Let’s face it: faculty might be costly.

Certain, you are able to do a lot of issues to make it price much less, together with making use of for scholarships. However this doesn’t change the truth that typically faculty prices greater than you possibly can afford.

A standard answer to this drawback is to take out pupil loans. And so long as you don’t borrow greater than you possibly can afford to pay again, pupil loans is usually a sensible choice.

However do you know that there’s another choice for making faculty even cheaper?

It’s known as the School Degree Examination Program (CLEP), which is a sequence of examinations that you should use to get credit score for faculty programs.

On this article, we’re going to check out what the CLEP program is, and the way it can assist you get your diploma sooner whereas saving you hundreds in faculty prices. We’ll additionally deal with some widespread questions college students have concerning the CLEP program.

What Is CLEP?

CLEP stands for “School Degree Examination Program.” It’s a set of exams developed and administered by the School Board.

You in all probability know the School Board when you’ve taken the SAT or AP Exams.

However you could not have heard of CLEP. For those who’re nonetheless in highschool, that is comprehensible, because the CLEP exams are geared toward working adults who need to get a level.

So what precisely are the CLEP exams? They’re exams that check your data of quite a lot of tutorial topics. Many faculties and universities gives you credit score in the direction of a level for every CLEP check you cross. (Although it relies on the faculty and your main, as we’ll focus on under).

CLEP exams are divided into 5 predominant topic areas:

  • Composition and Literature
  • World Languages
  • Historical past and Social Sciences
  • Science and Arithmetic
  • Enterprise

Inside every topic space, you possibly can take the next exams:

Composition and Literature

  • American Literature
  • Analyzing and Decoding Literature
  • School Composition
  • School Composition Modular
  • English Literature
  • Humanities

World Languages

  • French Language: Ranges 1 and a pair of
  • German Language: Ranges 1 and a pair of
  • Spanish Language: Ranges 1 and a pair of

Historical past and Social Sciences

  • American Authorities
  • Historical past of the USA I
  • Historical past of the USA II
  • Human Development and Growth
  • Introduction to Instructional Psychology
  • Introductory Psychology
  • Introductory Sociology
  • Ideas of Macroeconomics
  • Ideas of Microeconomics
  • Social Sciences and Historical past
  • Western Civilization I: Historic Close to East to 1648
  • Western Civilization II: 1648 to the Current

Science and Arithmetic

  • Biology
  • Calculus
  • Chemistry
  • School Algebra
  • School Arithmetic
  • Pure Sciences
  • Precalculus


  • Monetary Accounting
  • Data Techniques
  • Introductory Enterprise Legislation
  • Ideas of Administration
  • Ideas of Advertising and marketing

Why Take CLEP Exams?

Books on a shelf

So what’s the benefit of taking CLEP exams versus a full faculty course? There are two predominant benefits:

  1. Value
  2. Time

1. CLEP Exams Save You Cash

Beginning with the fee, CLEP exams are less expensive than a full faculty course. Every examination prices $87 (plus an administrative payment of round $25 usually charged by the testing heart).

Contemplating that the common price per credit score hour is $325 at a public college, CLEP exams can prevent some huge cash.

Every check has a examine information that prices round $10, or you will get a examine information for all 33 topic areas for $25. You may as well discover the prep books totally free at your native library.

Even when you took all 33 CLEP exams, it could solely price you $3,696 (this assumes a $25 administrative payment for every check, simply to be protected).

It is a vital financial savings in comparison with tuition for even one semester at a 4-year public college, which averages $4,705.

In follow, in fact, you’d by no means take all of the CLEP exams. However the reality stays that they will prevent some huge cash.

2. CLEP Exams Save You Time

Cash is a helpful useful resource, however time is much more helpful. CLEP exams can assist you get a level a lot sooner than the normal faculty path.

The standard period of time to get an undergraduate diploma is Four years, although it may possibly take many college students so long as six years.

For those who simply want a level to get a greater job, then 4–6 years is a lot too lengthy to attend. With the suitable CLEP exams and undergraduate program, you would get your diploma in as little as a yr (and even much less).

The right way to Use CLEP Exams to Get School Credit score

Now that you simply perceive the advantages of the CLEP program, let’s get into the small print of the way to use it to earn faculty credit score. This course of has a number of steps:

  1. Discover a College That Accepts CLEP
  2. Plan Your Programs
  3. Prep for the CLEP Exams
  4. Schedule and Take Your CLEP Exams
  5. Switch Your CLEP Credit
  6. Earn Your Diploma

Let’s check out every of those in flip.

1. Discover a College That Accepts CLEP

It is a essential first step. There’s no level in taking CLEP exams when you can’t switch your passing scores for credit score. In spite of everything, the objective right here is to get your diploma ASAP, to not get slowed down within the particular person particulars of the exams themselves.

