How to Decide Which CLEP Exams You Should Take

test prep

Are you looking to earn college credits for a fraction of the usual cost? If so, CLEP exams might be for you. Check out this blog post for tips on how to decide which College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests to take.

Choosing your CLEPs

CLEP, or the College Board's College-Level Examination Program, is an opportunity to earn college credit by taking a subject-matter test as opposed to attending and completing a college course. This can be an effective money-saving and time-saving option for non-traditional students, such as those who are unable to attend a brick-and-mortar college due to financial barriers or work and family responsibilities. If you're thinking of taking a CLEP exam, consider the following points to determine which tests are the best fit for you.

A CLEP exam

1. Which Credits Do You Need?

Your first consideration when choosing which CLEP exams to take should be determining which credits will serve your overall higher education goals best. Look at the requirements of the program or programs of your choice and see which CLEP exams might correspond. If you're not yet sure exactly where you're planning to go next in your college career, do some research about which subjects are most commonly required as general education prerequisites and use the results to guide you. And don't forget to consider what credits you might already have from Advanced Placement (AP) or community college courses, so that you don't unintentionally double up unnecessarily.

2. Which Credits Does Your School Accept?

Before you commit to the subjects you chose, make sure that you contact your school(s) of choice (assuming you have one) and confirm that it will accept your CLEP exam. This is an incredibly important step to complete ahead of time, as all schools have different policies and you don't want to go through the process of studying for, paying for, and taking a CLEP exam only to find out that it will not be accepted by the institution you want to attend.

A student takes a CLEP exam

3. What Can You Afford?

As we alluded to above, taking a CLEP exam is a commitment. While CLEP exams are significantly cheaper than university tuition, to say the least, they still require some financial investment.

For example, you'll have to pay to take the test, for transportation or gas to the testing center, and for your study materials. Additionally, you'll have to invest dozens of hours of study time. Furthermore, some CLEP exams require you to write an essay or two, which requires more time. Therefore, make sure that you have a sense of your bandwidth before you commit to a number of CLEP exams.

4. Which Subjects Can You Learn Independently?

The final thing you should consider when choosing CLEP exams is which subjects you think you'll be able to learn independently. The College Board offers various CLEP study resources, but you won't be able to attend an in-person course with a professor who can walk you through the material. You'll have to have the diligence, motivation, and organization to teach yourself everything that you'll need to know, so consider which subjects you are stronger or weaker in. If, for example, you needed a lot of one-on-one work with your teachers in your high school math classes, it might not be a great idea to take a CLEP math exam.

A man studies for a CLEP exam

If you carefully consider these four points, you'll most likely be able to make a well-informed decision that will advance your academic career. Good luck!

For other CLEP-related information, tips, and study resources, check out this page.

By Daisy Rogozinsky
February 2019

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