DAS Exams

Exam Policies

Individual course exams are online, in multiple-choice format, and pass/fail. A passing grade is 80% for webcasts and 85% for face-to-face courses, in accordance with accepted graduate school grading scales. A passing grade for the Comprehensive Exam is 74%.

Exam Access

Webcasts: You'll have 60 days from the time of purchase to complete the exam. Once you begin the exam, you must complete it in one sitting within 30 minutes.

Face-to-Face courses: Each course portal is open for 30 days. After the course, you'll have the remainder of the 30 days to complete the exam. Once you begin the exam, you must complete it in one sitting within 60 minutes (for a one-day course) or 120 minutes (two-day course).

Testing Out

More knowledgeable students may choose to test out of any Foundational course. As of July 1, 2019, students cannot test out of the new Arrangement and Description of Digital Records: Part 1 course. Please contact education@archivists.org to discuss your next options.


You will have three opportunities (1 initial and 2 retakes) to pass SAA course exams. If you do not pass after the three opportunities, contact education@archivists.org to discuss your options.

There are no retakes for the DAS Online Comprehensive Exam, and SAA will not make exceptions.

Comprehensive Exam

The DAS comprehensive exam is the culminating requirement to receive a Digital Archives Specialist certificate. As this is a certificate program, the exam covers material taught in a specified series of courses rather than testing broad knowledge (as a certification program would). As such, questions are developed based on course content. SAA has structured the program so that those interested in taking the comprehensive exam take courses from across the curriculum; although there is no expectation that an individual take each of the courses, knowledge across the scope of topics is beneficial.

As of April 2018, the DAS comprehensive exam is offered in an online format. It consists of 100 multiple-choice questions that test knowledge on all DAS Core Competencies and across all four tiers. The breakdown of questions per tier is 55% Foundational, 35% Tactical and Strategic, 10% Transformational, and 10% Tools and Services. A passing score is 74%. There are no retakes for the DAS Online Comprehensive Exam, and SAA will not make exceptions. If you fail the exam for any reason, you must wait until the next cycle (January, May, September) to retake the exam. 

With the continual evolution of best practices and standards in the field of digital archives, the course material in this program is continually reviewed and revised by the DAS Subcommittee, which works with a psychometrician to ensure the integrity of exam construction and interpretation. Exam questions are continually updated to reflect course revisions. So that questions correlate with the course content, it is important that all courses be completed within 24 months and that the comprehensive exam be taken within five months of completing the final course to ensure that you are tested on the appropriate course material.

Study Materials

To prepare for the comprehensive exam, students should study the Comprehensive Exam Suggested Readings List. This reading list includes resources related to each course in the DAS curriculum and is updated annually. For the most up-to-date version throughout the year, see the DAS Certificate Reading List Zotero library. Students may also wish to prepare by taking the DAS Practice Exam.

To request learning accommodations for Education courses or exams, please email SAA Education.

Comprehensive Exam Suggested Readings List_Updated Dec 2022.pdf397.92 KB

Subscribe to Education eNews

Want to keep up-to-date on the latest course offerings? Sign up for our Education eNews updates for education insiders!