Due to this fact, it’s essential to discover a college that can allow you to use CLEP exams to skip as a lot course work as doable. One of the best ways to do that is to carry out a fast google search.

As an example, let’s say that I’m on the lookout for faculties that settle for CLEP credit score in my residence metropolis of Nashville. All I’ve to do is google “faculties that settle for CLEP Nashville.” Right here’s the end result I get:

Nashville CLEP colleges Google search

As you possibly can see, it seems there are a number of faculties proper in my metropolis that can settle for CLEP credit score.

When you’ve discovered a number of faculties that seem to simply accept CLEP, the next step is to look at their web sites in additional element to search out out what their precise insurance policies are.

After that, it is best to contact the individual on the faculty who handles switch credit or non-traditional college students.

It’s essential to make contact with an actual individual, as the data on the college’s web site could not all the time be updated.

Having an actual contact on the bottom can even make it easier to with any questions or points which will come up within the technique of transferring your CLEP credit.

2. Plan Your Programs

Planning your coursework is a necessary step for any faculty pupil, but it surely’s particularly vital when you’re going to make use of CLEP exams to skip sure programs.

To start out, you’ll have to determine on a serious. Selecting a serious is a complete totally different subject, but when your general objective is simply to get an undergraduate diploma in one thing, then we advocate selecting a topic that received’t require a lot of lab or subject work.

Levels with a lot of “sensible” parts would require you to spend extra time on the college, making them harder to expedite utilizing CLEP exams.

Utilizing the data on the web site of the college the place you need to switch your credit, it is best to now plan out which CLEP exams you’ll have to take.

Additionally, make word of the programs that you simply can’t skip and must take on-line or in individual. This manner, you don’t get the disagreeable shock of studying that it’s essential to take two extra semesters of coursework whenever you thought you have been able to graduate.

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When you’ve discovered the above, make an inventory of the CLEP exams you’ll have to cross. Put the fee subsequent to every, after which add up these prices plus the prices of administrative charges and extra programs you’ll want to complete your diploma. This gives you a complete price in your diploma.

Chances are you’ll be a bit stunned by how a lot it prices, however keep in mind that you don’t should provide you with this cash .

You may pay for every CLEP check as you’re taking it, and within the meantime it can save you the bigger sums you’ll have to pay for the college programs. If saving that a lot cash sounds daunting, take a look at our budgeting information for some financial savings ideas.

3. Prep for the CLEP Exams

Taking exams can actually suck, particularly when you’ve been out of college for a number of years. However fortunately, there are many sources that can assist you cross the CLEP exams.

Do not forget that the important thing phrase right here is cross. So long as it’s excessive sufficient to satisfy the college’s requirements, your particular rating doesn’t matter. It received’t have an effect on your last GPA or be mirrored in your transcript. From a sensible perspective, a passing rating on a CLEP examination is similar as an ideal rating.

To review for every examination, it is best to first get the official examine information that the School Board presents. You should purchase these books on the School Board web site for a small payment, or you’ll find them totally free at your native public library.

You’ll want to take the included follow exams, as they’ll make it easier to assess what it’s essential to examine additional.

Whereas the official prep books are the perfect place to begin your research, you don’t should cease there. You need to seek the advice of any related sources for the topic that the check covers. Listed below are a number of of our favorites:

  • On-line instruments – Let’s say you’re making an attempt to cross the School Algebra CLEP examination. You can use a device like Sensible or Khan Academy to get a greater understanding of the ideas (and follow them, too).
  • Crash Course – It is a pretty particular advice, however it may be a lifesaver for sometimes “boring” topics like economics, historical past, or chemistry. Every Crash Course video sequence is taught by an skilled in a enjoyable, informative type accompanied by pleasant animations and concise explanations.
  • Family and friends – Have a pal who’s a math whiz? See if you will get them to tutor you in trade for lunch, espresso, or no matter association is sensible.
  • Trendy States – Need at bit extra steering? Trendy States presents free on-line programs to arrange you to cross CLEP and AP Exams.

4. Schedule Your CLEP Exams

Okay, so that you’ve studied onerous and also you’re able to take the check. The next step is to schedule the examination.

To do that, you’ll first have to discover a native CLEP testing heart. Fortunately, the School Board has a device on their web site that can make it easier to discover a testing heart based mostly in your location.

