Taking a Closer Look at the CLEP

January 21, 2012 Category: Professional Development

Trying to graduate from college on time can be quite a challenge for some students. However, there are a few ways students can earn college credits and even skip courses they don’t have to take. The CLEP exam is one of the most popular ways to accomplish these types of academic goals.

What Is the CLEP?

CLEP is short for “College Level Examination Program” and is a way for students to demonstrate their knowledge in certain subjects without having to enroll in an actual course. When students take and successfully pass the CLEP exam for the subject they are interested in, college credit is awarded. What makes the CLEP so unique is the fact that the people who sign up for the exam use their life experiences, work study, independent study or other applicable knowledge to complete the exam.

What Types of CLEP Exams Are There?

There are 33-34 different CLEP exams currently available for students to take and cover a variety of subjects. The questions that appear on the exams are approximately the equivalent of one semester’s worth of material taught in a college course. More advanced CLEP exam subjects contain the equivalent of material taught in two semesters or even one year of instruction.

CLEP exams are available for Algebra, Spanish, English Literature, U.S. History, Information Systems and Business Law, among many others. It costs $77 for each exam, plus any applicable fees. But the cost and number of exams available is subject to change over time.

How Do You Study for the CLEP?

If a person has never taken a course in a certain subject, how can they possibly study for the test? The answer to this question varies. Those with extensive knowledge in the subject tend to be fine without any specific form of studying, such as taking the CLEP exam for a foreign language. However, students wanting to make sure they pass can find useful CLEP study guides, test questions and other related study materials online. It is important to look up the study guide materials according to the subject you plan on taking the exam for. Most times, these resources are available for free.

Benefits of the CLEP Exams?

While not mandatory, this is an ideal way to get credit for previous knowledge/experience in a subject and avoid having to take a college level course on something a person is already very familiar with. Many college courses labeled “101” mean they deal with teaching basic information about a given subject. But for individuals that already possess a good amount of knowledge, taking such a class can be very boring.

Because students can earn between 3-12 college credits, this is a great way to allow them to skip unnecessary classes and pursue the core classes that count towards their major. Doing so could mean preventing any delays in graduating and for some individuals, it could even mean graduating early.

Overall, successfully passing one or more CLEP exams can help people save time and money when it comes to their education.

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