Gain Credit with the CLEP (College
Level Examination Program)
(Continued from 1)
After that, I was hooked. I continued my night classes
at Immaculata-some of them in an accelerated format-while
successfully completing CLEP exams in English Literature
(6 credits), Principles of Management (3 credits), Information
Systems and Computer Applications (3 credits), General
Biology (6 credits), College Algebra (6 credits), and
Western Civilization II (3 credits). In May 1998, I
graduated cum laude with the exact number of credits
needed for my degree.
All in all I found the testing experience to be richly
rewarding. Granted, there were some topics that I didn't
know extremely well prior to registering for the exam.
For example, even though I had gained some knowledge
about computers through the years, I felt I needed to
review an introductory textbook on computers before
taking the Information Systems and Computer Applications
exam. My knowledge of biology was also not strong when
I began, so I borrowed a biology textbook from a friend.
Yet, I figured that putting in the extra study time
on my own was far preferable to paying for and participating
in all the classes necessary to obtain the credits the
If you're not completely comfortable with a certain
subject-and don't want to spend a lot of time reviewing
for an exam-there are a few shortcuts you might consider.
For example, I found the Harper Collins College Outline
series of books (published in the early 1990s) to be
very helpful in reviewing for the English Literature,
Introduction to Management, and Western Civilization
II exams. Each book in the series-which also covers
such exam subjects as chemistry, psychology, and sociology-contains
a synopsis of the subject in an easy-to-read format.
Check your local library or bookstore for copies.
You might also consider applicable books in the IDG
Books For Dummies series and Barron's Easy Way
series. I borrowed Biology: The Easy Way from
the library as part of my review for the General Biology
exam. The CLEP
Official Study Guide also provides a list of suggested
review texts for each exam.
If you have a thorough knowledge of a large topic area,
you might consider taking one of the five General Examinations-English
Composition, Humanities, College Mathematics, Natural
Sciences, and Social Sciences and History-each eligible
for 3 or 6 college credits depending on your grade and
your college's policy. For example, the Humanities General
Exam covers painting, sculpture, music, film, dance,
architecture, drama, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.
Since these exams may not have direct application to
a particular class, your college is less likely to accept
them for credit.
Of course, before you decide to take any CLEP exam
check with your college or university's continuing education
or counseling/testing office to find out which of the
exams it accepts, and for what grade levels you are
given credit. Although more than 2,900 colleges participate
in the CLEP program, many do not accept all of the tests
that the CLEP offers. Also, each college has its own
requirements for what it considers to be a suitable
passing grade for credit.
Even if your college does accept a particular exam,
the credits may not apply toward the degree program
you have in mind.
Getting a degree does not have to take a lifetime commitment.
Take advantage of the CLEP to finish your degree faster
than you ever thought possible.
Gregory Lloyd is a financial writer and freelance business
writer. He satisfied a third of the credits for his
business degree by taking advantage of the College Level
additional resources for CLEP, see the College Board, CLEP: Promoting Academic Success, and CLEP
CLEP Facts at a Glance
Source: The College Board
|The CLEP (College Level Examination Program) is
one of the most widely accepted programs for gaining
alternative college credit by exam. Students can earn from 3 to 12 credits for each test.
|Exams are offered in 33 college-level
introductory subjects (in the areas of History and Social Sciences, Composition and Literature, Science and Mathematics, Business, and World Languages.) CLEP exams cover course work generally taught in the first two years of college.
|Each exam costs $80* (*September 2014).
|Over 2,900 colleges award undergraduate credit
for the CLEP. Each college has its own policy on
which exams are accepted, the minimum scores required
for credit, and the number of credits awarded. To
find colleges that grant credit for CLEP, use the
|CLEP exams are administered on the computer and
are timed (90 minutes each). Except for College Composition, exams are generally
multiple-choice (mathematics exams may require fill-in
|Exams are scored on a scale of 20 to 80, with
the recommended score of 50 to award college credit,
or a 'C' grade. The CLEP score is generally available
immediately following the exam.