To make use of this device, go to the Discover a Take a look at Middle web page . When you’re there, you’ll see a kind just like the one under:

Find a CLEP Test Center form

To discover a check heart, enter your nation, state, metropolis, and zip code (the final two are optionally available, however they’ll assist make your search extra exact). You may as well specify a search radius, which is 25 miles by default:

Find a CLEP Test Center form with search terms entered

When you’ve accomplished that, hit “Search.” You’ll then have the ability to see an inventory of check facilities in your space:

CLEP test center search results

Together with the identify and site of every testing heart, you’ll additionally see details about the accessibility of the check facilities:

  • Take a look at facilities could also be marked “Open,” which signifies that anybody who has registered for a check can take it there.
  • Others are marked “Restricted,” which signifies that solely college students enrolled on the establishment can take CLEP exams there. That is usually the case with excessive faculties.
  • Lastly, you might even see some facilities marked “Absolutely-funded,” which signifies that eligible U.S. navy service members can take CLEP exams there with out having to pay an administrative payment. Certainly, navy members can usually take CLEP exams utterly totally free, as we’ll cowl in a later part.

When you’ve discovered a testing heart you want, it’s essential to register for and schedule the examination.

This half is a bit complicated, because it requires you to first register for the examination on the School Board web site after which contact your most well-liked testing heart to arrange a date so that you can take the check.

To register for the examination, go to this web page and choose the examination(s) you need to register for:

Checking registration box next to CLEP Financial Accounting exam

When you’ve made your picks, click on “Add to Cart”:

Clicking "Add to Cart" button

Click on “View Cart and Checkout” whenever you’re able to pay:

Clicking "View Cart and Checkout"

From this web page, click on on “Register and Checkout”:

Clicking "Register and Checkout"

The positioning will then immediate you to register. For those who don’t have a School Board account, you’ll have to create one. You are able to do this by clicking the place it says “Signal Up”:

Clicking "Sign Up" button

After you’ve signed in, you’ll have to pay for the exams. You are able to do this utilizing any main credit score or debit card.

Congrats! You’ve registered for the exams. Now, it’s essential to contact the testing heart to schedule them.

Yow will discover contact information for the testing heart you need to use again on the checklist of testing facilities we checked out earlier. Many testing facilities will allow you to register on-line, although some could require you to register over the cellphone.

5. Take Your CLEP Exams

With the exams scheduled and your learning full, you’ve now reached the essential second: examination day. Right here’s what you possibly can count on whenever you present as much as the check heart:

  • You’ll take the examination on a pc.
  • Every examination sometimes takes 90–120 minutes.
  • You’ll want to print your registration ticket from inside your School Board account.
  • Additionally, be certain that to carry government-issued identification that features your {photograph} and signature. Usually, this might be both your driver’s license or passport, although navy ID, inexperienced playing cards, and different types of ID could also be acceptable. You may view a full checklist of acceptable IDs right here.
  • You’ll have the ability to view your rating immediately, until you’re taking an examination that features a writing portion, corresponding to School Composition. Scores for exams with writing parts might be out there inside 2–Three weeks.

To make sure that you do properly on the check, get loads of sleep the evening earlier than. Don’t keep up late to cram — it doesn’t work. For more information on efficient test-taking, take a look at our huge assortment of examine data.

6. Switch Your CLEP Credit

Assuming you handed the check, now it’s time to switch your credit to the establishment of your alternative.

Ideally, you’ll know which establishment you need to ship your scores to earlier than you register for the examination.

That is useful as a result of every examination you register for consists of one free “rating ship.” That’s, whenever you register for a CLEP examination, you possibly can select the establishment that you simply need to obtain your rating. You’ll see this selection in the course of the registration course of, which we focus on above.

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If you wish to ship your scores after you’re taking the examination, otherwise you need to ship your scores to multiple establishment, you are able to do so for a further $20 (per transcript you order).

You’ll have to register to your School Board account, after which click on the “Request a Transcript” button below the “My CLEP Account” dropdown menu.

Just a few vital notes on transferring credit:

  • Totally different establishments could have totally different minimal scores required to obtain credit score for every examination. You may usually discover this data on the faculty/college’s web site. You may as well get this information instantly from the individual accountable for switch admissions.
  • To order a transcript for a CLEP examination funded by DANTES, you’ll want to make use of the Parchment Transcript Ordering Service. You can not use your School Board account.

7. Earn Your Diploma

For those who’ve made it this far (each within the article and within the course of), congrats! You’re properly in your solution to incomes your diploma.

To reiterate, be certain that to examine together with your faculty/college about all the necessities for incomes your diploma.

CLEP exams will make it easier to expedite the method, however there’ll nonetheless be a number of programs that it’s essential to take both on-line or in-person. You’ll want to overview the diploma necessities intently.


This part consists of solutions to some widespread questions on CLEP exams. Be happy to return again to this part as questions come up.

1. What’s DANTES?

DANTES stands for “Protection Exercise for Non-Conventional Schooling Help.”

It is a program that permits eligible navy personnel (in addition to eligible spouses and civil service staff) to take CLEP exams totally free or at a decreased price.

You’ll additionally have the ability to obtain a free examine information for every examination that you simply register for.

