What is DSST?

What is DSST?

Think you need to take a college course to earn college credits? These days, more and more colleges recognize that learning doesn’t have to take place inside four walls. For many working adults, years of experience and specific knowledge trumps anything that they would learn in a classroom, and they have the chops to prove it. Working adults are turning to alternative ways to gain college credits and earn their degrees. And one of those ways is through a Credit-by-Exam program called DSST. 

What is DSST?

To understand what DSST exams are, you first have to understand the history of the program. The DSST program started in 1974 as a way to help service members earn their degrees. 

The program was initially designed to ensure that people in the military could earn college credits outside of the classroom. The exams allowed military personnel and their families to further their educational goals even when deployed. The only catch was they had to prove their knowledge of a subject by passing a single test. 

By 2006, the tests were made available to the general public. Now anyone can take them. Today, degree-seekers of all ages take DSST tests to speed up their education and earn their college degrees faster.

Prep for Your DSST Exam with Smarter with Achieve.

Taking a DSST test is a great investment, not only because of the time you save but also because of possible money savings too. 

Here is what you need to know before taking a DSST Exam. 

DSST Overview 

  • DSST (or the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests) is accepted as credit by nearly 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide. 
  • DSST tests are scored on a scale from 200 to 500, with a 400 being a passing score. 
  • Most questions are multiple-choice, and you’re not penalized for wrong answers. 
  • The DSST includes 30 exam subjects. 
  • A passing score will earn you 3-4 college credit hours.

How Much Do DSST Exams Cost?

A DSST exam will cost you around $130 (including test center and administrative fees) but, veterans with Post 9/11-GI Bill benefits may be eligible for reimbursement of their DSST exams. Compared to the equivalent college course, at over $1000 each, you can save a ton of money on the cost of schooling with DSST. 

What Type of Exams Can You Take?

The DSST has 30 subject exams range from topics in Business to Humanities. The six main exam categories include…

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

Where Can I Take A DSST Exam?

When you’re ready to take your exams, you have more than 1,200 testing centers in the U.S. Your college or university may already be a testing center. Find a DSST test center here.

To register for your exam, contact the test center of your choice. Some test centers require that you register in advance, while others allow walk-ins. Be sure you know the policy of your chosen test center. Each testing location sets its own independent testing schedule and testing frequency.

On the day of the exam, make sure to arrive at least 30 minutes early. Bring a form of identification like your government ID and, if you are military, your Common Access Card. DSST exams can be computer-based and taken online or paper-based. Either way, in both instances, you will be completing your exam at a testing center. In addition to multiple-choice questions, you can expect essay questions on some exams. 

Pass Your DSST Exam with Smarter with Achieve.

How are DSST Credits Applied?

Every school will have its own policy on how DSST credits are accepted and applied. Be sure to meet with your school’s advisor to get the answers to the following questions:

  • Are DSST exams accepted?
  • How many credits is each test worth?
  • Are DSST tests appropriate for my selected degree?
  • How many total credits will you accept through DSST?
  • What is the minimum score required for DSST tests?

How to Prepare for DSST Exams?

One of the best ways to prep for your DSST exam is to prep with Smarter with Achieve. 

We offer exam guidance to help you study to pass your DSST exams and CLEP and ECE exams. We’re prepared to help you pass your exams, often on the first try. We offer expert instruction with educators who will help you brush up on your knowledge before test day. Plus, we’ll give you insider information on how your exam is structured and what you can expect on test day. 

We also offer:

  • A library of study materials. When you register with Smarter, you get practice tests and guidelines, so you’ll be confident when facing your exam.
  • Exam-specific questions. Get access to exam-specific questions to help you prep for DSST, CLEP, and ECE exams. 

DSST Retake Policy 

If you don’t pass your DSST test, there is a waiting period of 30 days before you can attempt a retake. If you try to retake a test before that time, any score you receive from your new test will be considered invalid. Luckily, if you prep with Smarter, we offer free refresher courses and 1:1 tutoring if you don’t pass your exam. 

Prepare Your Exam with Smarter with Achieve 

Taking and passing DSST exams are a great way to earn college credits, save money and get your degree faster than traditional methods. 

Want to find out how many credits you can earn with DSST at your specific school? Have our team identify all of the eligible courses, and while they’re at it, tell you how much it will cost to prep for each course using Smarter.

Ready to get started? Know precisely which courses your school will let you test out. Get your Prep Course Plan today. 

How You Can Earn 3 College Credits Every 6 Weeks Thanks to Credit by Exam

How You Can Earn 3 College Credits Every 6 Weeks Thanks to Credit by Exam

Credit by exam is an educational lifehack that’ll help you graduate with less coursework and less debt.

Let’s look at a common scenario.

Imagine yourself as a bright-eyed high school graduate about to enter the halls of your dream college.

You know the benefits of having a college degree:

  • More earnings – college graduates earn up to $30,000 more a year compared to non-college graduates.
  • The qualifications to apply for your dream job.
  • The chance to grow your professional network.

But the journey towards a college degree isn’t easy.

There are bumps in the road you must avoid: debt, not graduating on time, dropping out.

In this blog, we’ll explore the biggest obstacles to graduating. Then, we’ll go into how you can defeat them by earning college credits the smart way.

Let’s get started!

Credit by Exam

Three Enormous Obstacles Standing in Your Way to a College Degree

Are any of these three obstacles an issue for you as you work to earn your degree?

1. The Cost of College

For one year at a private college, you’ll spend up to $18,000. That’s $72,000 for 4 years of college!

