CLEP Exams – Introduction

CLEP stands for College-Level Examination Program®. There are 34 CLEP exams at the college level. Students that attain passing scores on CLEP exams can earn three college credits for those academic fields at almost 3,000 American universities and colleges.

The CLEP program was developed by the College Board to help persons with well-rounded knowledge in one or more college course subjects earn academic degrees affordably and efficiently.

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The CLEP exams include multiple-choice questions and must be taken at official CLEP testing centers. There are more than 2,000 CLEP testing sites across the U.S. Test-takers are allowed 90–120 minutes (depending on the subject) to complete the CLEP tests.

Except for Spanish With Writing and College Composition, test-takers will receive their testing results upon finishing the exam. As said above, almost 3,000 U.S. universities and colleges grant CLEP credit.

Who are the CLEP Exams for?

All students who wish to earn college credit while saving money and time can take CLEP exams. The CLEP program was launched in 1967 to help military personnel and adult students earn degrees efficiently and affordably while, at the same time, meeting professional and family obligations and responsibilities.

These days, the CLEP program benefits many students including military service members, veterans, professionals looking to earn continuing education college credits, adult learners, high school students, and college students.

To learn if sitting for one or more CLEP exams is something for you, find out if your preferred university or college accepts CLEP scores and if the CLEP exam subject fulfills degree requirements.

Taking CLEP practice tests will let you discover if your knowledge in a CLEP exam subject field is sufficient to pass that exam or if you require additional study.

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Please contact your preferred college and talk to an academic advisor if taking one or more CLEP exams will help you get ahead faster and see if learning for the exam(s) fits your agenda and how it might benefit your education plans.

There are quite a few colleges that allow you to use your CLEP credits for their curriculum requirements in general. They may, for example, give you credit like “3 hrs. Math Credit” or “6 hrs. English Credit.” Then, you can use that for any of their Math or English courses.

So before you register for a CLEP exam, first check with your college what type of credit you may receive. Perhaps you’ll just be exempted from their prerequisite course without receiving any credit.

Some American colleges will not grant CLEP credit if you already attempted a college course that’s aligned with that CLEP exam’s subject field. If you completed, for instance, English 101 or any comparable course at another college, you will not be able to receive CLEP credits in that subject field. And there are also colleges that are not letting you earn any CLEP credit for courses that you failed.

Five main categories of CLEP exams:

Composition & Literature – Composition & Literature CLEP exams cover American/British literature works and composition. The fields covered are American Literature; English Literature; Analyzing & Interpreting Literature; College Composition; College Composition Modular; Humanities.

World Languages – World Languages CLEP exams measure your comprehension of Spanish, French, and German. There are the following exams: Spanish Language – Levels 1 & 2; Spanish with Writing – Levels 1 & 2; French Language – Levels 1 & 2; German Language – Levels 1 and 2.

Science & Mathematics – Science & Mathematics CLEP exams are covering a number of Science subject fields and several levels of Mathematics. The exams are in Precalculus; Calculus; College Mathematics; College Algebra; Chemistry; Biology; Natural Sciences.

History & Social Sciences – History & Social Sciences CLEP exams address academic fields related to history, psychology, and economics. The exams are in History of the U.S.-I; History of the U.S.-II; American Government; Western Civilizations-I, Ancient Near East up to 1648; Western Civilizations-II, 1648 to Present; Human Growth & Development; Educational Psychology-Introduction; Introductory Sociology; Introductory Psychology; Principles of Microeconomics; Principles of Macroeconomics; Social Sciences & History.

Business – Business CLEP exams address a number of business disciplines. There are exams in Financial Accounting; Principles of Marketing, Principles of Management; Introductory Business Law; Information Systems.

CLEP Scores

On the CLEP exams, you will receive one point per correct answer. For skipped or wrong answers, there is no deduction so if you don’t know the answer to a question, eliminate answer options that are evidently not correct, and then choose your best guess. So you really should answer all the questions on a CLEP exam. There’s no penalty for guessing!

Your CLEP exam score is based on 2 calculations. First, there is your “raw score.” That’s the number of CLEP questions that you answered correctly. For every question that you chose the correct answer to, your raw score will increase by 1 point. Then this raw score is converted to a score on a scale from 20 to 80. That score will appear on your report.

ACE (the American Council on Education) is recommending that colleges and universities will grant credit for scores of 50 and up. However, individual educational institutions have the liberty to use their own policies when it comes to CLEP credit.

Usually, colleges and universities publish their policies and required CLEP scores for earning credit in their catalogs or on their website. Bear in mind that a school’s required CLEP for earning credit may vary by exam. So contact your college to learn all about the minimally required score for the various CLEP exams.

Disclaimer: MyCareerTools is not endorsed by or affiliated with CLEP or The College Board. CLEP is a registered trademark of The College Board and used here solely for purposes of identification and reference.