I’m thinking about taking a CLEP® exam, but I don’t know where to start.
The first thing to learn is whether your college accepts CLEP® exams. You can find out a couple of ways.
Check the Admissions Dept. on your school’s website. If they accept CLEP® exam credits, read which exams they accept. It is a good idea to email or call the Admission Dept. as well because policies can change and the website might not yet show those changes.
- Check with your Academic Advisor.
- Check the College Board website. They have a search function where you type in your school name and it will show what exams your school accepts. Again, check with your school to be sure the published information is current.
Once you know your school’s CLEP® exam policies, you can choose which exams to take.
Which exam should I choose?
This is a great question to ask your academic advisor. They can review your transcript and tell you where you can use a CLEP® exam to fulfill a requirement. If a couple of different exams fulfill the requirement, they can tell you which ones.
Your academic advisor will also tell you if there is a time frame for applying for CLEP® credits. Some schools have rules for when they will do so.
Where do I take my CLEP® exam? How do I schedule it?
You take CLEP® exams in testing centers located on College and University campuses or at privately owned testing centers.
The College Board has a search function on their website that you can use to find the testing center nearest you.
You can schedule your exam on the College Board website or with your testing center. The fee is $87.00 (2019) which is paid in advance. There will also be a fee paid to the testing center, usually about $20.00 – $30.00.
What happens when I go in to take my exam?
Be sure to arrive early to the testing center! The exam is reserved for a specific window of time. If you are late, you may not be able to take your exam. When you arrive you will need time to check-in and take care of some paperwork before you start the exam. You will be telling the testing center where you want your credit to be reported.
There will be a few questions at the beginning that are not scored for you to get the feel of how the exam will proceed.
When you complete your exam your results will be printed out and you will have a record of your score. This will be reported to your school and the credit applied to your transcript.
If you took an exam that requires an essay, you will receive your results in about three weeks. Your testing center will give you more details.
What if I’m not enrolled in a college or university? Can I still take a CLEP® exam?
Yes, you can certainly take a CLEP® exam. The College Board holds onto your CLEP® credit for 20 years. It will be a part of your permanent transcript.
There are many people, adults, and high school students, who earn CLEP® exam credits in advance of enrolling in school. They look for schools that will accept the CLEP® exam credits they have earned. As more and more schools accept CLEP® exam credits, taking exams can be a strategy to load up a few credits before enrolling.
I’ve taken some AP and dual credit courses in high school? Should I take a CLEP® exam for those subjects?
If your college will accept those credits, then no, you don’t need to take a CLEP® exam on those subjects.
However, if you did not earn the required score on an AP exam, i.e., you earned a ‘3’ but your college requires a ‘4’, you may be able to use a CLEP® exam for that credit. Check with your school to find out if they accept CLEP® exams for that subject. Review your subject with SpeedyPrep materials and you should be well prepared to pass.
When can I start taking CLEP® exams?
Good question! Many high school students take CLEP® exams to earn credits before graduating. Since CLEP® exams cover college-level material, teachers, parents, and their high school students should decide when the student is ready to ‘step up’ to CLEP® exams. A good strategy is to CLEP® in a subject that they’ve already taken in high school. Additional preparation with college-level content (SpeedyPrep!) can prepare you before testing.
What’s the difference between CLEP® exams and DSST® exams?
Dantes Standardized Subject Test (DSST®) is another type of PLA (prior learning assessment) similar to CLEP® exams.
DSST exams were originally designed for military members to earn college credit, but they are available to civilians as well. DSST® does have some exams that CLEP® does not. You can research DSST® exams at GetCollegeCredit.com.
Are there benefits to Military personnel?
The military will pay your testing fees the first time you take a particular CLEP® exam. If you do not pass, you will have to pay in order to retest.