DANTES Subject Standardized
Tests (DSST)

Allison C. Class of 2018

What Is a DSST Test?

DSST tests give students the opportunity to earn college credit for learning acquired outside the traditional classroom. With more than 30 exam titles in college subject areas such as Social Sciences, Math, Applied Technology, Business, Physical Sciences, and Humanities, DSST exams shorten the pathway to graduation while reducing college costs. Prior learning assessment tools like DSST Exams offer students a cost-effective, time-saving way to use knowledge acquired outside of the classroom (from personal research, on-the-job training, independent study, work or military field experience) to accomplish their educational goals. DSST tests at one time used to be only for military personnel—now it is available to everyone!

Whether you’re a new or a returning student, DSST tests can help you:

  • Earn 4.5 college credits for each passing test
  • Save tuition dollars
  • Earn your degree on time (or early)
  • Add flexibility to your degree program

Who Can Earn College Credits with DSST?

At one time, DSST testing was used only by military service people. Now anyone can take DSST tests! Some examples are:

  • Active-duty military service members, veterans and dependents
  • Traditional and returning college students
  • Applicants for master’s degree programs looking to fulfill undergraduate prerequisites
  • Students who need upper-division or open elective units

Where and When Can I Take My DSST Test?

DSST testing is available at the following NU campuses:

  • In California: Spectrum Library San Diego, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, and TwentyNine Palms Marine Corps Base.
  • In Nevada: Nellis Air Force Base.

Contact each campus directly to arrange for an appointment.

For a list of non-NU campus testing locations you can visit the DSST Testing Center Search tool. To send test results to National University, make sure to remember National University’s Institutional Score Report Recipient number on your exam day: 7858.

What is the Cost?

The cost of each DSST test is $85.00 (not including testing center/proctor fees) but check the DSST website for discounts which are given often. Students and non-NU students are eligible to test at any of our approved CLEP testing locations listed above; please confirm testing/proctor fees with the center staff while scheduling.

If you are a military serviceperson, eligible military candidates can have the exam fee waived for the first attempt per subject funded by DANTES.

How Do I Purchase and Prepare?

  • Step 1: No preregistration is needed. You will need your credit card to make the payment and a social security number will be needed on the day of the test. Make sure to remember National University’s Institutional Score Report Recipient number for your exam day: 7858.
  • Step 2: The DSST website has free downloadable fact sheets for each of the 38 tests, a breakdown of the exam content and several sample questions per test. See us at testingservices@nu.edu for other resources and for complimentary study materials.

When Do I Find Out My Results?

The tests (except for the Principles of Public Speaking test which takes 4 weeks to grade) are automatically graded so you will instantly know if you passed. Test results are generally sent 2-3 weeks AFTER the date of the test to the Records Dept for processing.

How Are the Tests Scored and Are Retakes Allowed?

A score of 400 or higher for the majority of DSST tests is considered passing. The minimum is 200 and the maximum is 600. A score of 400 is comparable to earning a “C” grade on a test which would be considered passing. DSST tests are pass/fail and do not affect student’s GPAs. Students can retake the DSST tests but must wait 30 days before retaking the same test, and must repay.

How Many DSST Tests Am I Allowed to Take?

National University students cannot exceed 22.5 quarter units.

How Many Times Can I Retake the Same Test?

You can retake the same test as many times as you need to, but you must wait 30 days before retaking the test and you much pay for the test again (plus any proctoring fees, if applicable).

How Do I Know What Course (or Courses) the DSST test Will Waive?

Please see the search feature on our homepage for help choosing the right test for you. You can always contact your advisor for information regarding your program plan.

For non-National University students, see your school’s catalog or your school’s Testing Center for a list of the tests, score needed, units and courses that each test will waive.