What is the The College Level Examination Program?

The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) lets you earn college credits for less time and money than taking a course. CLEP is designed for students who have learned course content in a non-traditional manner and need to demonstrate their learning to a university or college. If you’re an independent learner with strong study skills, CLEP is an excellent option for you.

How Much Does CLEP Cost?

Each CLEP test costs $80. This fee covers a proctored test at a designated site and transmission of your results to a college or university. The United States government covers the cost of CLEP testing for military veterans and their spouses as well as some civilian employees. There are no fee waivers for low-income students. Whether you have to pay the $80 yourself or qualify for a free CLEP exam, you’ll be saving a substantial amount of money compared to the thousands of dollars of a regular college course.

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What’s the Difference between CLEP and AP Testing?

The Advanced Placement (AP) testing service is similar to CLEP. Both programs let students earn college credit for outside learning. However, AP courses are designed for high school students. You may not be able to register for an AP exam if you’re not enrolled in a high school and taking the corresponding Advanced Placement class. By contrast, CLEP exams are open to anyone willing to pay the exam fee. If you’re a non-traditional student, the CLEP system was created for you. Also, CLEP tests are offered year-round while AP exams are only scheduled in May to correspond with the end of the academic year.

How Can I Study for CLEP Exams?

There are no specific courses for taking a CLEP test. If you wanted to take a class instead of passing a test, you would just take the existing college course. You can find some study materials to help you prepare for the CLEP exam. The test administrator, The College Board, releases specific study guides for each test. You can also visit your local library for help finding study materials. For many subjects, an introductory textbook would cover most of the material on the exam. It may be easier to find a general text than the specific CLEP preparatory guide.

What Subjects Does CLEP Cover?

CLEP tests cover entry-level college courses, including foreign language, general education courses and STEM subjects. Most of the classes you would take during your freshman or sophomore year in college are available for testing. This means you can take your business or marketing experience and get credit for an introductory course but not a 400-level class. CLEP is a good way to skip over prerequisites or meet general ed requirements. If you’re a self-motivated learner and don’t have time to take a psychology or literature class, you can teach yourself the material and pass the CLEP exam instead.

Don’t get stuck paying for introductory courses you don’t need. Use CLEP to finish your degree quickly and move into the career path you really want.