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Introduction to Business DSST
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Free Introduction to Business DSST Study Guide

Name of Exam: Introduction to Business DSST

Number of Questions: Around 100 (varies)

Time Limit: 120 Minutes

ACE Recommended Passing Score: 400

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

Exam Description:

The Introduction to Business DSST covers what a student would learn during a single semester of a college Business class.

A few of the specific topics you'll see see are: Accounting, Forms of Business Ownership, E-Commerce, and Management.

Personal Thoughts:

You know one of the benefits of writing these study guides? I get to publicly vent when something goes wrong. So when I spend a solid hour typing a detailed breakdown of this exam, and then close the file without saving, you guys get to read all about it. Lucky you eh? :P /sigh... Round 2!

The Introduction to Business DSST is an exam that's a mile wide and an inch deep. It covers a wide variety of topics that each has their own CLEP or DSST. Now on one hand, that makes it difficult since the scope is so large. On the other hand, if you have a decent grasp on a little bit from each subject, you'll be fine.

So.. With that said, I'd suggest taking the following exams first if you can - Principles of Management or the Principles of Supervision. Either will give you a pretty decent breakdown of the management portion of this and will let you pick up some pretty easy credits as well. I'd recommend doing the same with the Principles of Marketing while you're on such a roll. More credits is a good thing in any case.

Since we've covered most of what's on the Fact Sheet with other exams, I'm going to pull from those sources quite a bit for this study guide. Saves me work and gives you what you need. The best of both worlds.

In addition to what I list here, you may want to check out the InstantCert flashcards for Personal Finance. From feedback that people have left, the refreshed version of this test hits that subject pretty hard. I'll try to include some of that as well, but I haven't done the research needed on that particular topic yet. IC would be the way to go.

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 Introduction to Business DSST is broken down as follows:

60% Functions of Business
25% Foundations of Business
15% Contemporary Issues

Areas of Study

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

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

  • Economics of Business
  • Finance
  • Production and Operations
  • Labor and Unions
  • Management Information Systems
  • Assets
  • Marketing
  • Global Business and Ethics
  • Accounting

Functions of Business
(60% of the Introduction to Business DSST)


  • Cliff Notes Management - Cliff notes are perfect for our use here. Just skim through the different sections and pick up the good stuff.


  • Product and Service Management - A basic breakdown as it applies to the product lifecycle. You'll probably be asked to know the different aspects of that as well so be sure to follow the links.
  • The 4 P's (Marketing Mix) - The following all tie into this, so know it well.
  • Branding - The trick with these links is finding one that explains not just the definition of the topic but also how it applies. This one does that, so be sure to read it all.
  • Pricing Policies - Once again, read it all. Follow the links such as sticker shock, inflation, price point, and elasticity as well. Between this one and the next two, you should have pricing down.
  • Pricing Policies Part II - Don't skip this one.
  • Pricing Policies Part III - Read the entire thing, but pay special attention to "Break Even Analysis", "Cost Oriented Pricing". You'll probably see both on the Introduction to Business DSST.
  • Distribution channels and Logistics - Self explanatory, but know the basics.
  • Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Promotions - Know the basic techniques.. It's fun to see how often we're led by the nose with advertising.
  • Marketing Application in E-Commerce - Extremely interesting reading, though anyone who has spent some time on the Internet will recognize many of the terms here. Any website owners will be intimately familiar with these concepts.

Human Resources

  • Recruiting and selecting - This touches on the legal concerns again, but also gives you a rough idea of the hiring process. Should be pretty intuitive for most people who have held a job and gone through the process already.
  • Compensation and benefits - Pretty simple stuff here for most people, but you may want to pay attention to the Compensation link. If you scroll down a bit you'll see a list of definitions including Job Descriptions, Analysis, etc. Good information to know for the Introduction to Business DSST.
  • Collective Bargaining - You don't have to be an expert in it, but understand what it is and how it's used. You'll probably get a few scenario type questions on the Introduction to Business DSST.
  • Discrimination - Read up on the Affirmative Action, Harassment at Work, Equal Pay, etc.

Production and Operations


  • Accounting - Tons of good information on here. Pay attention to Equity, Balance Sheets, Budgeting, Break Even Points, Cash Flow Statements, and Credits. You know.. all the fun stuff! ;)

Management Information Systems

I'm not trying to kill you with information here, but this is what I meant earlier about the Introduction to Business DSST being a mile wide but an inch deep. Just skim the material and be able to identify the important parts.

Foundations of Business
(25% of the Introduction to Business DSST)

  • The Different Types of Business Organizations- This blog post covers these all very well. I'd read the entire thing, paying attention to the pros and cons of each. Know them well! The Introduction to Business DSST will most likely test your knowledge on this.
  • Government regulation/Administrative Agencies- A good article on regulation as it applies to businesses and the government.
  • Securities and Antitrust Law- There are lawyers that specialize in this, so that should be all the warning you need that it can get deep very quickly. That being said, it's an interesting topic to read about and you need to understand it. Both Google and Microsoft are contemporary companies that are being affected by this.
  • Employment Law - Another great article as the subject affects us all. Understand the acts, especially the Wagner Act, since you'll see it on other exams as well.
  • Entrepreneurship- I'll spare you the agony of Googling this word. Just read over the wikipedia entry for a basic grasp and you should be fine.

Contemporary Issues
(15% of the Introduction to Business DSST)

Recommended Free Study Resources

Understanding Business Companion Site - Ever since I was pointed at these companion sites I just can't get enough. This one is for one of the DSST recommended textbooks, and has quiz's for each chapter. While you can't read the text itself, the quiz's alone are a great resource. Look on the left hand side underneath the Chapter list.

Introduction to Business Free Forum Links - From our own Feedback area. Find some other forum posts that we don't have? Let us know via the "Contact Us" form or post them yourself in the User Submission Area.

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.

Understanding Business 8th Edition - One of the suggested textbooks for the Introduction to Business DSST. I'm including it here because the companion site was so useful, but definitely go for the used version. Also, remember to check the textbook stores around your local college first. You can get some great deals that way.

InstantCert Academy Intro to Business Specific Exam Feedback - Four pages of targeted study, though make sure you pay special attention to the last page which deals only with the refreshed exams. Also, don't forget to check out the Introduction to Business DSST InstantCert 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.

Closing Thoughts

So you probably now understand what I was talking about at the beginning of this study guide. The Introduction to Business DSST has a lot of broad information to cover, but most people will do fine as long as they get a taste of the knowledge and use common sense on the exam.

Don't stress out over this exam. Use InstantCert if you're a member, (and if you're not you should think about it) and read the specific exam feedback thread. After that make sure you run through the flashcards at least once and take the Peterson's practice exam as well. You can find that at the top of this study guide right below the picture. If you decide to buy another study guide out there, just make sure it's for the refreshed version of the exam.

If you don't use IC, then make sure you hit the User Submission area and read those forum links. Then use the above resources to go through and hit each section on the Fact Sheet. Remember - Broad but shallow. Don't get lost in the weeds on this!

Best of luck!

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