Whether you’re just entering a college, working toward your degree or getting back to school as an adult learner, you might benefit from earning credits for something you already know. If you were particularly good at some subjects at school or already took some courses in college, you should turn this into your advantage. Instead of spending money and time taking introductory college courses, you can take CLEP subject exams and transfer credits to your current program. Sounds interesting? Keep reading to learn more.
What is CLEP?
CLEP stands for College Level Examination Program which offers standardized tests developed by the US College Board. CLEP tests are designed to assess knowledge in 33 subject areas at a college level. They are based on the material that is covered in the corresponding courses during the first year in college or at the university.
The areas of study that are covered by CLEP exams are as follows:
• Composition and Literature. This area includes topics related to American and British literature and composition.
• World languages. These exams assess comprehension of French, German and Spanish.
• History and Social Sciences. Exams in this subject field cover history, economics and psychology.
• Science and Mathematics. These tests are related to various science disciplines and levels of math.
• Business. Tests offered in this category cover business disciplines.
The program was primarily developed to allow students who want to pursue a degree to demonstrate their proficiency in certain subjects. CLEP exams in Canada and the US are becoming more and more popular among students and are widely accepted by educational institutions, granting credits to students’ current programs.
What are the benefits?
The main benefits of taking any CLEP test are quite obvious. They allow you to bypass certain coursework if you have already gained the necessary knowledge in other ways. If you’re confident in the level of expertise and skills you possess, you don’t have to validate where they came from – other courses, self-study, homeschooling, etc. Just take an exam and show that you know the things you claim you know.
Skipping courses in college or university shortens the duration of your program. This can be a significant factor if you are studying and working at the same time. Or even more important if you’re studying full-time and can’t work to support yourself because of that. Everybody knows that the faster you earn the degree, the sooner you can get a new, better-paid job, and start making more money.
Speaking of money, the exams cost a fraction of what you usually pay for the same course. The fee for CLEP exam in Canada and the US will be increased to 89 USD beginning July 1, 2019. However, even with this raise, it’s still four or five times less than what students pay per course on average. Given the high cost of education, it’s always a good idea to save money instead of paying for courses you don’t need.
Another huge advantage of CLEP is flexibility. You can prepare and take exams at your own pace and on your own time. If you don’t pass an exam, there is no penalty for that. You can simply spend more time practicing and retake an exam at your convenience. There are many test centers where you can take a CLEP exam in Canada or the US at the day that works best with your schedule.
How does it work?
First, you need to determine what your school’s policy for gaining credit through CLEP is. Currently, there are around 2,900 colleges and universities that accept the results of CLEP tests and grant credits for them.
The second step is to get ready for the exam itself. CLEP offers study materials, exam descriptions, test-taking tips at an extra cost. CLEP’s official website provides a detailed overview of all the exams as well.
The third step is to register. Select the exam or exams that are right for you and pay the applicable fees on CLEP’s official website.
The last step is to locate a CLEP test centre that is convenient for you and plan your test day. It usually takes around 90-120 minutes to complete a CLEP exam. The scores are provided instantly. The test center administrator will be able to schedule your test based on your availability.