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How the CLEP Exams Benefit Your Future Goals

November 01, 2016
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How the CLEP Exams Benefit Your Future Goals

With the increase of online educational possibilities for students around the globe comes the popularity of taking CLEP courses. CLEP, the College-Level Examination Program, are tests given by the College Board to grant credit for college courses without taking on a full semester of classes.

Students that study abroad, those that have gained job experience, and those that have gained knowledge through independent study, benefit from taking the CLEP exams. The CLEP tests cover a wide range of disciplines which include exams in the following:

  • Business:

Financial Accounting

Information systems

Introductory Business Law

Principles of Management

Principles of Marketing

  • Composition and Literature:


English Literature

College Composition

Analyzing and Interpreting Literature

College Composition Modular

  • Foreign Languages (taking these can get you 12 credits)

Spanish (Levels 1 and 2)    

German (Levels 1 and 2)

French (Levels 1 and 2)

  • History and Social Sciences:

Intro to Psychology Introduction to Educational Psychology

History of the United States II

Human Growth and Development

Principles of Macroeconomics

Social Sciences and History

  • Science and Mathematics:


College Math

Natural Sciences

You can take mock tests to get an idea of what kind of questions will be asked for each discipline at the college board website.

As of this writing we counted 33 various CLEP exams that were the usual classes that you would take in the first 2 years of college including these listed.

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Why Beneficial

Who doesn’t want to save on an entire semester of coursework? Who doesn’t want to save on tuition and the costs of books? Using the CLEP exams to show your proficiency in undergraduate work is a way to get past all of that. Taking the exams also:

  • Can elevate the degree that you already have: You may have been in the work force for many years and now your job has come into the tech world. Studying courses related to computers may be something that you now need to keep in line with technology. You employer may even offer incentives for you to take the CLEP courses that are available.
  • Keep you from taking remedial courses: Students taking entrance exams for college often find that they need to take remedial courses for Math and English before moving into their regular college courses Taking the CLEP exams, they may not have to take the remedial classes to get into upper level classes that they already know are prepared for.
  • Push you into the higher-level classes faster: You get to skip over many of the lower level classes and gain the credit needed to receive Certificate Program Degrees offered at many institutions today.
  • Give you an idea of where you are in a field of study: Taking the CLEP exams can also prepare you for going into college without a blind eye as to what you know already. With tests for Algebra, Biology, Chemistry, and languages such as Spanish, if you already have been practicing these subjects, take the CLEP exams. If you have been out of school for some time, studying and practicing for these exams usually brings it all back.
  • Save money (this one should have been number 1) The average college course runs about 250.00, for a semester of 5 classes that could run a student’s bill up to over $7,000 for the year. With time preparing for the CLEP exams and taking the same number of classes you would only spend $400-500 for the same credit courses. That’s a savings of up to 80%.
  • Military Benefit: Although there is a fee, at some centers up to $80.00, there are circumstances that this fee is waived.

This can change from testing center to testing center so it is best to get in touch with your advisor to get firm information about the centers in your area. They will be better suited to tell you what to look forward to.

Those who have served in the military may be eligible to take free CLEP exams. Military personnel are also waived fees, but how often they can take it free of charge has changed in recent years. The Office of Veteran’s Affairs in your area will give you full information on benefits that are available.

Those in the military report that they pay for the test, and then are reimbursed for the price of the test and center fees.

Administrative Help

To determine further if the CLEP exams are a good fit for you, make an appointment with your advisors. Go over where you are now education wise, and what taking the exams will do for your advancement, and then decide.

Many Community Colleges now have what is called dual-admissions programs. These programs are in place to help those that are in 2-year programs can transfer their credits seamlessly into a 4-year University and when they transfer in, they are Juniors instead of Sophomores. Utilizing the CLEP exams gives students the same options.

Before taking any of the exams, meet with your advisors and the school advisors of the University you have in mind to see what courses are transferrable.


You may be anxious, like most people, when faced with exams, and like many other tests, the CLEP exams can be intimidating. You may feel like you know the work and then take the test and a month later get the news that you have failed.

Like any other exam that you take, you must study for the CLEP exams. They are scored on the college level and credit is only given when you pass. If you care about your future, you will prepare for these tests and not take them lightly.

These test scores may be the link to your getting that perfect job, or being accepted in an institution of higher learning.

Consider study guides to help you prepare for the CLEP tests. There are countless online sources to help you. The college board website offers practice tests for you to get an idea of what the exams are like under each subject.

They also have low cost study guides to help you prepare for the exams.

Other Resources

Here are a few resources that can get you started studying for the CLEP exams:

  1. Open Source Library: Here you can find course work to study using video, college archives, professor webcasts, and access to scholarly journals.
  2. Hippo Campus: they cover over 13 subjects and cater to students from middle school to college. There are also many links to other well-known study sites from this page.

The Format

If you like the idea of multiple-choice testing, then the CLEP is one of those types of tests.

The CLEP exams usually last about 90 minutes and are all done on computer with a multiple-choice platform, except for the written essays which are a mandatory part of the English Composition with Essay exams.

Students that have prepared for the CLEP exams have reported that the one area that they needed extensive study time was the English Composition with essay tests, and essay preparation. There are study guides that will help you with preparation for English Composition exams and modular, and it is suggested that you practice writing essays before taking this CLEP test.

Many students have trouble with writing, you are not alone. There are custom writing sites online that can help you with study guides and will critique your writing style to help you study for the CLEP writing exams.

Important: Take getting help with the English Composition with Essay exam seriously because it is a 45-minute essay question, followed by a 45-minute multiple choice section. Once you pay for the exam, if you fail you must wait 6-months to retake it. It is best to get help if you know you need it before you take the tests.

You are to take two mandatory essay tests with the College Composition exam that is graded by selected professors around the country, and then the grades are combined with your multiple-choice scores.

There is also a College Composition Modular exam that is graded by your receiving college only with one essay and multiple-choice questions.

Discuss with your advisors which of these you should take because colleges vary on which one they will accept.


The CLEP exams are offered in the United States and International colleges that accept CLEP credit. Your scores will be sent to be reviewed by the schools of your choice. Not all schools accept all tests. Check before you designate your tests to be released.


Keep in mind that CLEP tests are lower-level classes for regional schools, however, there are tests such as the DSST’S (Dante’s Subject Standardized Tests) that are available for lower and upper level classes. These tests are taken primarily by non-traditional students but are open to all.

MOOCs are also an inexpensive alternative to a full course of study. Massive Open Online Courses are free online courses popping up all over the internet. You can find MOOCs at some of the most prestigious schools, like Yale, Howard, Stanford and MIT.

The only thing that is not offered by taking MOOCs is the credit for the courses, but they can be used to study and prep for the CLEP tests.

With the cost of a college education soaring it is good to know that there are ways that everyone that wants to can get a quality education. Today, a high school diploma is not enough to get a well-paying job.

This is not to say that all people that attend college land that perfect job, but when you have the coursework to back you up on your resume you will be a step ahead of the competition for the job you are after. Now go study for that CLEP!