In simple terms, the CLEP exam stands for College-Level Examination Program that has been around for over four decades now. Our guide will help you learn more about this exam to see why you should take it and what are the benefits. The purpose of the CLEP examination grants students a unique chance to get more college credits, save some funds, and move on with their advanced coursework activities to graduate. It is also meant for those degree seekers that have no prior testing of all the college subjects studied during the first year to take an exam to show that they have sufficient skills and knowledge. In other words, you do not have to take these classes and can save yourself some time if you already know the writing mechanics and the basics that can test your existing knowledge in over 35 subjects.
The benefits of taking a CLEP exam are obvious even for those students that do not have any future plans. It will help them to focus on their hobbies or additional interests. Moreover, some people are coming back to their college studies or already have some job experience and skills that would make the classic studies relatively unnecessary. Here are some benefits to consider:
- You Can Graduate Early. This benefit is one of the most popular aspects related to the CLEP examination. It allows students to graduate earlier and focus on additional studies or parenthood.
- You Spend Much Less On College Education. Just think about the burdens of college debts and you will understand that it is a great way to cut some costs. As you earn more college credits, you can calculate your existing funds and adjust your studies accordingly.
- You Can Focus On The Most Important Classes. For example, if you are one of the students majoring in Sociology, the chances are high that you do not want to worry about Maths or Chemistry classes. If you know the basics, you can simply pass the corresponding CLEP exam by choosing one of the subjects and simply focus on those aspects that matter for your academic career and initial interests.
Of course, let us not forget about students serving in the military, college athletes, artists, young parents, or those students that have serious healthcare issues. The CLEP examination makes it possible to adjust your studies, which should be considered at all times!
CLEP Exams Details
Before we proceed with the details of this exam, make sure that you check whether your current or prospective school of choice accepts CLEP credits. It is not always the case. Even though we have over three thousand colleges and universities nationwide that accept CLEP, it is much better to check with your college advisor or read about it in advance.
Regarding the structure, the CLEP exam covers 35 subjects that include Composition and Literature, World Languages, History and Social Sciences, Science, Mathematics, and Business Studies. As a rule, you can make your choice based on a plethora of existing topics that may also include English Literature, French, German, Spanish, or Scandinavian languages in certain cases. It can also be related to Human Growth & Development subjects, Economics, Calculus, Business Management, or Environmental Studies among other subjects.
Turning to credits, it must be said that each exam that you take and pass can earn you between three and twelve college credits. It will always depend on the general requirements for the courses based on your choice. If you achieve success, you can even bypass the majority of first-year college introductory courses.
The CLEP test format always requires computer-based completion. It makes it convenient and easy to get your test results right away. The majority of exams will last between 90 and 120 minutes. However, it may be longer in certain cases. The CLEP exam itself will consist solely of multiple-choice questions with the possibility to choose one of five possible answers. It also makes it a logic check examination. In certain cases, you will be asked to write your answers by typing them in, so these scores will be checked manually when you complete the test.
The scoring part works the same way regardless of your subject. It is checked on a scale of 20 to 80. To get the final score, you should have a raw score and a scaled score. The raw score is one point for every question that you get right. The scaled score considers all the minor differences in terms of difficulty between the tests you have taken and the results of other learners who have taken the test.
You should be aware that even though American Council on Education has introduced the minimum passing score for each subject, your school may have different rules for each subject. It is also something you should consider and check before you take the test!
Preparing For The CLEP
Before you get ready for your CLEP test, remember to check with the testing officer regarding where and how it can be taken and focus on the signing up process and preparation. Unfortunately, this exam is not free and the entire cost will be around $85. You should also get in touch with your local testing center regarding time and date so you can take the exam. You may also have to pay additional fees depending on the place and state where you take the exam. You should have:
- A valid registration ticket for each exam that you take.
- All the requirements issued by the testing facility must be met.
- Your valid ID to pass the exam and confirm your registration.
It is forbidden to bring phones, books, calculators, cameras, audio recording devices, food, hats, baggy clothes (anti-cheating measure), and anything that may be used for cheating.
In terms of getting ready, you should consider the following:
- Do not wait to take the CLEP exam. If you are still a high school student, do not wait and get ready to pass the exam. Focus on English Literature, American History, or Biology for example. It will help you to learn the common classes and see what levels are required to pass the exam.
- Take Online Courses. For example, you can turn to Modern States that has free online CLEP preparation courses. As it is powered by the famous edX platform, it is great to know that you can train your skills and check yourself.
- Use Various Practice Exams. Even though you may not have to buy the CLEP preparation book, you can also consider several free practice tests that are available online to get the basic idea. Even if you can pass the simple test simulation, it is already a good sign that you can manage your logic and avoid stress.
Most importantly, if you know your strengths and weaknesses, just address them accordingly and focus on those subjects where you still need help by checking online and taking a look through some helpful resources below.
CLEP Exam Preparation Resources
Here is the list of CLEP resources to keep you prepared regardless of what subject you choose:
- Khan Academy. It is often one of the best choices. You can choose various subjects, video courses, and practice tests that will help you with things like college-level Math, STEM subjects, English, and History. Just choose your courses and continue from there.
- Ted-Ed. It is a good resource to consider as it is a YouTube channel that will explain how to write a college essay without major mistakes or will tell you the basics of U.S. History or even Mechanical Engineering.
- CK-12. It has free e-books on popular STEM subjects. Even though these are Astronomy, Chemistry, Engineering, Math, and Basic Technology textbooks, you do not have to pay anything to check your skills.
- Peterson's CLEP Course. It is not free but it has full online practice tests for those students who want to pass the CLEP exam with the help of simulation training.
- Coursera. Another valuable resource that can match you with real experts free of charge. You can choose various classes and get yourself prepared in any subject. Most importantly, you can choose anything from Religious Studies to Psychology based on what you would like to take as a test.
- Free CLEP Prep. While it may not be the same as something commercial, do not ignore this resource as it offers numerous CLEP (and many other) exam files. It has test-taking recommendations, resources, and a list of things to remember.
- Harvard College Writing Center. It explains how to write an outline, how to format your paper and write a perfect reply to any essay prompt. It is good for the College Composition CLEP exam, which is often recommended.
- InstaCert. A paid resource worth checking out. It has online flashcards that can help you to test your skills before you take the CLEP exams. It also includes various GRE study tools.
- Dual Credit at Home. It has 13 commercial CLEP tests, which promise to keep students ready for the actual examination. While it is not free, it can be considered as a way to talk to real people before you take the test.
- Learning Express Library. It has an online practice exam for the majority of CLEP subjects. It is often made available free of charge by colleges and universities. Remember to check it by asking your academic advisor!
Take time to study these resources and remember that something free is usually enough to check your skills before you take the CLEP exam.
Summing things up, remember that taking your CLEP test can be a great time-saver and a way to consider more expensive colleges as you can save some funds. Just remember to check with your educational institution regarding their CLEP credits requirements to make sure they are accepted. See our list of helpful CLEP prep resources and have the best of luck!