Eligible individuals embody:

  • Army personnel:
    • Military
    • Navy
    • Marine Corps
    • U.S. Coast Guard
    • Military Reserve
    • Air Drive Reserve
    • Marine Corps Reserve
    • Navy Reserve
    • Coast Guard Reserve
    • Air Nationwide Guard
  • Spouses of Coast Guard (lively and reserve)
  • Civilian staff of Air Drive

Usually, you’ll have to take your CLEP exams at both a navy base or fully-funded check heart with a view to get all of the charges (together with administrative charges) waived.

To discover a fully-funded check heart close to you, search for the “Absolutely funded” tag subsequent to check heart names.

See the picture under for an instance:

Fully funded test center tag

To study extra about DANTES, go to the School Board’s Army Advantages web page.

3. What’s the distinction between AP and CLEP?

AP stands for “Superior Placement.” It’s a program that goals to assist excessive college students take college-level programs whereas nonetheless in highschool.

The objective is to assist college students be higher ready for faculty, skip introductory faculty lessons, and even earn faculty credit score if the college permits it.

Usually, your highschool will supply programs particularly to arrange you to take the AP Examination.

It’s doable to take the exams with out taking the accompanying course, although this isn’t widespread. AP Exams are solely supplied annually in Could.

CLEP, in distinction, is aimed extra at working professionals trying to get a level. CLEP exams are supplied year-round at a number of places.

4. Can I take CLEP exams whereas I’m in highschool?

Certain! So long as you possibly can pay the payment and attend the examination, you possibly can take it.

For those who’re keen on incomes faculty credit score whereas in highschool, we additionally advocate seeing in case your college presents twin enrollment (a solution to take faculty programs totally free at an area college or group faculty).

5. How do I contact CLEP?

You may name CLEP at 800-257-9558 (212-237-1331 when you’re exterior of the U.S.).

You may as well e mail them at [email protected].

6. What faculties take CLEP?

There are over 2,900 faculties and universities that gives you credit score for CLEP exams.

Your greatest wager is to have a look at which native faculties and universities gives you credit score, as attending in-state faculties tends to be least expensive.

7. Do CLEP exams rely in the direction of your GPA?

No, they don’t. So long as you get the minimal rating that your establishment requires, you’ll obtain course credit score. And bear in mind: your GPA is not an important factor relating to getting a job.

8. Are you able to CLEP your solution to a level?

Sure, it’s doable, although passing CLEP exams is not going to get you a level by itself.

To get a level, it’s essential to discover a college that can will let you switch the credit you earn by CLEP exams.

You’ll then have to pay the mandatory charges to enroll as a pupil at that college and get your credit transferred. When you do that, you possibly can then graduate from the college and obtain your diploma.

For those who’re on the lookout for an accredited college that can allow you to do that, a well-liked choice is Excelsior College. They don’t have residency necessities for receiving levels, and so they allow you to switch as much as 117 credit.

You’ll nonetheless should take a 3-credit capstone course and a 1-credit data literacy course earlier than they’ll grant you a level (their generic “Liberal Arts” diploma). However the financial savings of this are nonetheless huge in comparison with getting a daily diploma.

In fact, Excelsior is only one instance. A number of state universities will allow you to do one thing comparable, and you’ll even take all of your required programs on-line so that you simply don’t should commute.

9. What number of CLEP credit are accepted?

This relies on the college and the diploma program. In concept, you would use CLEP exams to get virtually all of the required credit in your diploma.

A extra life like situation could be utilizing them to skip all of your normal training programs, that means you would spend your time taking lessons in your main. This might simply allow you to get your diploma in half the time.

10. What number of credit are CLEP exams price?

That is finally as much as the college you switch them to, however a passing rating on a CLEP examination is mostly price between Three and 6 credit score hours.

11. How a lot do CLEP exams price?

Every examination prices $87, no matter topic. As well as, most CLEP check facilities cost a $25 administrative payment.

12. Are you able to retake a CLEP check?

You may take CLEP exams as many occasions as you need (although you’ll should pay the $87 payment every time).

Additionally, individuals who qualify for DANTES funding ought to be conscious that DANTES will solely pay the charges in your first try at a CLEP check. You’ll should pay for subsequent makes an attempt out of your personal pocket.

CLEP Is a Marathon, Not a Dash

We’ve lined loads of materials on this article, and we hope you discovered it useful.

If utilizing CLEP exams to earn your diploma appears overwhelming, keep in mind that you don’t should do every little thing directly.

The great thing about the CLEP program is that you should use it to earn and switch credit on your schedule. 

For those who’re about to take a CLEP examination, we want you the perfect of luck. Incomes your diploma is feasible, and the alternatives it may possibly unlock make it definitely worth the effort and time.

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