College Credit By Examination: Is it For You?

If you’re currently attending college or thinking about going back to school, you may have heard of credit by examination. If you’re not sure exactly what this entails, you’re not alone!

Credit by examination programs allow students the opportunity to earn credits towards their undergraduate degree by taking a test. Though every credit by exam program differs slightly, they all provide exams in a variety of subjects that, when passed, award up to three college credits to the test taker without them having to take a class in that subject for the entire semester. DSST (formerly known as the DANTES exam) and CLEP are two of the most well known options for credit by examination.

How do you know if a credit by exam program is the right choice for you? If one or more of the following applies to you, credit by examination may be a good fit:

You’re an adult learner returning to the classroom:

As an older, non-traditional student, you probably face challenges that the typical student hasn’t even thought of yet. You’re likely paying your own way through college, have a variety of additional responsibilities outside of school, and recognize that the quicker you earn your degree, the quicker you can start your new career. You have life experience from having worked, taken individual courses, certifications, paying your taxes, you name it! Money and time (two things that credit by exam programs help you save) play an important role in your education experience, so any chance to earn credits quickly and cost efficiently sounds great to you!

You’re working part or full time while earning your degree:

Wake up, get dressed, go to work, go to class, study, go to sleep – that is, if you don’t have kids to take care of – if only you had more time! You know how important a college degree is and you’re working incredibly hard to get yours. But trying to take a full semester’s worth of classes is a challenge with your already busy schedule. If you replace one or two (or more!) courses with the examination equivalent, you could earn the same number of credits in a single sitting. Plus, you can study for the exam on your own schedule!

You’re already familiar with a certain subject:

Perhaps you already know all there is to know about art, or business law, or even the Vietnam War. Sitting through a class on the topic just doesn’t make sense for you when you know you could pass the final exam today. Finding a credit by exam program that offers a test on something you’re already an expert in means you can earn the credits for that course right away! And it doesn’t hurt that earning these credits via an exam is a lot cheaper than the actual class, either.

If you fit any of these descriptions, you may find that a college credit by exam program like DSST is exactly what you’ve been looking for. With 38 unique subject exams – each costing just $80, plus a sitting fee – and over 2,000 colleges and universities that recognize the DSST program and award college credit for passing scores, almost any student can benefit from the time and money saved.

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