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Fundamentals of Counseling DSST
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Free Fundamentals of Counseling DSST Study Guide

Name of Exam: Fundamentals of Counseling DSST

Number of Questions: Around 100 (varies)

Time Limit: 120 Minutes

ACE Recommended Passing Score: 45

Practice Test Available?: Yes - See below "Free Resources"

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 : 1
(One being the easiest, and five being the hardest)

Exam Description:

The Fundamentals of Counseling DSST covers what a student would learn during a single semester of a Counseling college class.

A few of the specific topics you'll see see are: Consultation, Ethical and Legal Issues, Discrimination Issues, Family Counseling, and Social Development.

Personal Thoughts:

The Fundamentals of Counseling DSST isn't necessarily a hard exam. What makes it more difficult than some people expect is the amount of memorization it requires. It does cover many of the same theories and theorists as the Psychology exams, so if you've taken those already you'll be ahead of the curve in terms of study needed..

If I had to recommend some exams for you to take prior to this one, I'd suggest the Introductory Psychology CLEP and also the Human Growth and Development CLEP. Each will help prepare you for the knowledge you'll need on the Fundamentals of Counseling DSST. Be sure to check out Snazzlefrag's Study Guide as well.

Exam breakdown:

Make sure you check out the Official DSST Fact Sheet for this exam.

Pay attention to the bottom of the fact sheet. It contains some sample questions that closely mimic the type of scenario-based questions you'll see on the actual exam.

The Fundamentals of Counseling DSST is broken down as follows:

20% Counselor Roles and Functions
20% Theoretical Approaches
15% Social and Cultural Foundations
15% The Counseling Relationship
10% Assessment and Appraisal Techniques
20% Human Growth and Development
15% Career Development
15% Historical Development

Areas of Study

I'm going to list some specific topics that you'll need to study.

Though there are different versions of Fundamentals of Counseling DSST, you'll most likely see some of the following on your exam:

  • Professional Counseling Associations
  • Discrimination Issues
  • Humanistic and Phenomenological Theoretical Approaches
  • Societal Concerns
  • Self-Help Groups
  • Significant People in Counseling
  • Social Learning Theory
  • Role Definitions and Descriptions
  • Trait-factor Theory
  • Moreno
  • Structuralism
  • Diagnostic and Statistical
    Manual of Mental Disorders 4th ed. (DSM-IV)
  • Bandura
  • Verbal and nonverbal behavior
  • Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
  • Holistic Therapy
  • Gestalt

Recommended Free Study Resources

  • Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - Man, I love Cengage! The companion website for one of the DSST recommended textbooks. Look on the left hand side for Flashcards and Quiz's for each chapter. Some chapters have flashcards, some don't. Hit all the chapters that cover what's on the Official Fact Sheet.
  • The World of the Counselor - This is another textbook companion site that covers some information you'll need to know. Same as above, just click on the chapters and then take the quiz's. Once you've got those down, you can try the final exam.
  • Wikipedia Counseling - As mentioned by Snazzlefrag in his feedback, this has a ton of good information. Go off of the Fact Sheet and hit anything that you don't already understand.
  • Quizlet Cards for Fundamentals of Counseling DSST - Not a bad set of cards here, but probably goes into too much detail. Still, I would highly recommend checking them out.

Recommended bargain-priced study resources

Always check your library first! You may be able to find some of these for free. 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.

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy - The actual textbook to go along with the companion site listed in the free section. The 2005 version (used) is only a few dollars less than the 2008 version. Check your local library first (even for older editions).

Counseling: Theory and Practice (4th Edition) - One of the suggested materials from the Official Fact Sheet. You can get a used copy of this for $11 versus the usual $120.

InstantCert Academy Fundamentals of Counseling Specific Exam Feedback - There are only two pages of feedback for this test, but it covers a lot of information. Also if you've subscribed, make sure you go through the Flashcards for Fundamentals of Counseling as well.

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.

Closing Thoughts

So I'm sure a few of you are wondering why this exam is rated as a "1" on the difficulty list. In my somewhat-humble opinion, if you've taken a few of the Psychology CLEP's, this exam isn't that hard at all. Once you have the major theories and theorists down, the rest is easily learned.

The Flashcards for this particular exam on InstantCert has gotten good reviews, and I'd highly recommend going through them at least once. Make sure you read the feedback that Snazzlefrag left as well since it identifies many terms you'll need to know.

Don't sweat this one. Give it a little study and then go make the attempt. You can do it!

Best of luck!

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