We received a 3-month subscription to Study.com to check out their CLEP and DSST prep materials. The timing was great as we are getting ready to embark on high school and I think getting a head start on exam studying is important.
What are CLEP and DSST?
College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is one that has been offered from many years in order to help students earn college credit in a shorter period of time than they would by taking the course in college. CLEP offers over 30 exams to provide college credit. Written by professionals, there are over 3,000 video lessons that help the student study for an exam to receive the college credit in the chosen course. Subjects that are covered in CLEP include business, foreign languages, history, social studies, literature, science, and math.
Dantes Subject Standardized Tests, or DSST, provides over 30 exams in which students can earn college credit at their own pace. Many colleges and universities accept DSST scores which makes them an extremely cost-effective and efficient way to get college credit ahead of schedule and outside of the traditional college or university setting. Subjects are broken down into subject-specific areas and including subjects such as English, math science, business, health, psychology, and social studies.
Lessons in CLEP and DSST are provided in short video format with self-assessments at the end of each lesson. There are tips, study guides, additional information and resources, and 24/7 support available in Study.com making the over 4,000 lessons available a great choice for students looking for a way to earn some college credit outside the traditional school setting.
In addition to CLEP and DSST prep materials, Study.com offers many other options that are great for homeschooling families. With courses in everything from social studies/history to information systems and foreign language and everything in between, Study.com is a great way to get some help adding some extra materials to your homeschool. And it’s for all ages!
However, we are reviewing the test prep, CLEP and DSST materials for this review, so let’s talk about them a little more.
Study.commaterials are all very similar in setup and content regardless of what course you are taking. In our case, we worked on PSAT test preparation, since that will be the test that we will be taking next.
The Dashboard is the first thing you can see when you log in to your Study.com account. This provides the student with an overview look of what courses they are working on, what goals they have set, what notes they have taken, and gives the student a place to add additional goals and courses in an easy format.
Each lesson within the course that a student is taking has a course outline offered, which is an easy way to see what is being covered in the course. Additionally, the student can view an overview of the course and their progress easily. This is done on the front page of the course and progress is tracked automatically.
A cool feature of Study.com is that the student can set goals to accomplish subjects and test prep within a specific amount of time and the program automatically figures out how much the student must accomplish each day in order to meet a timeline goal. For instance, if a student is taking the PSAT on a particular date and wants to get through all the test preparation materials a week before the test date and then take a practice test, the student could pick the week before the test as their goal completion date. They enter that date as the goal date and then the dashboard will give the student a plan for completing the course in time to meet that deadline. The dashboard will also tell the student if they are ahead, behind, or on track to meet the goal.
Another cool feature of Study.com is that the progress is tracked automatically and adjusts your requirements to meet your goal. Additionally, it helps the student see where they are in the course. There are regular quizzes and assessments to track progress and this can be monitored throughout the course as well.
The lessons are set up in small, bite-size lessons. Students can track progress and see how long each lesson is. There is an overview at the beginning of the course that tells you the length of the course and the approximate lesson time requirements for the course.
The lessons are set up with video lessons as well as text for a transcript of lessons. These can be downloaded for offline reading as well.
At the end of each lesson is a quiz and many sections have cumulative quizzes and assessments as well. Quizzes require at least a score of 80% to pass. If the student does not pass, they can retake the quiz to pass. Each question that is taken provides feedback includes a link to jump right to the part of the lessons which answers a missed question, making studying difficult processes or technique easy to find and review before retaking the quiz. There is no maximum number of times that a quiz or exam can be taken so the student can work until it is mastered.
Test preps include a study guide and sample text for the study to run through a practice test. The practice test includes the exam overview, guidelines, and requirements as well as a timer (that can be hidden if desired or distracting) and an easy link to go back to skipped test questions. The study can retake the exam as many times as they would like the exam questions to change in order in the retake.
Every course in Study.com has the ability for the study to take notes right within the program. Therefore, if the student wants to highlight something, make a note to study the section again, or put in an acronym to help them remember something, there is a place in the notes that this can be done. But the great part is that all the notes from all the student courses are accessed easily from the Study Dashboard making finding those notes and reviewing them if needed easy. The student simply goes to the dashboard, clicks on the All Notes section of the dashboard and then can via every lesson in which they took a note. The number of notes the student has in each section is notated and then the expand arrow allows the student to actually review the notes. The notes can also be printed.
The layout of the course lessons is easy to navigate. There is a video section, a quiz section, help menu, and course overview outline. The video that is being worked on is center screen and the lesson transcript is printed below the video. The course progress is on the sidebar along with a course navigator and take notes section. An autoplay function is available if the study prefers to not have to click to the next screen in the lesson. Speed can be set and there is a button to add the lesson to a folder, which could be helpful if the student wanted to section off some of the lessons for later review.
When the student has completed a lesson and the corresponding quiz, if there is one, the student is given a score for the quiz and given to the opportunity to retake the quiz or move to the next lesson. The student can even email the results to someone. The answers to the questions on the quiz are still reviewed at the bottom and a 100% passing grade still allows for a quiz retake if the student wishes.
Study.com was surprisingly easy to navigate and LOADED with coursework. The lessons were thorough and well set-up. My daughter, who is 14, found them easy to work through and not too daunting or dry. The videos were appropriately engaging the test questions were not too laborious or time-consuming. She liked the immediate feedback and ease of retake if necessary.
I really liked that you could set an end date for goal-setting and the program tells the student exactly how much material much be covered each day to meet the goal. The practice tests are great and definitely a plus to have.
Though we used our review subscription to work on test prep for the PSAT, I would say that this would be something we would consider if we were looking to do some CLEP/DSST tests later in high school to get some college credits out of the way before college starts.
I would definitely recommend checking out Study.com if you have a high school student interested in getting some college credits while still in high school or preparing for one of the many tests in PSAT, SAT, GRE, or ASVAB.
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