An Explanation of Education Advancement Exams

Two service members talking across a desk

Taking tests can intimidate even those who are most prepared. The moment you realize that all the stuff you studied isn't on the exam, OMG. That tiny problem aside, it's good to know that education advancement exams, like the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support, or DANTES, can help you earn your degree faster.

Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support exams


more about the opportunities available to help service members fund their continuing education.

Understanding the various DANTES-sponsored exams can be overwhelming, so we have provided a list below to help you get started.

  • ACT. The ACT is a college admissions exam for the education and workforce development fields.
  • College-Level Examination Program. The CLEP allows you to test out of 33 test titles in subjects where you may have gained knowledge such as from work, education or military experience.
  • The DSST, formerly known as the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests. The DSST program offers 38 college-subject exams. This nationally recognized program grants college credit for learning outside of the classroom like on-the-job training, military experience or independent study.
  • General Education Development Tests. The GEDTS measures the high school level of military personnel who aren't high school graduates. This five-subject test includes math, language arts in reading, language arts in writing - including essay - science, and social studies.
  • Graduate Management Admission Test. The GMAT is available through some college and university test centers. This computer-adaptive test includes verbal, quantitative and analytical writing questions. The GMAT is reimbursable one time for eligible service members.
  • Graduate Record Examinations. This computer-based test is available through select college and university test centers. Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support will pay for one GRE General and one GRE Subject exam per lifetime for eligible service members. Any GRE Subject exams taken at national test centers are not reimbursable.
  • PRAXIS I and II. The PRAXIS I is a Pre-Professional Skills Test, or PPST, with three separate subject-area tests in reading, math and writing. Some states require students to pass the PPST before starting a teacher education program, or as a teacher-licensing exam. The PRAXIS II is a timed subject assessment focused on principles of learning and teaching. The exam offers more than 100 test subjects. Some states require you to pass this exam before teaching certain subject areas.
  • SAT Reasoning Test. The SAT Reasoning Tests or reasoning assesses skills in subjects such as critical reading, problem solving, writing and math.
  • SAT Subject Tests. The SAT Subject Tests offer testing in English, language, math, science, and history and social studies. Some universities may recommend or require that students take a specific subject test before entering certain courses or degree plans.

Test prep scams

Protect yourself as you prepare and sign up for these exams. Be careful to avoid scams that could potentially waste your time and money. Keep an eye out for any test prep program that attempts to:

  • Pressure you to buy test prep materials for exams you don't plan to take
  • Give you purchasing credit with a third-party vendor
  • Contact you at home with direct sales
  • Promise college credit without enrolling in a college or university
  • Include dictionaries or encyclopedias on book lists

Before you spend your hard-earned cash on any test prep materials, contact your education services specialist. He or she may be able to guide you to no-cost or low-cost test prep materials through the education center, installation library or local college bookstores.

Your education is a worthwhile investment of both time and money. Save a little of both by taking advantage of the DANTES-sponsored exams that are available.


Find programs and services at your local installation.

View a directory of installations

Service members, family members, surviving family members, service providers and leaders rely on Military OneSource for policy, procedures, timely articles, cutting-edge social media tools and support. All in one place, empowering our military community.