CLEP test: earn college credits in high school and save money

By Dgoodman
06/05/2015
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Have you taken the CLEP test yet? No, it's not that disease you learned about in health class. For $80, you can take a 90-minute test on one of 33 subjects of your choice, and earn up to 12 college credits — that's an entire semester of classes! Take it from someone who has graduated from college and has the student loans to prove it: anything you can do to earn credits and save money is like the best gift ever. Here's how to get CLEP.

What’s a CLEP test?

CLEP (College Level Examination Program) is administered by College Board, the same company behind the AP and SAT exams. Students have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and earn college credit based on performance. Here's the deets:

  • The 90-minute multiple choice test costs $80 and is available anytime throughout the year
  • There are 33 tests to choose from, on the subjects of history and social sciences, composition and literature, science and mathematics, business, and world languages
  • Students can earn up to 12 college credits (the equivalent of three college classes, or an entire semester)

Why take the test?

Each CLEP test offers the chance to earn up to 12 credits. Considering the cost of college is between $250 and $900 PER CREDIT, that can save students A LOT of money. And earning CLEP credit before starting college can save students time by allowing them to skip intro classes and dive right into more advanced courses. This can mean saving even more money by graduating early.

Do I know enough to pass?

CLEP offers some awesome benefits, but first you have to pass the test. There are official CLEP study guides available for $25, and plenty of online tools. If there's a subject you're passionate about or study in your spare time, you probably already have a good foundation of knowledge. Otherwise, getting a study guide is a fantastic way to start practicing the independent study skills you'll need for college.

Do all colleges accept CLEP credits?

CLEP scores are accepted by 2,900 accredited US colleges, including University of Central Florida, Texas A&M University, Arizona State University, and Michigan State University. Not all colleges accept CLEP credits, and not all of the universities that accept credits accept them in all subjects. Check here to see if the school(s) you plan on attending accept CLEP credits.

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