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Introduction to the Modern Middle East DSST
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Free Introduction to the Modern Middle East DSST Study Guide

Name of Exam: Introduction to the Modern Middle East DSST

Number of Questions: Around 100 (varies)

Time Limit: 120 Minutes

ACE Recommended Passing Score: 47

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 : 4
(One being the easiest, and five being the hardest)

Exam Description:

The Introduction to the Modern Middle East DSST covers what a student would learn during a single semester of a college Modern Middle East class.

A few of the specific topics you'll see see are: Issues of Women and Gender, Petrol states, Mass Urbanization, and Ethnic Groups.

Personal Thoughts:

I usually tell people to steer clear of the Introduction to the Modern Middle East DSST. It's not that i have anything against the subject matter. On the contrary, I think many people would do well to learn about this area. It has a tremendous amount of history, and what happens there often has an affect on the rest of the world.

Now one of the benefits for taking this exam is also it's biggest downfall. The Middle East has an absolutely huge amount of history. We're talking cradle of civilization stuff here. Thankfully, they included the word "Modern" in the exam title, so we only have to worry about the period from 1500 to the present. Still a sizable chunk of history!

To complicate matters even more, most of us don't learn about this area of the world in school. For right or wrong, much of the textbooks in the US cover European history, Far East history, but very little Middle East history. So while many people may have heard about the Ottoman Empire, their knowledge on the subject only scratches the surface. The good news? It's actually quite interesting.

So, to wrap things up - If you absolutely have to take this exam, or if you already possess a great deal of knowledge and interest in the area, then keep on reading. If you don't, and are just looking for some elective credits, then I'd look elsewhere.

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 the Modern Middle East DSST is broken down as follows:

20% The Nineteenth Century
20% Building In dependant States
15% The Ottoman Empire (1500-1800)
15% Social and Cultural Changes (1900-1960)
15% The Middle East from 1960 to the present
10% The First World War and its Effects
05% Physical and Cultural Geography

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 the Modern Middle East DSST, you'll most likely see some of the following on your exam:

  • The Millets System
  • Nationalism and Zionism
  • European Imperialism in the Middle East
  • Changing Trade Patterns
  • De-Industrilization
  • Religions
  • Education
  • Mandate System
  • Emergence of the left in the Arab Society
  • Emergence of United States Influence
  • Trends in Islam
  • Colonial States
  • Solidification of Liberalism
  • Oppositions movements (Ottoman Empire)

This is not a comprehensive list of topics! I highly recommend (as always) signing up for InstantCert and seeing the Specific Feedback section for this exam. They've had years to accumulate their information, and it shows.

Recommended Free Study Resources

Snazzlefrag's Study Guide - One of IC's members was kind enough to share this with us. You can download the PDF he used to study for his own Introduction to the Modern Middle East DSST at the above link. Not as detailed as our Quick Prep Sheet, but a good alternative if you're looking to only use free resources for this exam.

Maps of War - A map that shows all of the conquests in the Middle Eastern area.

Wikipedia's Entry for the Ottoman Empire - It's fascinating reading for something that isn't covered that well in most US schools today. For the sake of this exam, I'd skim through the first part and then really start concentrating on the "Growth" period until the present. Make sure you read the entire page. You'll probably get asked questions about the culture, religion, etc.

A map of the Ottoman Empire - This thing was huge, and yet we learn so little about it in US schools. Fascinating stuff.

Wikipedia - History of the Middle East - I've anchored the link to start at the Ottoman Empire. If you've already read the above link, you can skim through that section but you'll want to pay attention immediately afterwards. A ton of great information here that you'll most likely see again on the exam.

Power Point Map downloads - One of the very few textbook companion websites I was able to find for this subject.

A Modern Map of the Middle East - Useful to wrap your head around things towards the last 50 years or so. I doubt you'll be asked to identify the countries on a map, but it's a good idea to know where they all are.

LookLex Encyclopedia - Useful as a "fast facts" resource. I'd run through whatever category you need more background on. Remember to use the fact sheet and hit those subjects listed.

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.

Introduction to the Modern Middle East DSST Quick Prep Sheet - Our own quick prep sheet to make your study a little easier. 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. We concentrate only on the topics you'll need to know for your exam.

A History of the Modern Middle East - One of the suggested textbooks for the Introduction to the Modern Middle East DSST. You can pick up a used copy for under $30. I'd supplement this with either IC or one of the books mentioned on IC's specific feedback thread for this exam.

The Arabs (Penguin History) - Another one from the DSST recommended list. Included here because it seems to explore the inner politics of the Middle East and also goes country by country. The jury is still out on it's usefulness for the Introduction to the Modern Middle East DSST, so let me know if you manage to find this at your library.

InstantCert Academy Introduction to the Modern Middle East Specific Exam Feedback - Two pages of targeted study, with some outstanding feedback from people who just took the exam. Also, don't forget to check out the Introduction to the Modern Middle East DSST InstantCert Flashcards. I wouldn't use these as your only study material though, since feedback is that there is quite a bit that isn't covered. Use them with the feedback thread and one of the other recommended guides.

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

I have a headache just from tearing apart the Internet looking for resources for this exam. Six hours of looking and I'm still not satisfied with what I've found. Sure there's plenty of online resources on this subject, but most of it is ideological in nature and contributes little to actual education.

My honest advice on this exam - If you've got a few bucks, pick up our Quick Prep Sheet. This was actually the exam that prompted the creation of these because I kept getting requests for something easy to study. Most visitors didn't want to wade throught he mass of conflicting info, so I carved a few weeks out of my schedule and did the searching for them. It's a good resource and one I'm proud of.

If you don't use our Quick Prep Sheet, 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. Please don't underestimate this exam if you have very little knowledge of the subject. If you manage to find some great resources, please let me know via the Contact Us form. I'm always looking for more resources, and I'm happy to credit the discoverers!

Best of luck!

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