these are exempted for military test-takers who sit for a test at a testing center that is fully funded. Test centers, like Prometric sites, generally accept payment through credit cards or debit cards.


Score Reports and Transcripts

DSST Score Report

Score reports will be sent to the school/institution that you selected on the exam day. The school/institution should receive your score report within 90 days after the date of the exam. Delayed scores may be the consequence of incorrect institution code. If your score report has been delayed, call or email your school directly.

When to notify the DSST Test Team:

  • You did not provide a school code when you registered for your test.
  • You want a copy of your score report for personal records.
  • You want the scores of an exam you had previously passed submitted to another school/institution.

You can contact the DSST Exam Team via email at ge[email protected] or through phone at 1.877.471.9860.

DSST Transcript

When to order a transcript:

  • Your school/institution requested an official sealed transcript of your DSST tests.
  • You like a copy of your transcript for personal records.

How to use the parchment online ordering service: 

  1. Create an account or log in to an existing account.
  2. Select the documents.
  3. Enter your order details.
  4. Submit/pay for your transcript.
  5. Keep track of your order.

Note: Transcripts may not be available for order until 3-5 business days after the date of the test. For more information about the DSST standardized test, you may visit the DSST official website at www.getcollegecredit.com.


DSST Study Guides

This easy DANTES study guides will assist you in DSST test prep.

  • Find out whether your institution gives DSST exam credit
  • Determine which exam you want to take
  • Look for DSST prep study materials
  • Take free DSST practice test or any DANTES practice tests
  • Make a study schedule that works for you
  • Begin studying
  • Relax and take your exam


DSST Study Guide PDF

DSST tests are wonderful cost-effective solutions for speeding up the college degree process. The goal of the study guide is to get you acquainted with the terms you’ll be learning in class. You can prepare for your DSST exam using various online and offline resources. Some of the study materials are principles of supervision DSST PDF, DSST PDF, and human resource management DSST study guide PDF. You can also take online practice exams, such as DSST exam 1 and DSST exam 2. Taking our exam is an excellent choice because the practice exam contains questions that are extremely close to the material you will be examined on.


DSST Questions and Answers

DSST stands for DANTES Subject Standardized Tests.

By going to https://tcnet.prometric.com/dsst and clicking on first-time registration, you may create your username and password. On the day of your test, please bring your username and password with you.

Taking DSST exams costs $85. You’ll also have to pay an administrative fee to your testing center, which varies by location but is often between $20 and $30.

Yes. While DSST examinations were once only available to military members seeking a degree, they are now available to anyone seeking college credit.

Registration for DSST proctoring is accessible online at www.education.edu/testing. You will notice a button labelled SCHEDULE AN EXAM towards the top of the page, which you should click. A list of exam registration processes will appear. Select the appropriate option for Choose a group depending on the DSST test you intend to take. Choose which test you wish to take in the Choose an exam section. You must select an exam day and time as well as finish the registration procedure.

The DSST Substance Abuse Exam is extremely difficult, and significant study is required to pass. The 14 topics covered by the DSST Substance Abuse test are linked to the social, physical, and psychological impacts of various types of substance abuse.

DSST exams are open to anyone.

DSST tests are usually graded on a scale, with passing (or a C-grade equivalent) and failing (or a B-grade equivalent) marks. The B-grade equivalent was created to assist individuals applying to schools and institutions that grant credit based on DSST scores higher than a C.

To start, you must decide which test you want to take. Take practice tests to familiarize yourself with exam subject; they assist test takers learn the structure and formatting of a test. Make a study schedule that satisfy you. Before the test, make sure you get enough of rest and eat properly.

The majority of DSST examinations are passed with a score of 400 or better. The minimum and maximum numbers are 200 and 600, respectively. A grade of “C” on an exam would be equivalent to a score of 400.

Exams can be taken in a Prometric Testing Center or through a Remote Proctor.

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