CLEP and DSST Overlap List

Welcome to the CLEP and DSST Overlap List, otherwise known as "In what order do I take these blasted exams?" This is probably one of the most asked questions that I get from visitors and hopefully this will go a long way in helping everyone decide the answer to that question.

Check the boxes for the appropriate category of credits. If you don't see an exam listed, that means it's a standalone exam and doesn't overlap any others in material. If you need help on how to use this tool or have other questions, scroll down for explanations and instructions.

I hope it helps!


* - The Introduction to World Religions DSST (Humanities Upper Level) will also help you prepare for this exam.


* - Many schools consider this a duplicate of the Human Growth and Development CLEP and won't award credit for both. Check with your school.

** - Human Resource Management DSST counts as Applied Professional at Excelsior though many other schools count it as Social Sciences credit. Check with your school.


* - Many colleges will count this exam and the College Algebra CLEP as duplicate credit. Check with your school before taking both of them.

** - The Financial Accounting DSST (Applied Professional) will help you prepare for this.

*** - Excelsior counts this as an Applied Professional though many colleges (rightly so) count this as a Natural Sciences/Math course.

Criminal Justice:

How does it work?

I've approached this from the perspective of taking a person from zero knowledge about a subject to a successful pass. In other words, if you follow the below order, each of the exams in the list will help you prepare for one of the following exams. Notice I said "one of the following". That means it may not necessarily help you prepare the exam immediately below the one you're looking at, but will help you prepare for one further down on the list. This is because some of the exams listed below will build off of three or even four other exams.

The Business Ethics and Society DSST is a good example. It not only pulls from the Principles of Management CLEP, but also from the Principles of Supervision DSST, the Introduction to Marketing CLEP, the Ethics in America DSST and the Human Resource Management DSST. However! The Principles of Supervision DSST also builds off of the Principles of Management CLEP. The Human Resources Management builds off of both of those and so on and so forth.

Ugh! So how do I use this?

The easiest way is to identify first what you need in terms of credits. I've broken these down into four categories based on how Excelsior College identifies each exam. If your college is saying that you need 12 credits in Social Sciences and History, then you can checkmark the appropriate box and it will show you the order I suggest you take them. I've further broken down some of each category to keep it in line with the subject matter.

This tool is all about maximizing effort. If you're thinking about taking a certain exam, find it on the list and see what exams you can take beforehand. Look at the American Government CLEP. You can take 15 credits worth of exams that will go a long way towards preparing you for that one. Or you can just concentrate on the ones that will really help (US History 1 and 2 CLEP and the Civil War DSST) and that's still another 9 credits. Not bad, eh?

You can even use this tool as a way of deciding which test to take next. If you've already taken the Introductory Psychology and Introductory Sociology CLEPs, the Human Growth and Development CLEP is the logical next choice.


A few disclaimers about the CLEP and DSST Overlap List.

First, this isn't listed by difficulty, but by how each exam will prepare you for others. I've tried to keep the difficulty in "sorta" the same order, but be aware that some of these are tougher than others further down the list. The American Government CLEP is a good example. It will help you prepare for the Social Sciences and History CLEP but it's generally considered more difficult. Just keep that in mind and you'll be fine.

Second, the breakdown by category is based on what Excelsior College lists in their handbook. If you go to another school (or even if you do go to Excelsior) always check with your advisor that the exam listed will count towards what category you need. Same advice I always preach.

Finally, this is all based on my own opinion. Feel free to disagree with it and send me an Email explaining why. See one that I missed? I welcome additional insight and opinions. If I get enough requests for a change, I'll update it accordingly. This list is for you guys, so please don't think it's written in stone.

Good luck!


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