What DSST Exams are the Easiest?

Which DSST tests are the easiest to pass? You can check out websites and forums to see the opinions of past test-takers, but a more objective way of figuring out which tests you will have the best luck with is to look at actual exam pass rates.

While the College Board and DANTES do not publish the overall results of their exams, the military does post its pass rates online. This means that you can see for yourself how different tests stack up against each other.

Keep in mind, however, that these results may in fact underestimate how well you could perform on the tests. Because military personnel can take their first tests for free, many do not study for the exams at all and take some exams even when they have no experience in the subject. As well, because most people who join the military come straight from college, many have not accumulated the life and work experience that would be useful for such a test.

You can generally assume that tests with higher pass rates should be easier for most people than tests with lower pass rates.

The military has released the pass rates for some of the DSST tests. Here is our analysis of the results:

Overall, many of the business subjects appear to get some of the highest pass rates. The Principles of Supervision DSST had a pass rate of above 85% for both the paper-based and online tests, followed by Introduction to Business, which had a 62%-72% pass rate, Business Ethics and Society, which had a 70% pass rate, and Human Resource Management, which averaged a pass rate of 65%.

Technical Writing appears to one of the easiest DSST tests, with a pass rate of 84%.

Astronomy and Introduction to Computing have high pass rates in the 60th percentile (with average pass rates of 64% and between 63-70%, respectively), while Environment and Humanity (59%), Here's to Your Health (54%), Human Cultural Geography (42%- 52%), and Introduction to Law Enforcement (53%) also have higher-than-average pass rates.

If you have a good grasp of your wars, then you will likely do well taking the Introduction to Modern Middle East and the Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union tests, which have pass rates of 53% and 49% respectively.

Psychology courses such as Lifespan Developmental Psychology (48%) and Fundamentals of Counselling (59%) are also worth trying.

With the remaining tests we have statistics for, significantly more people appear to fail than to pass their exams – but remember that most of the service personnel who took these tests most likely did not study for them. If you have prior experience in the subjects, you will likely have a much better chance of doing well than the military pass rates reflect.

The 2011 military pass rates for other DSST exams in the sciences and social sciences, which require knowing more terms and facts, fall in the 30-40% range. The pass rates for Introduction to World Religions, Ethics in America, and Art in the Western World, for example, were around 35%. General Anthropology’s pass rate was higher, at 40%, while Western Europe since 1945 had a pass rate of 30%. Principles of Physical Science I had a higher pass rate of 52%, so if you are a science person, you should consider taking that.

The tests that you really need to study for appear to be the math-related exams. Unless you are a math whiz, you would probably do well to stay away from most of them. Only 16% of test-takers passed Money and Banking,15-17% passed Fundamentals of College Algebra, 27% passed Principles of Financial Accounting, and 20% passed Principles of Finance. And everyone failed Business Mathematics – the only exam with a 0% pass rate with military personnel!

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