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A free resource for those preparing for CLEP, DANTES and Excelsior Examinations

DSST Difficulty List

DSST Difficulty List

Disclaimer:

Just like the CLEP Difficulty List, a bit of personal bias may creep in on the DSST Difficulty List as well. I've tried to judge these from the viewpoint of an average test taker, and put my own strengths and weaknesses aside. We'll see how successful I've been.


A few notes:

DSST's are generally considered to be tougher than CLEP's due to many of them being recommended for Upper Level Credit by ACE. For that reason, there will be many more level 3, 4, and 5 Level DSST's than there were CLEP's. Keep this in mind when deciding which to take.

You may come across one that just blows you away at level 2, or you may be eating the level 5's for breakfast. The DSST Difficulty List is meant to be a starting guide to help you plan the order of the exams you wish to take. Study for all of them like they're level 5, and you'll never have to worry about being unprepared.

I've also tried to group them in terms of difficulty by category as well. The exams at the end of Level 2 are more difficult in my opinion than the exams at the beginning of Level 2, and so on.

Finally, I have listed them in an order to take advantage of study material overlap. Studying for some of the earlier exams will help you out with others further up the difficulty ladder. If you decide to take an exam without taking the earlier exams first, you may find it more difficult than it would be otherwise. I always list the earlier exams that may help on each exam's study guide. If you'd like to see a complete list of exams (both CLEP and DSST) that overlap in study material, you can find them on the CLEP/DSST Overlap List. Just follow the link for those (opens in a new window).

DSST Difficulty List

One being the easiest, and five being the hardest

Level 1
Principles of Supervision - 3 LL Credits
Fundamentals of Counseling - 3 LL Credits
Introduction to Business - 3 LL Credits

Level 2
Lifespan Development Psychology - 3 LL Credits
Introduction to Law Enforcement - 3 LL Credits
Technical Writing - 3 LL Credits
Foundations of Education - 3 LL Credits
Introduction to Computing - 3 LL Credits
General Anthropology - 3 LL Credits
Introduction to World Religions - 3 UL Credits
Human/Cultural Geography - 3 LL Credits

Level 3
Astronomy - 3 LL Credits
Criminal Justice - 3 LL/UL Credits (Depends on your school)
Human Resource Management - 3 LL Credits
Fundamentals of College Algebra - 3 LL Credits
Personal Finance - 3 LL Credits
Principles of Public Speaking - 3 LL Credits
Art of the Western World - 3 LL Credits
Here's to Your Health - 3 UL Credits
Drug and Alcohol Abuse/Substance Abuse - 3 UL Credits
Environment and Humanity: The Race to Save the Planet - 3 LL Credits
Physical Geology - 3 LL Credits
Organizational Behavior - 3 LL Credits

Level 4
Ethics in America - 3 UL Credits
Business Ethics and Society - 3 UL Credits
Management Information Systems - 3 UL Credits
Business Mathematics - 3 LL Credits
Principles of Finance - 3 UL Credits
Principles of Financial Accounting - 3 LL Credits
Introduction to the Modern Middle East - 3 LL Credits
A History of the Vietnam War - 3 LL Credits
Western Europe Since 1945 - 3 LL Credits
Principles of Physical Science - 3 LL Credits
Principles of Statistics - 3 LL Credits
The Civil War and Reconstruction - 3 UL Credits

Level 5
Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union - 3 UL Credits
Business Law II - 3 UL Credits
Money and Banking - 3 UL Credits

Hopefully this list helps you in determining which exams to take in what order.


If you think I'm waaaaaaay off base with the difficulty of a particular exam on the DSST Difficulty List, then please let me know via the "Contact Us" button. I may not agree and it may not be changed, but if I get enough "OMG!" emails, I'll bow to public opinion sooner or later. ;)

Best of luck with your test taking!

-Justin

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