Comparing CLEP and DSST Exams

Students looking to earn college credit for prior knowledge of a subject should consider two options—the College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) and the DANTES Subject Standardization Test (DSST). 

What is CLEP?

CLEP exams cover introductory college-level material and help students earn college credit for what they already know. CLEP can benefit students of different ages and experience, including high school students and grads, college students, homeschoolers, and students in the military.

CLEP offers 34 exams in business, composition and literature, history and social sciences, science and mathematics, and world languages.

What is DSST?

The DSST started as an exam offering military members college credit. It’s now administered by Prometric and offered to anyone who wants to earn college credit outside the classroom.

There are over 30 DSST exams in business, humanities, math, physical science, social sciences, and technology.

How are the exams similar?

CLEP and DSST exams help students earn college credit. They also enable students to achieve their goals, whether they want to jump-start their career or save money. Both exams contain multiple-choice questions and are administered on a computer, unless you request a paper version.

How are they different?

One key difference—CLEP exams take 90 minutes and DSST exams take 2 hours.

CLEP exam credit is accepted at over 2,900 schools; over 1,900 schools accept credit for DSST exams. Contact your counselor to check if you’ll get credit for the exams you plan to take.

Which exam should I take?

That depends on your college’s credit policy for CLEP exams. Some schools give credit for all of them and some accept only a few.

Find out if your school accepts CLEP courses or visit the CLEP website to learn more.