Because of the hefty price of going to college, more than 70% of American students end up taking loans and graduating with debt.

2. Working While in College Decreases the Chance of Graduating

To cover tuition, board, books, and other expenses, 8 out of 10 college students take jobs.

The bad news is college students who work have a lower graduation rate than those who don’t. In fact, only 1 in 5 working students graduate.

3. The Time Factor

Four years is a huge investment in time.

But it’s all worth it once you earn your degree, right?

The bad news is, only 41% of students graduate in 4 years. The rest take 6 years to complete their courses or drop out altogether.

The problem is that college students think they can take 4 courses (12 credits) per semester and graduate in 4 years. But doing the math shows this doesn’t work.

Since you need 120 credits to graduate with a Bachelor’s and each course gives you 3 credits, you need to take 5 courses per semester to graduate in 4 years.

If you have a job besides these 5 courses, it’s easy to see how you’ll burn out before completing your degree.

The Secret to Fast-Forwarding Your Graduation: How to Earn 3 Credits in 6 Weeks with Credit-by-Exam

The good news is there’s a smarter way to beat the three roadblocks that stand in your way to graduation. It’s called credit-by-exam.

Let’s look into it.

What is Credit-by-Exam?

Credit-by-exam is a nationally recognized process that allows you to pass one exam and earn the equivalent college course credits.

Here’s how it works:

  • Choose where you’ll take an exam for credits. CLEP, DSST, and UExcel are three great choices.
  • Study for the exams or use previous knowledge and experience to pass them.
  • Gain three credits for every exam you pass.

The Benefits of Credit-by-Exam

When you take credit-by-exam, you’ll be able to:

  • Avoid student loan debt. If you go to a private university, you pay up to $900 for one college course. On the other hand, you can take a CLEP or DSST exam for $85. These huge savings can make you part of the 30% of college students who don’t need a loan to earn a degree.
  • Save time. A whole college course takes a semester to complete. When you take credit-by-exam, you’ll earn three credits in just 2 hours.
  • Increase your chance of employment in the future. Taking credit-by-exam shows you’re innovative. It shows that you think out of the box and find workable solutions to problems. These are excellent traits in the eyes of employers.

How Credit-by-Exam Lets You Earn 3 Credits in 6 Weeks

Some people take credit-by-exam on the spot and pass it.

But this isn’t a good idea for everyone. This is because of the way the exams are structured. You’ll need specific knowledge and enough practice to ace them.

That’s why we recommend that you give yourself 6 weeks to take one exam for 3 credits.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Speak with an advisor to learn if credit-by-exam is the right option for you.
  • Visit the CLEP, DSST, and UExcel websites for a list of exams you can take.
  • Study for the exam of your choice. To gain insider knowledge of the exam’s structure and the type of questions you’ll be answering, it’s a great idea to get credit-by-exam guidance.
  • In as little as 6 weeks, you’ll be ready to take the exam, and earn 3 credits. That’s a lot less coursework than an entire college course!

3 Helpful Tips for Earning 3 Credits in 6 Weeks with Credit-by-Exam

Yes, it can be scary to take an exam for a college course you’ve never taken.

But if you plan carefully and get the right guidance, you’ll be ready to take the exam in just 6 weeks.

Do these three things to increase your chances of passing.

1. Never Cram for the Exam

We get it, your life is jammed with a ton of things to do and places to be.

You have homework to pass for your regular college courses. You have a demanding job to run to after you leave the campus.

Maybe you even have a child to care for.

But no matter how hectic your schedule is, set aside enough time  to study for your exam.

One approach is to give yourself just 15 minutes to study each day. It’s way better than cramming for hours with your exam just days away. Also, you’ll likely study more than 15 minutes once you get into the mood.

2. Block Out Time for Study

When you sit down to study, don’t do anything else.

Turn off your phone. Put distractions far away from you. It’s a good idea to keep a journal beside you. Whenever a distracting thought comes to you, write it down in the notebook “to think about later.”

Designate a quiet spot where you can focus on your studies. If you have kids, make arrangements with your spouse so they don’t run in and disturb you.

Remember, don’t expect that you’ll be able to study for hours straight. Since the average attention span of an adult is 20 minutes, take a break 3 times an hour to stretch, eat a snack, or cuddle your furry friend.

After 5 minutes on break, go back to your study with renewed energy and focus.

3. Take Credit-by-Exam Guidance

You can study your material on your own, or you can go for laser-focused, specific guidance from us at Smarter w Achieve.

With Smarter w Achieve, you’ll get:

  • Instructor guidance. Our instructors are experts at credit-by-exam. This means they’ll teach you how to brush up on your skills and knowledge and give you insider information on how the exams are structured.
  • An entire library of useful materials. When you register with Achieve, you get practice tests and guidelines so you’ll be well-prepared for CLEP, DSST, or UExcel.
  • Access to exam-specific questions. It takes time to find the answers to specific credit-by-exam questions online. The good news is you can get your questions answered quickly by your instructors.
  • 1:1 online tutoring. Achieve offers flexibility. If you’re drowning in the demands of your hectic schedule, studying online with a tutor allows you to set your schedule and learn at your pace.

With Achieve, you’ll be ready to earn those 3 credits in just 6 weeks.

Is Credit-by-Exam Right for You?

Here are three indicators that credit-by-exam is right for you:

  • You’re on a budget and want to graduate college free of student loan debts.
  • You want to graduate in 4 years but don’t have time to take 5 courses per semester.
  • You’re looking for a way to graduate with less time and effort required of you.

If you need help with your graduation goals, the Smarter w Achieve team can help.

Credit by Exam