The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) was designed to assist college students who are already proficient in certain areas of knowledge to receive college credits without attending the college classes. Regardless of how the knowledge was gained, whether through work experience, life experience, self teaching, reading, internships or even prior course work; taking and passing the CLEP test can gain you college credits.
CLEP offers more than 30 different examinations including subjects consisting of foreign languages, History and Social Sciences, Composition and Literature, Science and Math, and Business. The majority of college degrees require a certain number of General Education requirements that must be met to graduate. CLEP testing allows students with prior knowledge in these areas to save both time and money by testing out of courses that they really do not need.
College courses are quite expensive and also require several months to complete. More than 2,900 colleges and universities grant credits for successful completion of CLEP testing. The price of taking a CLEP test as of July 2010 is only $77. Prior to taking a test for credits, make sure to do a college CLEP search or talk to your advisor to insure that your college will grant you college credits for testing out through CLEP.
CLEP testing can be done at over 1,400 colleges and universities across the country. A CLEP exam search can be done to find the closest testing center to your location. Once you locate a testing center, make sure to call the institution directly to set up a date and time to complete your testing. Make sure to also inquire as to any additional costs (i.e. administration fees) that they may charge in addition to the $77 CLEP testing fees.
Depending on the college or university, some grant either college credits or exemptions for successful completion of CLEP testing. Others may limit the number of CLEP credits they will allow a student to accumulate. It is very important to check with your college regarding their CLEP acceptance policies, especially if you plan to get numerous credits through CLEP testing. You should be able to obtain a copy of their credit by exam policies from either the admissions office, the registrar's office or from your program advisor. If you have not yet chosen a college to attend, this information may help you decide which college or university will best fit your needs.
Excluding the English Composition Essay scores, CLEP scores are available immediately after completing the test. At the time of testing you can also request that your scores be sent to the college of your choice, your employer, etc. This is including in the $77 fee that CLEP charges. If you need a transcript of your scores at a later date, they can be obtained from CLEP.
Studying for CLEP testing can be done in a number of ways. One of the most proficient is to order a textbook that the college uses for the course you wish to test out of. Review the text, and work on assignments throughout the book in order to better prepare for the test. Another option is provided by CLEP in the form of the CLEP Official Study Guide and CLEP Individual Exam Guides. The Official Study Guide offers sample questions and answers for all 34 exams that are available, while the Individual Exam Guide offers tips for studying for a specific exam, sample questions and answers, and a test outline.
If you plan to take a CLEP test, you should know that CLEP does not allow a person to re-take a test within six months of an attempt to pass it. In other words, study for the exam and be well prepared. You will not get another chance to gain credits in the subject for another six months. If you put off taking the course and then are still unable to pass the CLEP test, this could prevent you from meeting your program credit obligations and stop you from graduating on time.
In summary, if you decide to take one or more CLEP tests, do research to insure your institution will accept it and grant credits, locate a testing site, study and prepare well for the exam, and enjoy saving both time and money upon successful completion of your CLEP test.