How to take CLEP/DSST tests for college credit (Part 1)

[ Part 1 ] [ Part 2 ] [ Part 3 ] [ Part 4 ]

I’ve been wanting to document how I took tests in order to complete 18 units of college credit for a while now. By putting this all down on the internets somewhere, maybe someone else can get some benefit out of it.

I’m going to tell you how I took tests and received 18 units of college credit. I’ll refer to this process of taking the tests for college credit as “testing out” (as in “testing out of the college class”) in the rest of this document. I also refer to the state of California a lot in this document; you should be able to substitute the state you live in for “California” whenever I mention it with no issues. However, you should verify with your school counselor that the information below is correct for your state before you take any tests.

Picture of my 6 DSST test result sheets
[picture of my 6 DSST test result sheets]

I do not want any money from you in the form of donations or whatever for writing this document; on the other hand, I think the information I am about to give you should cost you something. Next time you’re in your local library, and you see the donation jar…

picture of me putting money in the donation jar
[picture of me putting money in the donation jar]

Slip a lil’ sumpthin-sumpthin in there.

picture of my money in the donation jar
[picture of my money in the donation jar]

You don’t have to be crazy/stupid/extravagant like I am, but everything helps, and you’ll help out the next person who wants to try this for themselves by allowing the library to 1) stay open, and 2) keep buying new materials and fixing up the old books that get torn up through usage.

If you absolutely have to send me something, send me a postcard;

Brian Manning
9921 Carmel Mountain Road #375
San Diego, CA 92129-2803


In 2005, I had just finished 60 units of upper division college courses at the University of Phoenix. They took 42 units of my lower division coursework that I had obtained at a couple of different community colleges here in California. For those of you doing the math at home, that’s 18 units left over before they’ll grant me my Bachelor’s degree ( 42 lower + 18 lower + 60 upper = 120 units = Bachelor’s Degree ).

There were a couple of ways I could obtain these units:

  1. University of Phoenix would be happy to enroll me in the classes that I need.
  2. I could go to a community college near where I lived.
  3. I could take tests for college credit (test out)

If you’ve read this far, you can pretty much guess I chose #3. Here are my reasons for testing out of those units.

  1. Don’t have to go to a school campus once a week for 12/15 weeks at a time, which means…
  2. Theoretically I could get the units quicker if I applied myself (hey, I said it was a theory, okay?)
  3. Cheaper; University of Phoenix classes were $1200 each last time I took them (2005). On the other hand, DSST tests were around $75 each (2005-2008).

Go on to Part 2…

[ Part 1 ] [ Part 2 ] [ Part 3 ] [ Part 4 ]