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Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union DSST
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Free Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union DSST Study Guide

Name of Exam: Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union DSST

Number of Questions: Around 100 (varies)

Time Limit: 120 Minutes

ACE Recommended Passing Score: 45

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 : 5
(One being the easiest, and five being the hardest)

Exam Description:

The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union DSST covers what a student would learn during a single semester of a History of the Soviet Union college class. A few of the specific topics you'll see see are: Prewar Stalinism, The Brezhnev Era, The Revolutionary Period (1914-1921), and the Khrushchev Years..

Personal Thoughts:

Let's get this out of the way now - This sucker is hard! If the difficulty list was based only on my own opinions, then the Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union DSST would probably rank as the most difficult exam I've taken. The material is hard enough for someone unfamiliar with Russian history to memorize, but the names itself made it ever more difficult for me personally.

So having said all of that.... I still passed with a 48 after only a few days of study. If you dedicate the necessary time to this (unlike me), and use the recommended study materials, you'll probably do just fine. Your brain may feel ready to explode walking out the door, but I'm confident you'll be walking out with a passing score.

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 Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union DSST is broken down as follows:

14% The Revolutionary Period (1914-1921)
14% Reform and Collapse
12% Russia Under the Old Regime
12% Prewar Stalinism
11% The Second World War
10% New Economic Policy (NEP)
08% The Breezhnev Era
07% Postwar Stalinism
07% The Khrushchev Years

The more astute among you may have realized the above only adds up to 95% of the exam. Unfortunately, the official Fact Sheet is also missing 5% so it remains a mystery.

Areas of Study

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

Though there are different versions of the Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union DSST, you'll most likely see some of the following on your exam:

  • Bolshevik Revolution
  • Russo-Japanese War
  • Industrialization
  • World War II
  • Collectivization
  • Foreign Affairs
  • Retreat from Eastern Europe
  • World War I
  • The Russian Empire
  • Economics
  • Russian Orthodox Church
  • Perestroika and glasnost
  • Social Democrats
  • Maxim Gorky

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.

Recommended Free Study Resources

  • Snazzlefrag's Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union Study Notes - A good resource, so go ahead and grab a copy. Personally I'd look up any terminology you find on the study notes that you don't understand.
  • Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union E-Book - An entire book that someone uploaded to Scribd that covers much of the material you'll be tested on for the Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union DSST. A great resource for free!
  • Russian Provisional Government - Pay attention to the key players, key events, and the reasons behind them.
  • Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic - As above, pay attention to the key players, key events, and the reasons behind them.
  • Soviet Union - You should be getting pretty good at this by now! Use Snazzlefrag's study guide for a reference, and identify the key players, key events, and the reasons behind them.
  • Post-Soviet Russia - Most folks should have a passing familiarity with some of this since it's happened in our lifetime.
  • Flashcard Exchange - Free flashcards! A Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union DSST taker evidently created some flashcards and anyone can use them.

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.

The Soviet Colossus: History And Aftermath - One of the DSST suggested study resource and surprise! You can pick it up for less than $30 from Amazon at the time of this writing. Since most of the "Official" recommended books usually go for $100+, I'm thrilled to find one this cheap. Still, check the library first. Free is always the better price!

Faces of a Nation: The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union, 1917-1991 - I found this one and really liked it. I'm a picture guy myself (Helps me remember the names when I see the faces) and this also has a nice write up of the history during the time. Would I pay money for this as a study guide? No... But I'd definitely see if your library has a copy available.

InstantCert Academy Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union Specific Exam Feedback - Let me be clear here - If you're going to spend money to study for the Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union DSST, then you need to spend the $20 ($15 with the discount code) and get InstantCert. There are three pages of targeted information for this exam. As in... "I just got back from my exam and you'd better know A, B, and C when you take yours." They also have more suggested study resources in this thread. A great value.

Also if you've subscribed, make sure you go through the Flashcards for Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union 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

I took the Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union DSST primarily for the Upper Level credit it gave me. If you're in need of some UL credits as well, it may be a legitimate option for you to think about. This one is History, which means it all boils down to memorization.

I can't suggest InstantCert enough for this, not only because of the flashcards, but also for the specific exam feedback thread. If you read through the posts there, and research each of the topics that others have had on their exams, you'll be in a much better position to pass your own exam.

When doing the flashcards, make sure you read and comprehend the explanations given once the answer is shown. Knowing those will also help you prepare in a big way. Now go get those credits!

Best of luck!

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