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Management Information Systems DSST
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Free Management Information Systems DSST Study Guide

Name of Exam: Management Information Systems DSST

Number of Questions: Around 92 (varies)

Time Limit: 120 Minutes

ACE Recommended Passing Score: 400

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 Management Information Systems DSST covers the material normally taught in a single semester of a MIS college course. Examples of material covered includes Computer Hardware and Software, Business Information Systems, Telecommunications and Networks, and Managing Database Resources.

Personal Thoughts:

There are three exams dealing with computers. Those are - The Information Systems and Computer Applications CLEP, the Introduction to Computing DSST, and the Management Information Systems DSST. There is quite a bit of study overlap for all three of these, so taking them closely together is something you should think about doing. Check to see if your school will allow all three to count for separate electives. Most do, and it's an easy way to pick up nine credits (3 exams at 3 credits each).

Exam breakdown:

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

The Management Information Systems DSST is broken down as follows:

15% Managing Data Resources
15% Business Information Systems
14% Systems Analysis and Design
13% Telecommunications and Networks
10% Business Decision Making
10% Computer Software
09%MIS Issues
09%Computer Hardware
05%MIS and the Organization

Areas of Study

I'm going to list some specific topics that you'll need to study. After that, I'll list some resources that cover the main areas listed above. I'd check out Snazzlefrag's outstanding Management Information Systems study notes as well.

Alright, here we go. Though there are different versions of the Management Information Systems DSST, you'll most likely see some of the following on your exam:

  • Hard Drive
  • EDI
  • Modems
  • Mainframes
  • Univac
  • Commercial Off the Shelf Software (COTS)
  • Viruses/Trojans/Worms
  • Bits/Bytes
  • GUI
  • Java/PERL
  • Databases (Relational, Hierarchy)
  • Software Life Cycle
  • Fiber Optics
  • Datamining
  • Resolution
  • Peripheral Devices

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

Managing Data Resources
(15% of the Management Information Systems DSST)

  • Databases - A great place to get started with Databases. Go through each of the lessons. You don't necessarily have to actually "do" the lessons, but at least read through them and complete the quizzes at the end.
  • Different types of Databases - A good overview of the different types of databases, and the strengths and weaknesses in each.
  • Data Structure
  • SQL Queries - You will most likely be tested on the more common of the Database queries and updates in the Management Information Systems DSST. Just know the basics.
  • Database Management Systems

Business Information Systems
(15% of the Management Information Systems DSST)

Systems Analysis and Design
(14% of the Management Information Systems DSST)

  • System Analysis and Design Tutorial - A complete tutorial covering almost everything needed in this section. I'd read through the entire thing. Pay attention to the different methodologies they cover during the lesson as well as the lifecycle of System Development.
  • System Analysis and Design Lesson - A truncated version of the above link. If you already know this subject and just need a refresh, read this one. If it's all new to you, I'd go with the full tutorial above.
  • YouTube Lectures - This is going to be overkill for most people. Still, someone out there may prefer this to reading so I'll include it as well.

Telecommunications and Networks
(13% of the Management Information Systems DSST)

Business Decision Making
(10% of the Management Information Systems DSST)

  • Knowledge Management - I'd give this a complete read through at least once. It's not necessarily important to know the names and dates behind the development for the Management Information Systems DSST. Just know what the term means, and how it applies to a business.
  • DIKW Model - This is an easy one. Just know what the letters stand for in case you're asked.
  • Knowledge Management Software - We've touched on this earlier, but just know how it can be used to help business goals.
  • Data Mining - Once again, know what it is, how it's used in terms of business, and the ways in which Data mining is done in today's business world.
  • Data Warehousing - Same as above, though I'd also know the different types.

Computer Software
(10% of the Management Information Systems DSST)

MIS Issues
(09% of the Management Information Systems DSST)

  • PAPA - MIS Ethical Issues - Know what the acronym PAPA stands for, as well as the ways in which it affects a business. I'd suggest reading the entire article.
  • Computer Security and Privacy Laws - It's going to be a drag, but I'd highly recommend clicking through each of these and learning what they relate to. It's almost certain you'll see some of these on the actual exam.
  • Digital Copyright Laws - Run through these and be able to identify what they cover.

Computer Hardware
(09% of the Management Information Systems DSST)

  • History of the Computer - Love the page name - Triumph of the Nerds! Click on each of the milestones and read the page for each. You'll probably get asked about a few of them on the Management Information Systems DSST, such as the abacus.
  • Another Timeline - The above is a good list, but this one goes into more detail with the named mainframes and miniframes of the past. Give all of them a quick read through, but know ENIAC, UNIVAC, and APPLE. Microsoft should need no introduction.
  • Processors - Read the entire lesson on processors.
  • Storage Devices - Again, read the entire lesson.
  • Data Entry Devices - Pretty intuitive, but use the lesson to brush up.
  • Output Devices
  • Mainframes - It's an in depth explanation, but I like this one even more because it lists all the different types.
  • Client/Server Architectures - Good stuff
  • Bits and Bytes - Just to get you started.
  • Storage Units of Measurement - Just know the basics from smallest to largest.
  • Processor Units of Measurement - You can disregard the submultiples, but I'd look over the Multiples section. You don't need to know them all, but be able to identify that kilo is less than mega, which is less than giga, etc..

MIS and the Organization
(05% of the Management Information Systems DSST)

  • Management Information Systems - This should be old-hat by now, but give it a quick scan.
  • ECommerce (b2b, b2c, etc) - For the lack of putting this somewhere else. You'll need to know the difference between these types of commerce. Also know that the bulk of commerce (by some accounts over 90%) is b2b.
  • Systems Theory/Decision Structure - I'd read the entire page. Pay attention to the areas discussing decision making such as structured, semi-structured, and unstructured problems.

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.

Management Information Systems (10th Edition) - The DSST recommended textbook. I'd look at the used versions if money is tight, since you can get them for less than half-price.

Management Information Systems: Solving Business Problems With Information Technology - Another book used in the making of the DSST exam. This one is extremely reasonable for a textbook considering the used books are the only ones available. I'd stick with the 2005 version for the Management Information Systems DSST.

InstantCert Academy MIS Exam Feedback - Tons of good information on the exam here. Be sure to check out the Management Information Systems Flashcards as well as the Introduction to Computing Flashcards. Know them both and you'll cover much of the information on the Management Information Systems DSST.

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

Someone in the IC forums made a very good point about this exam, and I'd like to repeat it here. If you approach the Management Information Systems DSST from the technical side and try to learn the management aspect, you'll probably find it difficult. When studying, try to understand the management need first and you'll find it much easier to see how the technology fills that need. Either way, this is one of the easier Upper Level exams, and therefore definitely worthy of the attempt.

Remember to at least consider also taking the Introduction to Computing DSST and the Information Systems CLEP. You've already studied much of the material, so you may as well take all the exams that it covers.

Best of luck!

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