Students looking for ways to lighten their coursework in college, and shorten their path to a degree, may want to consider signing up for the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP). The program offers individuals an opportunity to receive college credit for certain subjects without actually having to attend college classes to do it. It can be especially useful in helping students skip introductory courses and focus on more advanced classes and academic areas. The CLEP basically comprises of several exams that are designed to test the college level, subject-matter knowledge that an individual may have gained through on-the-job training, professional and military experience, internships, independent study and other avenues.
Typically, a CLEP test covers subject matter that students learn in their freshman and sophomore years in college. In most cases, a CLEP Exam covers materials contained in a one-semester course, though in some cases CLEP Exams can cover materials taught in a full-year course. Those who do well in CLEP Exams can earn the same number of college credits that they would have earned by taking college courses in the same subjects. In fact, depending on the number of CLEP tests that a student takes, it is sometimes possible to reduce the time required to complete graduation requirements by as much as half. So by taking a few 90-minute CLEP Exams a student can enter college with a certain number of credits under their belt already. This can enormously lighten a student’s coursework requirements in college and practically eliminate the need for them to take full course-loads or summer classes in order to graduate. That can be an invaluable asset at a time when many students are finding it increasingly hard to finish their graduation requirements within the traditional four-year time frame.
Currently, close to 3,000 accredited colleges and universities award credits for successfully completing CLEP general and subject exams. However, their policies for awarding credits can vary significantly. For instance, the number of credits awarded for successfully completing a CLEP test can vary by college. In some cases, a college may not even award credits but may simply grant an exemption for a course requirement. Many colleges also only award CLEP credits to students who are currently enrolled in their institutions. So it pays to check each institution’s policy to ensure that maximum value is derived from the CLEP. Each CLEP Exam costs just $72, which means that a student who successfully passes one would have earned college credits at a fraction of what they would have paid to attend college classes. Students can literally knock thousands of dollars off their tuition costs by signing up for CLEP.
CLEP tests are administered by the College Board, which is the same organization that also administers the SAT program. Currently, the College Board offers close to three dozen CLEP exams that students can choose from in order to lighten their workload in college. The subjects covered by CLEP fall under five broad categories: Composition and Literature, Business, Foreign Languages, History and Social Sciences and Science and Mathematics. There are few restrictions on who can take sign up for CLEP and subjecting testing is offered in close to 2,000 locations scattered throughout the U.S and outside the country as well.