top of page

DSST (DANTES) Frequently Asked Questions

What does DSST stand for?

DSST stands for DANTES Subject Standardized Tests. DSST refers to a series of exams administered by Prometric on behalf of DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support).

What are DSST exams, and how do they work?

DSST exams, also known as DANTES Subject Standardized Tests, are a series of nationally recognized exams that allow students to earn college credit for knowledge they have acquired outside the traditional classroom. These exams assess knowledge in business, humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences.

What are the benefits of taking DSST exams?

DSST exams are a prior learning assessment (PLA) that recognizes and validates your knowledge. DSST exams offer flexibility in scheduling and location. By earning college credit through DSST exams, you can save significant money on tuition costs and accelerate your degree completion.

Who is eligible to take DANTES exams? Can civilians take them too?

Civilians, high school, and college students can take DANTES exams to supplement their education and accelerate their degree programs. While DANTES tests were initially established to serve military personnel, the exams are open to military and civilian individuals.

What is the process for taking a DSST exam?

Select the DSST tests you would like to take. Find a testing center near you or take it remotely. Register for your exam in person on the day of the exam. After the exam, you will receive your score on the computer screen. Score reports will be sent to the institution designated on test day.

How much does a DSST exam cost, and what are the payment options?

Each attempt costs $100 on average, payable by credit or debit card.  Other charges, including a proctor fee, may also apply. Active duty military members can take their first exam for free.  It's recommended to check with the specific testing center for a complete breakdown of all applicable fees.

Can DSST exams be taken online, or do they require an in-person visit?

DSST exams can be taken online through Prometric’s remote proctoring service, or they can be taken in person at authorized test centers.

Will my DSST exam score affect my GPA?

DSST exam scores do not affect a student's GPA.  These exams are designed to grant college credit based on demonstrated knowledge. Instead of impacting your GPA, successfully completing a DSST exam results in awarding credit hours that can be applied to the student's degree program.

Are DSST exams multiple choice, or do they include other question formats?

While multiple-choice questions are the predominant format in DSST exams, some questions may include scenarios followed by related questions or questions that require you to analyze graphs or diagrams. The DSST Principles of Public Speaking exam has a speech section that’s evaluated separately.

Which DSST exams are considered the easiest?

The perceived difficulty of DSST exams can vary depending on individual strengths, interests, and prior knowledge in specific subjects. What may be considered easy for one person may be challenging for another, so choosing DSST exams based on personal interests and strengths is advisable.

How long should I study for a DSST exam?

The amount of time you should dedicate to studying for a DSST exam can vary depending on your prior knowledge of the subject, your learning style, and the difficulty level of the exam. As a general guideline, 10 hours of focused studying for a DSST test is recommended.

How long does it typically take to receive DSST exam scores?

DSST exam scores are generally sent to the records department for processing 2-3 weeks after the test date, and schools or institutions should receive the score report within 90 days of the test date.

How many questions are included in a Dantes exam?

DSST exams consist of roughly 100 questions, and test takers are given two hours to complete them. There are 38 tests available covering more than 30 college subject areas.

How many questions must you correctly answer to pass a DSST exam?

You must correctly answer roughly 58%- 62% of questions to earn the minimum passing score of 400. A score of 400 or higher is considered passing for most DSST tests. 400 generally equates to a C grade in a corresponding college course.

What is considered a passing score for DSST exams?

Generally, a passing score is set at 400 on a scale ranging from 200 to 500. Each college or university may have its own minimum passing score requirements. Students should consult their institution's guidelines or academic advisor to determine the specific score needed for their credits.

What is the scoring system used for DSST exams?

DSST exams are scored using one of two methods: Norm-Referenced or Criterion-Referenced. The passing score for a DSST is 400, and the highest possible score is 500. DSST exams are typically scored on a range with specific scores designated for passing (or a C-grade equivalent) and a B-grade equivalent.

How are DSST exams graded, and what is the grading scale?

DSST exams are typically graded using a scaled scoring system. Each is assigned a specific point value. The raw scores are converted into scaled scores. The grading scale for DSST exams ranges from 200 to 500. A score of 400 is considered a passing score.

What should I bring with me when taking a DSST exam?

When taking a DSST exam, you should bring a government-issued photo ID and a credit card for payment. You cannot bring study materials, paper, electronics, food, or weapons. You are also responsible for knowing the 4-digit test score recipient code for the institution where you want your scores sent.

Do colleges and universities, such as Colorado State University and Penn State, accept DSST exam credits?

Yes,  Penn State and Colorado State University accept DSST exam credits. Many first-year students can transfer credit to Penn State due to their performance on an examination. Similarly, CSU Global accepts DSST exam credits. 

How can I pay for my DSST exam, and are there any fee waivers available?

When paying for your DSST exam, you can typically do so through Prometric's website or your chosen testing center. Eligible military candidates taking a DSST exam can have their exam fee waived for the first attempt per subject, funded by DANTES.

