Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to take a DSST exam, a test that will help you advance your college education without breaking the bank on tuition costs. Now that you’ve taken the leap you’re probably wondering…how do I get started? Do not fear! This quick step-by-step guide will help you prepare in no time!
1. Find out if your school awards credit for DSST exams.
Some schools are more flexible about what types of college credit they will accept, while others are not. Before you spend any time studying, make sure that you contact your institution to find out if they will award you credit for all of your hard work, or if there are any limitations to how many college credits you can apply to your academic record. Use DSST’s institution search tool to find out if your school accepts DSST exams for credit.
2. Determine which exam you would like to take.
DSST currently offers more than 30 exams on a variety of subjects; these topics range from core academic studies such as algebra and world history, to practical vocational skillsets such as money & banking or their newest exam, Fundamentals of Cybersecurity. Use DSST’s test prep course page to research classes for which you could possibly earn college credits. Be sure to speak to your academic advisor to ensure that the credits earned from the exam will be accepted and are equivalent to your institution’s course requirements. Once you have selected the courses you would like to test out of, contact your institution’s test center (or other nearby test center) to set up a test date.
3. Locate study materials for your exam.
There are a variety of online and offline tools that you can use to prepare for your DSST exam. DSST provides online practice exams that you can take – a great option because the practice exams show questions that are very similar to the material you will be tested on. iStudySmart is another resource that provides online preparation courses that can be used to study for the exams at your own pace. You can also use Amazon to look up independently published study books online.
4. Create a study plan that works for you.
This is where things get pretty particular, as your study plan requires you to be introspective. Ask yourself: how do you like to study? Are you someone who stays up late at night? Or are you able to retain more information in the morning? Do you like to study several days a week? Or do you save your work for the weekend? You also need to assess your knowledge on the subject(s) you are studying for - do you know everything there is to know about the topic, or do you need to do a quick brush up and review? Depending on your current knowledge base and your study patterns, your individual study plan may vary. We suggest setting aside enough time to review for a test before you sit for the exam – for most students, this means six to eight weeks, or the same amount of time you would spend in a course. But again, this varies based on your own academic level.
5. Start studying!
During the summer and holidays, it can be really hard to stay focused on studying – especially with constant parties and events to distract you. However, you must remember: the key to succeeding at anything in life is staying disciplined and determined. Instead of wondering what your friends are up to while you are studying, read these tips on how to study while you’re on the go, or how to stay motivated in your studies over the summer. Don’t give up – go for the goal!
6. Relax before test day.
Be sure to rest up and eat well before test day. Whatever you do, do NOT try to cram before your test. Overstimulation of the brain will not only psyche you out emotionally, but it will also reduce your ability to retain all the information you just learned. Use the day before your exam to do something fun and unrelated to testing. Eat a nutritious and healthy breakfast the morning of your exam, and then head to your testing center with confidence!
7. Take your exam.
All of your hard work will come forth on testing day. Be sure to arrive at your testing center on time and with all the necessary materials that you need to check-in, such as a government-issued ID. Listen to your proctor’s instructions and remain calm during your exam so that you can focus and answer as many questions as possible. Speeding through may cause you to miss certain questions that you could successfully have scored higher on.
8. Receive your scores and celebrate!
Once you are done with your DSST exams, a copy of your scores will be sent to your school. You will also receive your scores and be told whether you passed or failed. If you did not pass the first time, do not fret; practice makes perfect. If you did pass, be sure to check with your registrar to ensure that your college credits have been applied to your transcript. And then celebrate your accomplishment!
Still have questions? Visit the DSST FAQ page for more test taker info!
Written by DSST Credit by Exam Program