The College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) offers you the chance to earn college credit for the knowledge you already have but at a fraction ($85) of what a college course would cost you.
The CLEP is created by the College Board and is a widely recognized college credit-by-exam program accepted by almost 3,000 universities, colleges, and military institutions. The CLEP program has 33 tests that assess knowledge in specific subject areas at the college level, and it provides students with the possibility to earn college credit, but without taking a course at college or university.
The CLEP exams can be taken at more than 1,900 colleges and universities, and they are recognized and accepted by more than 2,900 institutions of higher education. These schools award credit to students who have taken a CLEP exam and though the schools can set their own rules, the usual passing score is 50 to 60 out of 80.
The CLEP program provides a great opportunity for students to show their knowledge in specific subject fields so they can (in college) skip some required undergraduate coursework. CLEP exams are relatively cheap (generally $85 per exam), just compare that to what a semester of college coursework would set you back! Most CLEP exams take 90 minutes to complete, and the $80 cost is waived for U.S. military servicemen and women and qualifying veterans. Most CLEP exams are good for 3 college credits, but there are exams that are worth 6 or more credits, and the French, German, and Spanish exams may even be used for earning up to 12 credits.
Most colleges are publishing their required minimum scores to earn CLEP credit in a brochure or their catalogs, and those minimally required scores may vary from school to school, and from exam to exam. If you want to know which institution uses which score, please contact that school. So check, before taking a CLEP exam, what credit is awarded by your institution, and there are also colleges that award no credit but allow you to be exempted from some required course(s).
If you want to retake a CLEP exam, make sure you’ll wait at least 3 months before doing so, If you repeat the same CLEP exam within that period, the scores are not accepted, and testing fees will be forfeited. Most colleges and students are awarding CLEP credit just to students that are enrolled in their programs.
Check out a few more questions and possible issues to consider:
– Is the college or university requiring that the CLEP score can only be validated if you successfully complete more advanced coursework in that subject?
– The school may require that you also take the optional essay (free-response) part for the exam in Composition & Literature on top of the multiple-choice part of the CLEP exam you’re thinking about.
– Check if you need to take and pass an extra test like an essay, oral or laboratory exam, on top of the CLEP multiple-choice test. Some schools require that.
If you know what to do in such a situation ahead of time, you will be able to schedule the optional departmental or free-response exam already when you’ll register for your CLEP exam.
If you require some accommodation due to a disability (for example a physical disability or a learning disorder) that prevents you from taking a CLEP test under the standard conditions, you can request for that your test center. Just contact your test center well ahead of time, so they have ample time for making the necessary arrangements. To learn where these 1,900 CLEP testing centers are located, visit this post.