What is the highest achievable score on a DSST exam?

The highest achievable score on a DSST exam is 500. This score represents a perfect performance on the exam, indicating a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter covered. DSST exams are scored on a scale from 200 to 500, with a typical minimum passing score of 400.

What topics are covered in the DSST Money and Banking exam?

  1. Money and Financial Systems

  2. Banking Institutions and Operations

  3. Monetary Theory and Policy

  4. Financial Markets and Instruments

  5. International Finance

  6. Financial Regulation and Supervision

It's important to note that the DSST Money and Banking exam may cover additional subtopics within these broader areas.

What happens if I fail a DSST exam? Can I retake it?

If you fail a DSST exam, you can retake it. The waiting period is 30 days. It's important to note that if you retake a DSST exam, the score from your most recent attempt will be reported. If you perform better on your retake, that score will replace your previous score.

Which subjects had the highest DSST pass rates in 2022, ranking in the top 10?

94% Technical Writing

92% Business Ethics and Society

81% Introduction to Business

78% Management Information Systems

77% Introduction to Law Enforcement

76% Environmental Science

74% Health and Human Development

72% Computing and Information Technology

71% Personal Finance 

69% Criminal Justice

Is there a penalty for answering DSST questions incorrectly?

No, there is no penalty for answering DSST questions incorrectly. You are encouraged to answer all questions, regardless of accuracy.

Is DSST affiliated with Denver Public Schools or a part of its educational system?

DSST is not affiliated with Denver Public Schools or a part of its educational system. DSST is a program developed by Prometric on behalf of DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support). DSST exams are standardized tests that assess college-level knowledge in 

various subject areas.

Can I retake a DSST exam if I need to improve my score?

Yes, you can retake a DSST exam to improve your score. There is typically a 30-day waiting period between exam attempts.

After completing the DSST exam, how long does it take to receive the scores?

After completing a DSST exam, receiving your scores takes around 2-3 weeks. However, it's important to note that the exact time frame may vary depending on various factors, including the volume of exams being processed, administrative procedures, and the specific institution or testing center where you took the exam.

What is the duration of a DSST exam? How much time will I have to complete it?

DSST exams have a time limit of 120 minutes, equivalent to 2 hours. It's essential to manage your time effectively to have enough time to read and comprehend the questions, review your answers, and complete the exam within the given timeframe.

How do I send my DSST scores to colleges and universities?

Provide the institution's 4-digit DSST code during your examination for mailing official scores to your chosen institution. Confirm with your school after 4-6 weeks to ensure they have received your scores. If you still need to receive your scores, contact

What is the cost of sending DSST scores to colleges and universities?

If you did not provide a code during testing, DSST might charge a $30 fee to send your scores. Some schools require enrollment before accepting the score report. Make sure to check the institution's specific policy.

What is the difference between CLEP and DSST exams?

DSST tests have roughly 100 questions, while CLEP has 100-150 exam questions. Costs vary, ranging between $85 - $100.  CLEP offers five answer options, while DSST only has four. CLEP gives you 90 minutes, while DSST grants 120 minutes. Some CLEP exams require essays, while DSST exams don’t.

Are DSST exams easier compared to CLEP exams?

DSST exams are typically easier than CLEP exams. Most DSST tests are 3-unit lower-division exams, which are more manageable than upper-division exams or exams that award more units. DSST students have 120 minutes to complete their test and four possible answers. CLEP only allows 90 minutes and has five possible answers.

What's the best study method for DSST exams?

Consistency and regular practice are essential when preparing for DSST exams. Customize your study methods to align with your learning style, stay motivated, and maintain a balanced approach to avoid burnout.

What is a passing score for Dantes? 

To pass Dantes, also known as DSST tests, you need a score of 400 or higher. DSST tests are graded on a pass-or-fail basis, ranging from a minimum of 200 to a maximum of 500. The passing criterion is to achieve a score of 400, equivalent to a 'C' grade. It's important to note that DSST test scores do not affect students' GPAs. If a student wishes to retake a DSST test, they must wait 30 days; an exam fee is required for each attempt.

Is DSST and Dantes the same?

Yes, DSST and Dantes refer to the same exam. However, the acronyms are different. DANTES stands for Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support, while DSST exams are DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST exams). Students can earn college credit with DSST/DANTES exams without the coursework and tuition required for traditional classes.

Can I cancel my DSST Test Prep student subscription at any time? Yes, you can!

There are no pesky contracts and no commitments. You can easily cancel your account online in two clicks. There are no cancellation fees – start or stop your account anytime. We provide two subscription options: class-by-class or an all-access pass on a monthly basis.  You can cancel anytime and access your study materials until your renewal date. For more details, view our blog: How To Cancel Your DSST TEST PREP Student Subscription

What does DSST mean?

DANTES Subject Standardized Tests.

How much does the DSST exam cost?

DSST exams cost $100.00 per attempt. Military members can take their first attempt for free.

bottom of page