What is the CLEP and is it right for you?

If you're considering filling out a college application, you may be thinking of additional ways that you can earn course credits. You may have heard about the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), but what is it and is it right for you?

The CLEP is a computer-based exam that tests your knowledge of a particular subject area. Successfully passing the CLEP can earn you course credit towards your degree program. More than 2,900 colleges and universities accept CLEP scores as partial credit towards their academic programs. Students who are considering enrolling in accelerated degree programs are often encouraged to take the CLEP to reduce the time it takes to earn their qualifications.

Each CLEP test takes around 90 minutes to complete, and they can be taken in 33 different topics across five subject areas, including history and social sciences, composition and literature, science and math, business, and world languages. The exception to the 90-minute rule is the composition exam, which takes 120 minutes to complete. Each test consists of multiple-choice questions, although the composition exam includes some essay questions.

However, CLEP acceptance policies vary between schools. Some colleges limit the number of credits you can earn through the test, while others may exempt you from a certain class without awarding course credits. One of the first things you should do if you're considering taking the CLEP is to contact your university's college admissions adviser and ask about their policies.

Taking the CLEP can benefit you in several ways. The first is that successfully completing a CLEP exam can help you earn your qualifications more quickly. Taking the CLEP can also help you test out of some beginner classes, or take more advanced classes sooner. If you're already knowledgeable in a certain area, you can put this to the test and earn college credits for what you already know.

Another benefit to taking the CLEP is to test how much you know in a certain subject and see if you're ready for the kind of material taught in college. This can help identify strengths and weaknesses before you have to tackle the actual coursework in your degree program. The CLEP can be a great way to save money, too, since each examination only costs $77 and can award a similar number of credits as a full course.

Are you considering taking the CLEP? If you already have, what were your experiences? 


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