A Free Study Guide!
Name of Exam: Astronomy DSST
Number of Questions: Around 85 (varies)
Time Limit: 120 Minutes
ACE Recommended Passing Score: 48
Practice Test Available?: Yes - Click here
Quick Prep Sheet Available?: Yes - Click here
Cost: $80 + Sitting Fee (Usually no more than $20) at your testing site. Military can take DSSTs for free with Tuition Assistance. Check with your Educational Officer!
Difficulty 1-5 : 3
(One being the easiest, and five being the hardest)
The Astronomy DSST covers the same information that a student would normally learn in a single semester of a college Astronomy course. The test taker should understand the characteristics of assorted heavenly bodies and the measurements used by Astronomers to gather information. Knowledge of the history of Astronomy as well as an understanding of celestial mechanics such as Relativity will also be tested.
Don't let the subject matter intimidate you. This exam is mostly memorization, and anyone who has an interest in the subject will have an obvious advantage. While it does dive (or fly?) deep on a few questions, most of the exam covers the sort of knowledge you would read in an magazine such as Sky and Telescope.
If that didn't do much to soothe your worries, then rest assured that our Quick Prep Sheet can also take you from zero knowledge to a passing score. We have plenty of free resources below as well, so you're covered no matter how you look at it. Don't sweat it!
Make sure you check out the Official Fact Sheet for this exam.
The Astronomy exam is broken down as follows:
|19%||The Solar System|
|17%||The Sun and Stars: Nature and Evolution|
|09%||History of Astronomy|
|07%||Our Galaxy: Contents and Structure|
|05%||Determining Astronomical Distances|
|03%||Life in the Universe|
Areas of Study
The Solar System
(19% of the Astronomy DSST)
- Our Solar System
- Solar System Formation
- Kuiper Belt
- Oort Cloud
- Meteors and Meteorites
- Moon Phases
The Sun and Stars
(17% of the Astronomy DSST)
(13% of the Astronomy DSST)
- The Earth - Concentrate on the parts that apply to Astronomy, such as the Magnetosphere.
- Seasonal Changes
- The Moon
- The Earth's Moon
- The Phases of the Moon
- Lunar Eclipses
- Astronomy and the Calendar
(12% of the Astronomy DSST)
- History of the Telescope - I'd also be familiar how each kind of telescope works, and what each is used for.
- Light Year
- Red Shift - Know which color shift means an object is getting closer, and which one means it's getting further away.
- Blue Shift
- Electromagnetic Spectrum
- Doppler Effect
(10% of the Astronomy DSST)
- Creation of the Universe - I'd know how old the universe is thought to be.
- Different types of galaxies - Know the major ones, and be able to pick them out if given a picture. Pretty easy stuff. Towards the bottom of the article there are links to the other types of galaxies.
- Multiple Galaxies - No real use for the exam, but just something to blow your mind. All those galaxies, and billions upon billions of solar systems in each one.
- Black Holes
History of Astronomy
(09% of the Astronomy DSST)
- History of Astronomy - A brief but outstanding outline of the primary players in the history of Astronomy
(07% of the Astronomy DSST)
Determining Astronomical Distances
(05% of the Astronomy DSST)
- Astronomical Unit - I'd look over the entire page, but know what an AU is, as well as a Parsec.
(05% of the Astronomy DSST)
Life in the Universe
(03% of the Astronomy DSST)
Recommended bargain-priced study resources
Always check your library first! You may be able to find some of these for free (Yes, even our Quick Prep Sheets). You don't have to buy the officially recommended resources all the time. If you're the type of person that prefers to study from a textbook source however, then please see below.
Astronomy DSST Quick Prep Sheet - Our own Quick Prep Sheet for the Astronomy DSST exam. Don't have time to look up all the above and watch the videos? We've done the work for you right here. A complete listing of all terms and definitions from our own feedback and what our readers have sent in. It's quick, it's cheap, and it's guaranteed to help you pass.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Astronomy, 4th Edition - A book with great reviews from DSST takers, and seems to be an easy read for those who aren't exactly thrilled with the subject.
Astronomy For Dummies - There isn't much in the terms of official DSST preparation for this exam, which is why these are listed. Check your library and see which of these two books are avialable. They should have at least one of them. If not, Amazon's got both in stock.
InstantCert Academy Astronomy Specific Exam Feedback - Tons of good information on the exam here. Be sure to check out the Astronomy Flashcards.
If you don't know what InstantCert is, then click here for the scoop as well as a discount code: **InstantCert Academy**
You'll find an InstantCert link for every exam here if that gives you an idea of the amount of information they have available. It's an outstanding resource.
If you already had an interest in Astronomy then chances are you'll do fine on this exam. For those that have never been bitten by the bug, that's okay too. The concepts are really not that hard to grasp, and the exam itself doesn't ask you to know the inner workings of the universe. I've tried to break the material down even simpler in our Quick Prep Sheet for this exam, so if you're still having a hard time understanding things, consider that as a supplemental study resource.
Remember this exam covers the same knowledge you'd find in an introductory course, so don't let it spook you. Study the material and you can pick up another three credits for a fraction of their normal cost!
Best of luck!
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